Thursday, April 7, 2011


I was visiting my daughter and when I arrived home my ordered Civil War Pension for Robert Stephens was there.    I had placed the order on 14 March 2011 and it arrived 3 April 2011.
I ordered the file at the National Archives on line.  They assign a order number and a link in the letter where you can check the progress of the order.
The file was about one inch thick and dealt mostly with the trial and tribulations about getting a pension and numerous rejections.  Today that sounds strangely familiar when dealing with a government entity.  
There is a lot to read and I had skimmed the documents briefly.   The thing that stands out is the fact that Robert was injured at Gettysburg on 3 July 1863.   That was right in the heat of the battle.   His injury you might ask….he sustained a hernia while lifting a shell casing box without the use of straps.     The doctors report said that the hernia was the size of an orange, that is a large hernia.   He was now unfit for duty and admitted to a hospital in Washing DC and then was transferred to another hospital.  
The names of the hospitals are listed and I have to look more into those facilities.    I told my husband how does it feel to owe your existence to a hernia.   Today the hernia would be an easy fix but I suppose then it was inoperable.
More to come later.


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  2. Great story! I'm sure he never complained about his hernia later in life, it probably saved his life. Sometimes the hospital stay was more dangerous than the battlefield. Men died infections, dysentery and sorts of nasty stuff they caught from each other in those crowded wards. I'm glad you had a good experience with the National Archives, too.

  3. Actually, according to the records, he complained all his life about this hernia. He ordered a truss, and fabricated some sort of binding himself, that was in his records.

    It was hard for him to stand and do farming. He quit the farming and on his D/C it said he was making cigars. Guess he could sit for that or it wasn't quite as strenuous.

  4. Now you know so much more about this wonderful man who gave to his country. I love that he made cigars, he did the best he could.
    Loved reading this story. Hugs, mary