On May 1st, 1861, barely three weeks after the firing on Fort Sumter,
my great great grandfather Asa Freeman Ellingwood enlisted in the
Union Army. Seven months later he was discharged for medical
reasons and returned home, only to reenlist later despite his injuries.
Like many of his fellow soldiers, Asa would eventually file for a pension
based on his physical problems brought on by his service to his country.
It wouldn't be an easy process for him and that struggle is reflected in
the amount of paperwork in his pension file.
I'm going to explore that process over the next few weeks as part of my
celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. I'll be transcribing
the text of his testimony and that of other witnesses and discuss what
I've learned from that information, not only as it pertains to his military
service but also other aspects of Asa's life.
I'll begin with the text of Asa's discharge. Like most government
documents it is a preprinted form. In my transcription, the preprinted
text is in boldface:
Army of The United States
Certificate of Disability For Discharge
Private Asa F. Ellingwood Of Captain C. L.
Edwards Company I of the Maine Fifth Regiment of United States
Volunteers was enlisted by Benj. Freeman of
the 5th regiment of Maine at Bethel
the Ist day of May 1861, to serve three years; he was born
in Milan in the state of New Hampshire is thirty-one
years of age, 5 feet 8 inches high, light complexion, blue eyes,
light hair and by occupation when enlisted was a mechanic During the
last two months said soldier has been unfit for duty (blank) days.
Station: Camp Franklin
Date: (left blank)
Clark S Edwards Commanding Company
I certify that I have carefully examined the said Asa F. Ellingwood of
Captain Edwards Company and find him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier
because of Nephritis/herniae/and rheumatism. He's been unable to do any duty for
(illegible name) 5th Maine reg't Surgeon
Discharged this twenty third day of December 1861 at Camp Franklin, Va
N. I. Jackson, Col. Commanding the Regt
((Originally posted at "West In New England" 4Apr 2011))