This Guy’s a Moving Target! Gunshot? Brick? 10 years apart!

My Great-great Grandfather, and several of his brothers served their country in the Civil War. They served from Pennsylvania and all were in different units, Ephraim, my GGGrandfather served in the 122nd, Company E, His brother Harry (or Henry) served in the 157th, Company C, and John served in Ind Batt. I, Lt Art. I have each of their Pension Files, and it’s Harry’s that is unique. I have never seen a picture in a Civil War Pension file, have you?

According to his pension file, Harry got shot in the right side of his face, causing permanent deafness to one ear (you think??) and partial deafness of the other ear! Now the descriptions of his injury differ according to who wrote them. My favorite? “slight gunshot wound of the head.” written by Asst. Surgeon on the Army, B.F. Pope. (Is there such a thing as a “slight gunshot wound of the head???” I would think any gunshot wound to the head is more than slight!!)

Harry’s statement:
“He further declares that he is disabled in the following manner, to wit: in action one the Weldon R.R. Va. Oct 2/64, he received a gun shot wound in the right side of head, entering near right eye, and passing out back of right ear, breaking the jaw bone at the joint.” He complains of not being able to open his mouth more than 1/2″ to eat.

In order to make ends meet, Harry went to work as a “Puddler” at the Puddling mill of the Chesapeake Nail Works and was working on 26 June 1878 when the boilers burst. The headlines were in three parts , probably the sensational factor at that time ~

NeissHarryHAccident-WorkNow remember this is the 1800’s and their descriptions of injuries were dramatic, and this accident was no exception. Harry, was not the one killed by the explosion, thankfully because he had a wife, five daughters and one grandson to support! He was, however, one of the injured.


Either he had a thick skull and he was constantly in the wrong place at the right time, but getting hit in the head with a flying brick and shot in the face says something the fortitude of men in those days. A normal man would have curled up and died. Harry went back to work to support that family of his and lived for 24 more productive years!


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