I’m working on a book for Savas Beatie tentatively titled “The National Tribune Remembers the Atlanta Campaign.” In the National Tribune of Jan. 27, 1898, I came came across this sad tale of a Union veteran. The “Good Words from a Johnny” are presumably the expressions of sympathy sent in by the Confederate cavalryman.
Good Words from a Johnny.
John R. Cleburn, 2d Cherokee Cav., C.S.A., Springfield, Mo., writes: “We have a Union soldier in this city who is a total wreck in both mind and body. He has not been able to walk for eight years, and during that time has not been able to dress without assistance. His wife is compelled to feed him most of the time, and the attendance of a nurse is often required. This soldier gets $24 per month pension. His claim for an increase was rejected Nov. 11. He was refused a rerating of $72 per month in 1895. Now this man is suffering for food. He has not clothes to keep warm, and no money. It looks hard to see a man suffer who gave his health that his country might live.”
For those who lament Americans’ apathy toward our veterans today, it looks like the malaise has petty deep roots.