14 January 2015

Loose Trains and Bolts in the Gut Part I

Civil War pension applications can contain a wide variety of information about the soldier and his family. The pension application of William Kile from the 37th Iowa Volunteers is no different.

One of Kile's comrades details his account of how Kile was injured in the Civil War. It wasn't a bullet that injured Kile. It was a bolt attached to a runaway freight car.

The Statement of Samuel R. Chase

[begin transcription]
I S. R. Chase residing at Moscow, Muscatine Co. Iowa do hereby testify that I am 75 years of age and was late a Private in said Co. B 37th Iowa Vols and that I was well acquainted with the said Wm Kile. I was one of the detail and an eye witness of the accident by which Mr. Kile was ruptured and was myself wounded by the same accident. There was some three of four Killed and quite a number wounded at that same time. The facts regarding the accident were briefly as follows. The sqaad on detail under command of Lieut Markham marched from camp to the Memphis depot and halted by the side of a large brick warehouse close to which there was a side track for loading freight cars from said warehouse some loose or detached freight cars in charge of breakman were being run down on said side track the Orderly seeing the danger of the mess spoke to Lieut. Markham who refused to give any order to change the position of the men but ordered them to stand as they were in a moment the cars were upon them said Kile was squeezed in between a freight car and the brick of said ware house and a boult or something projecting from the side of said car caught Mr. Kile in his right side and tore open the lower part of his abdomen causing the rupture of which he has ever since then been afflicted. I have no interest whatsoever in the claim of said Wm. Kile My Post Office is Moscow Muscatine Co. Iowa

                                                [signed] Samuel R. Chase
[end transcription]

Stay tuned. Apparently Markham didn't think the men needed to move from their position and Chase was not the only veteran who made such a statement.

Source: Statement of Samuel R. Chase, dated 23 October 1884, Civil War Pension File of William Kile, Company B, 37th Iowa Infantry Invalid’s Application #525005, Invalid’s Certificate #321230, NARA Record Group 15.