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Virginia Civil War Confederate Pension Applications
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Financial assistance for Confederate veterans and their families was provided when the Virginia General Assembly passed Confederate pension acts in 1888, 1900, and 1902, followed by a series of supplementary acts through 1934. The initial act provided pensions to Confederate soldiers, sailors, and marines disabled in action and to the widows of those killed in action. Subsequent acts broadened the coverage to include all veterans, their widows, and their unmarried or widowed daughters and sisters. The acts required that applicants be residents of Virginia. Later legislation also included veterans or their survivors residing in the District of Columbia. This collection of Virginia Confederate pension applications are indexed and available on microfilm. The microfilm is arranged first by pension act, then alphabetically by the applicant’s county or city of residence, and thereunder by name of applicant. Extracts of 835 of these applications has been provided below.
The General Assembly passed an act on 10 March 1914 providing additional money for the relief of needy Confederate women who were not already on the pension rolls. Applications were made to the Relief Committee of the Virginia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which certified the applications, ascertained the payment amount, and then forwarded the applications to the pension clerk at the Department of Accounts.
A warrant was then issued to the Treasury for payment to the beneficiary. Applications for relief include the name, address, and condition or need of each beneficiary, along with her relationship to and the service of a Confederate soldier husband or relative. Microfilm copies of these pension applications for needy Confederate women (1915–1967) are found on miscellaneous reels 2178–2205. There is a two-volume index to these records in the Archives manuscript room.
In the Virginia Department of Accounts, the Confederate Pension Records (Accession 44105) consist of 118 boxes and 35 volumes and are arranged in eight series. Series have been designated for Applications, Card Files, Certificates, Confederate Memorial Association, Correspondence, Funeral Expenses, Miscellaneous, and Volumes. This collection documents pension payments to Confederate veterans, widows, daughters, and servants. These records should not be confused with the Library of Virginia’s Confederate Pension Rolls, which should be searched before any examination of the Confederate Pension Records. The Confederate Pension Records differ from the Confederate Pension Rolls in that they serve as the administrative and financial documentation for the pension rolls. Even though there are pension applications for daughters of Confederate veterans within the Confederate Pension Records, the Confederate Pension Rolls are the best source for these types of records. These applications provide the most extensive information on the Confederate pensioners. The strength of the Confederate Pension Records is that they provide information on maiden daughters or widowed daughters of Confederate veterans who received a pension from the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Confederate Pension Rolls do not provide information on Confederate daughters who received pensions. In addition, the Confederate Pension Records document pension payments forty years beyond the documentation in the Confederate Pension Rolls.
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