Horace catches his death of cold

F5.largeIn a previous post, I introduced Horace L. Scott, my 3rd-great-grandfather (he was the paternal grandfather of my great-grandmother, Gertrude (Scott) Askew). In that first post, I laid out all I knew about Horace at that time. Horace was born in New York, around 1842, and he served in the Union Army during the Civil War. While serving in that war, he appears to have either been injured or become ill, as he applied for an invalid’s pension in 1870, five years after the war, when he was only about 28 years old.

Sometime between 1870 and 1875, Horace died and was buried in Alden, Illinois. His widow Caroline and their children moved to Deer Creek, MN, to live with her parents. Was Horace wounded in the Civil War? Was that the cause of his status as an invalid after the war? Did it contribute to his premature death?

I applied to the National Archives for copies of Horace’s Civil War service records and any pension applications that he, his widow, or his children might have filed. I recently received two packages from the National Archives with 65 pages of scanned documents about Horace. One of the packages contained a copy of Horace’s Civil War Military Service File, and the other package contained a copy of his Full Civil War Pension File. Among the pages of these scanned documents were answers to my questions about his infirmity and death.

The documents contained in the two packages from the National Archives are too numerous to share in a single post, so for today’s post I’ll just share a few of the pages that best illuminate Horace’s infirmity and premature death. Because the handwriting is not always easy to read, I’ve transcribed the most relevant portions of each document below the documents.

Horace L Scott_Page_26

Officers’ Certificate of Injury of Soldier (Horace’s commanding officer)Horace L Scott_Page_27

July 9”, 1870
I, Samuel Cutter, on honor certify that I was late a 2d Lieut of Company C of the 95” Regiment of Illinois Inf Volunteers, that I well knew Horace L. Scott late a Private of my Co and Regiment and that I well know him still and live a near neighbor to him —  That when said soldier enlisted he was hearty and strong and continued so till on or about the first of April 1864 while on the March on the Red River Louisiana Expedition near Fort De Russey and near Yellow Bayou La from Exposures incident to a march through that country in very hot Dry weather with very cool nights he contracted a severe cold which settled on his lungs and caused him to be placed on Hospital Boat for treatment and that from that time till his muster out of the service August 17” 1865 he was kept on lighter duty on account of his Disability so contracted —  Disease contracted as above left him with a bad cough from which said soldier never recovered but has now developed into what I call consumption.


Statement of Valentine K. Groesbeck (Horace’s neighbor and army bunk mate)

Horace L Scott_Page_29Horace L Scott_Page_30

On this 9” day of July AD 1870 before me a Judge of the County Court in and for said county and state personally appeared Valentine K. Groesbeck a resident of Alden Illinois who being first duly sword on his oath says he is well acquainted with Horace L Scott late a Private of Co C 95” Regt Illinois Inf vols—  That he was a member of the same Company and Regiment and bunked with him a large portion of the time he was in said service—  That he was well acquainted with said Scott for 3 or 4 years before entering said service and has lived near neighbors ever since his discharge.

Further that he knows said Scott was hearty and strong when he enlisted and continued so till Spring of 1864 while on the Red River La Expedition from the Exposures there without any fault of his he contracted a severe cold which settled on his lungs and caused him to have a severe cough from which he has never recovered but from which he still suffers—  That on account of said injury he has been obliged to take a great deal of medicine and that to his knowledge said Scott has not been able to do any hard labor or duty while he remained in the service and that since said soldiers discharge he has continued to fail in health rather than improve, and every little exposure has seemed to render him unable to do anything. That he has no interest nor concerned in this claim for Pension and that he is in no way related to applicant.

Valentine K. Groesbeck


Statement of Josiah Giddings, M.D. (Horace’s doctor during the war)

Horace L Scott_Page_39Horace L Scott_Page_40

I Josiah Giddings a resident of Magnolia, Iowa and late Assistant Surgeon of the 95th” Reg’t Ills Infty Volunteers certify that I well knew Horace L Scott late a member of Co “C” in said Regt, that he took a violent cold while on the Red River Campaign in the spring of 1864 and while engaged in the line of his duty as a soldier, which cold resulted in Inflamation of the lungs with Bilious derangement of a serious character, and from which he had not recovered at the time of his discharge from service in 1865 nor did I think he ever would recover.

I further certify that I know the above facts from being with said Reg’t as Assistant Surgeon and further that I am not interested in this claim for Pension

Josiah Giddings MD


Statement of E. O. Grattan, M.D. (Horace’s doctor after the war)

Horace L Scott_Page_41Horace L Scott_Page_42

Woodstock Illinois Feby 4/71

I, E.O. Grattan of Hebron McHenry County Illinois certify that I am a physician and surgeon and as such have practiced my profession at Hebron aforesaid since the 24′ day of January 1866

Further I certify that I was well acquainted with Horace L Scott decsd late a member of the 95” Regt Illinois Inf Cols that he called on me for treatment about the first of March 1866 and I then found him suffering from Tuberculosis of the lungs and that I treated him more or less from that time till his death which occurred 30” of July 1870 from Tubercular consumption—  That from the time I first treated him in the Spring of 1866 till his death he never recovered from said disease

I know the above facts from an intimate acquaintance with said soldier and from a careful diagnosis of the patient at different times

I further certify that I have no interest in the claim of his widow for pension

E O Grattan MD


Proof as to death

Horace L Scott_Page_47

1st M.O.R of Co Dated 17 Aug, 1865, reports him present and mustered out on that date, no evidence of disability on file

4th Asst Surg of Regt. testifies that the soldier took a violent cold while on the Red River campaign in the spring of 1864, and while in the line of his duty, which resulted in Inflammation of the lungs, with Bilious derangement of a serious character, and from which he had not recovered at time of his discharge from the service.

5th Second Lieut of Co. testifies soldier was a sound healthy man when enlisted and remained so until about April 1864, when on the march on the Red River Expedition, he contracted a severe cold which settled on his lungs, and caused him to be placed on Hospital Boat for treatment, and from that time until he was mustered he was kept on light duty, said disease developed into consumption.

7th E.O. Grattan M.D. testifies he commenced to treat said soldier about first of March 1866, and then found him suffering from Tuberculosis of the lungs, and he continued to treat him until he died.

He died July 30th 1870 of Tubercular Consumption.


Declaration for invalid pension (with Horace’s signature)

Horace L Scott_Page_53

…. He received a severe cold which settled on his lungs causing a cough from which he has never recovered—  That said injury and disease was contracted and caused by Exposure on the Red River Expedition without any fault of his—  That he was placed on Hospital Boat at Yellow Bayou and brought down to Vicksburg— That ever since his return from that Expedition a slight Exposure has Effected his lungs and increased his cough. That he was entered free from said disease when he enlisted and till it was contracted as above and that though since said spring of 1864 he has been able to do some duty and even some labor since his discharge the disease so contracted he has never recovered from but it now effects him so that he can do no labor— In fact He has been unable to do any hard labor since he rced said injury.


So Horace died of tuberculosis on July 30, 1870, when he was 28 years old. Eerily (but properly, according to enumeration instructions), Horace was listed on the August 2, 1870, census, three days after he died.

Horace left behind his 22-year-old widow, Caroline, and their two young children, Frank and Mary Scott, who then migrated to Minnesota to live with Caroline’s parents in Deer Creek, MN.

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