With the ending of the American Civil War, North Carolina began the long process to rehabilitate itself for re-entry back into the United States of America. In addition, the state’s veterans also started the process of their rehabilitation back into society and deal with the emotional and physical scars from combat service. Starting in 1866, North Carolina began to officially provide support to those veterans, who had suffered the loss of a limb during the late war. Governor Jonathan Worth, with legislative support, began to contact county sheriffs to locate those men, who exhibited missing limbs as a testimony of their military service. This initial accounting of men led to the establishment of an organized state government agency to provide monies to these veterans for the attainment of artificial limbs to ease the suffering of their day to day lives. Soon, other former Confederate States also passed legislation to provide monetary assistance to their wounded veterans as well.
Beginning in 1885, the State of North Carolina sought to provide additional assistance to its veterans and their widows through the passage of the 1885 Pension Act. This act enforced strict guidelines for the issuance of monies to former Confederate veterans and their widows as was noted with the Martin County Board of Inquiry for Luvester Peal on June 7, 1885. By the passage of the 1901 Pension Act, the federal government began to provide financial assistance to the former Confederate States allocate support to their veteran’s and their families. As noted in the act: “every Person who has been for twelve months immediately Preceding his or her application for a pension a ‘bona fide’ resident of the State, and who is incapacitated for manual labor and was a soldier or a sailor in the service of the State of North Carolina or of the Confederate States of America, during the war between the States, and to the widow remaining unmarried of any deceased officer, soldier or sailor who was in the service of the State of North Carolina or of the Confederate States of America during the war between the States (Provided said widow was married to said soldier or sailor before the first day April 1865)…”
In some cases, it was not uncommon for veterans from other former Confederate States to receive monetary assistance from North Carolina. Jesse F. Cox, from Buncombe County, North Carolina, applied for pension from the State of North Carolina on July 3, 1909. In that application, Mr. Cox noted that his “…shattered by shell…” while serving with the Company D, First South Carolina State Troops at the Battle of Olustee, Florida. In addition to this application, Jesse F. Cox was also receiving monies from the State of South Carolina’s Artificial Limb Fund for being permanently disabled as a member of Company K, First South Carolina Infantry at the Battle of Lilly Farm, Florida in December 1864. By July 1919, Jesse Cox had passed away, and now, his widow, Mrs. R. J. Cox, was now applying for a widow’s pension with the State of North Carolina. As one can tell, the sands of time can affect the remembrance of correct unit designations and specific battles that were fought.
Please join us for our next “Second Monday” lecture on Monday, August 10, 2015 at 12 Noon in the Archives & History Building Auditorium, Raleigh, NC
Ansley Wegner (Research Historian and Author of Phantom Pain: North Carolina’s Artificial Limbs Program for Confederate Veterans) will give a program titled
“Soldiers’ Artificial Limbs”