Veteran's Pensions

One of the main objective of the numerous and various veterans organizations which spriung up throughout the country after the civil war was to seek monetary compensation for both the survivors of the war, as well as dependents of those who had perished during the conflict.
(photo: King Olmstead and his wife.)

Such compensation usually took the form of pensions, to be paid to each recipient for life.

All the soldier had to prove was that he had served honorably for at least 90 days and that he somehow suffered from an injury or disease contracted while serving in the army. Dependents had to prove both a pre-existing relationship with the deceased soldier as well as need for pension monies.

Every soldier had at least one military service record, and possibly two if he served in more than one regiment during the war. That same soldier might generate one, two, three or four different pension records, however. Of the 1,411 men who joined Third Michigan infantry, present research has discovered that a total 995 pensions were granted to men and/or their dependents: at least 880 men received pensions themselves (another 94 applications were submitted but it remains unclear what became of these requests); another 7 applications were rejected and it is quite probable that at least 87 men probably did not have pensions. At least 525 pensions were granted to widows (plus many more applications were submitted only to be either abandoned in favor of a minor child pension or remarriage or death). At least ano9ther 80 pensions were granted to one or more surviving minor children. At least three pensions were awarded to dependent brothers, 29 to dependent fathers, 57 to dependent mothers, 2 to dependent parents and 1 to a dependent sister.