During the Civil War, the Federal government touted its general pension system as a way to entice men to enlist. These benefits were guaranteed to all soldiers, sailors, or their dependents whose disability was a direct result of their military service.
In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the Dependent and Disability Act into law. This Act provided pensions to all Union Army veterans, who served at least ninety days, who were unable to perform manual labor. Soldiers’ disabilities no longer had to be caused as a direct result of their military service. The Act also provided pensions to minors, dependent parents, and widows of veterans.
Medical Pension Claim Applications-These records date from 1889 to 1892 and consist of the medical reports completed by physicians classifying the veteran’s level of disability.
Minutes of the Soldiers’ Relief Commission and Soldiers’ Relief Records-These records date from December 1886 to January 1907 and document the monthly expenses paid out to soldiers from each township. Additionally, these records document individual, monthly pension payments to veterans, their dependents, and their widows.
Records marked with an asterisk (*), indicate records can be found for that particular soldier, in both the Medical Pension Claim Applications and in the Soldier’s Relief Records.