Absalom's letter addressed to the Commissioner of Pensions
Commissioner of Pensions
I have been requested to give you a full and complete statement of the disability and how contracted in the claim of Absalom Ross, Pvt., Co. D, 70th Regt., Ind. Vols. No. claim 528821
First, I notice that my orders of discharge from Gunboat Silver Lake no. 2 from General Thomas headquarters was dated Nov. 26th, 1864 with orders to report to my regt. without delay but the regt. being with Gen. Sherman on the march through Georgia, I was placed at Fort Negley at Nashville, Tenn. to await developments and while there from Nov. 26, for several days, there was very cold weather from which I contracted cold from sleeping in barrack that had just been erected out of green icey lumber without fire or covering as we could get no wood not sufficient to cook with. My head raised and broke and discharged from my ears which has caused deafness ever since and also I at the same time contracted rheumatism of the back which has been very severe at times and often for weeks not able to work at all and at no time able to do any hard work. I am by ocupation a carpenter but for the last few years am not able to do anything like full work. If the evidence of the physician is not sufficient, I can give you all you nead on that matter. But at the time of contracting the disability, it was at quite an exciting time, and among strangers, and for a short time it might not be possible that men wood reklect the circumstances at this late date. The reason I did not apply sooner was that I thought maby I could get along with out it, but am badly cripeled up and my dependence for a support for my self and family depends on manuell labor and my deafness disqualifies me for any thing else.
I will here state that the surgeon of the 12th Ind. Battery I think it was gave me medicine for my disability at the time and also furnished me a warm room until I got better but whether he took any notice of it or not I cannot say. And I do not know his address or whether he is alive yet or not. I did not think at the time that the disability would be more than temporary and leaving in a short time afterwards have lost all traces. Evidence I can give plenty evidence that when I went in the army and that I was sound and that when I joined the Regt. about the 22 or 23 of April 1865 I was not so. The fourgoing is a true statement of the case and how I contracted my disability.
P.S. there was none of my company with me at the time I was disabled nor any commissioned officers except of the aforesaid Battery.
(signed) Absalom Ross
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 16th April, 1887 (seal, signed) A.J. Baker, Justice of the Peace
P.S. I have no interest in the prosecution of above claim. A.J. Baker, J.P.
(This is a verbatim transcription of the letter that Absalom Ross wrote to the Commissioner of Pensions regarding his disability, a result of his Army service in the Civil War. A copy of the original letter was obtained from the National Archives, is in my possession and is on file. John H. Ross, Aug. 1999)