Friday, May 29, 2015

Moses Thompson Adamson 1838-1917 (52 Ancestors # 21)

This week's challenge was "Military".  I chose to write about my great-grandfather and how his service in the Civil War affected his life.

Moses Thompson Adamson was born on 29 March 1838 in Edwards County, Illinois to Aaron and Martha Thompson Adamson.  He was the second of seven children and the only son.  His father, Aaron, died in 1850, when Moses was around twelve years old. Two of his sisters also died around this time.

My great-grandfather, Moses Thompson Adamson, enlisted to fight in the Civil War in September of 1861.  He served for three years.  His time serving affected his life greatly for the next fifty-three years, up until he died.

Moses enlisted in Company I 38th Infantry Regiment, Illinois Volunteers on the 21st of September 1861 in Albion, Edwards County, Illinois.  He was listed as single, a farmer, age 23, with dark complexion, grey eyes and black hair.  His cousin, William G. Adamson, enlisted with him.

The Roll for November and December of 1862 reported Moses as “Killed in battle” on the 31st of December 1862.  However, on the 31st of December in 1862, Moses was actually taken prisoner at the battle that occurred at Stone River in Tennessee.  He was taken to Libby Prison in Richmond Virginia, where conditions were horrendous.  The Adjutant General’s Office report shows that Moses was in parole Camp Annapolis Maryland for May and June of 1863.  Family notes indicate that Moses was in Libby Prison from 31 December 1862 until 22 May 1863.  They also state that he was compelled to travel through snow and rain, had all of his clothes stolen in prison, and that he was almost starved.

Both of these reports are confusing to me because Moses obtained a Marriage License in Richland County, Illinois on the 25th of April in 1863 and was married to Lydia A. Bullard on the 30th of April that year.

I wonder if perhaps he was sent to Libby Prison, then to the parole camp.  Were men allowed to leave and visit home while in the parole camp?

Moses was back in battle at Chickamanga and was wounded there on the 20th of September in 1863.  His cousin, William G. Adamson who had enlisted with him, was killed on this day.  Moses was wounded in his left hand and was sent to the hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.  According to records he remained in the hospital through the 30th of June in 1864, when he was transferred to the “Invalid Corp.” 

Again, I find this confusing, since his wife Lydia became pregnant with their first child around November of 1863.

Moses was discharged on the 5th of October in 1864.  When he returned home to Richland County, Illinois, he had a new two month old son awaiting him.  The son was named “Robert Aaron Adamson” after his two grandfathers.  Sadly, the baby died at eight months old.  However, Moses and Lydia went on the have a total of twelve children, and then adopted a toddler later in life.

Information found from his Declaration for Original Invalid Pension dated 21 July 1879 stated that Moses was age 41 years, height 5'6", complexion dark, hair black, eyes green.  "That while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the service and in the line of his duty at Richmond, in the state of Virginia on or about the 25 day of January 1863, he contracted disability of head, some disease that is chronic and causes great pain, first attacking him in back of head while he was on way from Battle Field Stone River to Richmond Va as Prisoner of War-he does not know the exact nature or name of the disease which now gives him great pain and extends through his whole head-he is thereby 1/3 disabled".

The head injury may explain why he had been hospitalized for so long.  I wonder if he was allowed leave from the hospitals to go home on furlough, then return to the hospitals?
Moses was described by my grandfather as lazy, never working a day in his life, etc.  Apparently after his service in the War of the Rebellion, Moses never held a job.
In 1883 from the List of Pensioners, it showed that Moses received a pension for a wounded left hand, chronic diarrhea, and disease of the brain.  His monthly pension was $16.00.

Pension records indicate that the family was never able to leave Moses home alone.  I sure would like to know how he and Lydia managed to raise such a large family, when he could not work or be left alone at home. Moses and Lydia’s youngest daughter, Ella, remained single and lived with them through-out their lives.  She must have been a great help with her father.

Lydia anad Moses celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1913. Only four of their twelve children were alive to share in the celebration.

Moses’ last pension paid was on 4 July 1917 for $50. 

Moses Thompson Adamson died 14 September 1917 at the age of seventy-nine.  Eight of his twelve children preceded him in death.  This was certainly a man who had experienced a great deal of loss, with siblings dying young, the loss of his father at an early age, going through the War and then losing so many children.

One of his obituaries ended with this line: "His experiences in prison affected his health throughout his life." Another obit read: "On December 31, 1862, he was taken prisoner at Stone River, and months of confinement in prison affected his health from which he suffered throughout his life."  

Moses’ life is one of those that I wish I could have asked my grandfather (son of Moses) about, but my grandfather died when I was twelve years old and I didn’t know to ask the questions!  His health, mentally and physically, was certainly affected by his war experience, and while his experiences may not have been as traumatic as others, his problems give some insight into what others who go through war experiences may struggle with in their lives.

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