25 May 2009

Great Great Grandpa Peavy's Application for an Artificial Arm

[This post was originally published at my Lincecum Lineage blog. Since the topic for the current Graveyard Rabbit Carnival is Veterans Memorials, I thought it would be nice to add to and highlight this post here at Southern Graves.]

Michael Peavy was my great-great-grandfather. During the American Civil War, he fought with Company C, 54th Georgia (1862-1864). He lost his right arm from amputation 18 June 1864 at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. Though you cannot tell it from his military gravestone, Grandpa survived the amputation. This is somewhat of a miracle, considering how many soldiers lost their lives from infections contracted during surgeries such as his.

At the top of Michael Peavy's gravestone is an engraving of the Southern Cross of Honor. His service in the Confederate States Army is noted, but no birth or death dates are present. This is the only stone for Grandpa Peavy visible at his gravesite in Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery; Washington County, Georgia. While the main reason for this is likely financial, I find it somewhat fitting since his time in the CSA had to be a series after series of defining moments in his life.

When Ancestry added the Georgia, Confederate Pension Applications, 1879-1960 database to their service, my first instinct was to search for Michael Peavy. I have other veterans in my family tree, but Mike is my most direct link to the Civil War.

Michael Peavy's pension file was over 30 pages. While there was no new information for me, I was a little surprised at how much information was included. At the very least, this file provided confirmation of some details and is another source for documentation.

Before I go further, I want to note: Georgia's online Virtual Vault also contains Confederate pension files. When searching for Michael Peavy, I only found a couple of pages. Those couple of pages were not found in the search at Ancestry.com. Odd.

The first image in the file was Michael Peavy's 1880 application for an artificial arm, valued at $60. Mike Peavy appears before the Washington County, Georgia ordinary and deposes that he was a bona fide resident of the state of Georgia; that he enlisted in the military service of the Confederate States as a private in Company C, Regiment of 54th Georgia Volunteers; that while engaged in such military service, at the battle of Kennesaw Mountain in the state of Georgia on 18 June 1864, he was wounded in the arm, and that the same was amputated above the elbow; and he has not received payment allowed him.

Something on this page that struck me was Michael Peavy's signature. I wonder if he had been right-handed, and without this hand, had to sign left-handed:

The next image contained AN ACT. To carry into effect the last clause of Paragraph 1, Section 1, Article 7 of the Constitution 1877:

Section I states that a Georgia resident and Confederate veteran who lost a limb or limbs during military service is entitled to money for an artificial limb ($60 for an arm extending above the elbow).

Section III states "that no applicant shall receive the sum allowed under this act oftener than once in five years."

Michael received another payment of $60 in 1886.

During the late 1880's and 1890's, Michael was on a "regular" pension roll. He received $100 a year. In 1889, his application was slightly more detailed. Michael says under oath that he has been a resident of the state of Georgia his entire life. He enlisted in the military service of the Confederate States during the war between the States, and served as a private in Company C of 54th Regiment of Georgia Volunteers, Mercer's Brigade. While engaged in such military service, at the battle of Kennesaw Mountain, he was wounded as follows: "by a minnie ball, shattering the right arm above the elbow, necessitating its amputation."

9 January 1907: M. Peavy signed with a shaky hand one last time for his disabled soldier's pension. He died 20 November of that same year. The next year, his widow Sarah Ann Peavy filed the paperwork to receive Michael's pension owed him just prior to his death. An affidavit was supplied to prove Sarah was Michael's widow.

In October 1919, Sarah Ann Peavy submitted another application for a widow's pension. She had to answer some questions, have a witness answer some questions, and provide a copy of her marriage certificate with Michael Peavy.

Some information provided by Mrs. Sarah Ann Peavy 4 October 1919 in Washington County, Georgia:
- Mrs. Peavy was residing in Harrison, Washington County, Georgia.
- She had been a resident of the state of Georgia all her life.
- Sarah married Michael Peavy 9 October 1870 in Hancock County, Georgia.
- Michael died November 1907 in Johnson County, Georgia.
- Sarah and Michael were living together when he died.
- Michael was placed on the invalid soldier pension roll in 1890. He was getting $100 per year.
Mrs. Peavy also recounts Michael's Confederate military service. One additional note: Sarah Peavy always signed with an "X".

Some information provided by T. H. Waldon, "the witness," 4 October 1919 in Johnson County, Georgia:
- Mr. Waldon knew Michael Peavy from 1862 - 1907.
- Mr. Waldon was a member of the same company as Michael during the Civil War.
Mr. Waldon also recounted Michael's Confederate military service.

Michael Peavy's Confederate Pension application file also contained affidavits from a few individuals swearing to Michael's military service. Several attorney appointments and payment receipts were included, as well.


Dorene from Ohio said...

Fascinating story! Thanks for sharing it.

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Stephanie, this is a great tribute to your G-G-Grandpa Peavy's service in the Civil War. I liked the way you listed the different information you gleaned from his marriage certificate and the pension applications. Sometimes I think lots of facts get lost in the recording of things. But, then as a genealogist, we look for those, don't we.

I think we owe all our veterans a debt of gratitude. Thank you for this post highlighting Michael Peavy's service.

S. Lincecum said...

Thank-you Dorene and Judith!

Facts do sometimes get lost when recording things, Judith. I can go back and re-read something I've read many times and find something "new!"

J. Shelley said...

This is a great entry. I am a decendant of Michael Peavy as well and I did not have quite all of this information. This is so special and has just made my evening!


S. Lincecum said...

So glad to hear that, Julie! Thanks for commenting.

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