2 Replies Latest reply on Oct 30, 2018 7:28 AM by Marsha Van Ham

    Civil War Pensions?


      I am a historical fiction writer. It is very important for fiction writing to be based upon truth when ever possible. I am researching a Civil War Veteran. I found his Pension file. However he is listed twice, as alias. Why would some use an alias? Both names have different Pension Certificate numbers.


      This is my example: George H. (Henry) Herring, cert # 1113414. The alias is James McLoon, his alias is George Herring, cert# 364822. I have read that it is normal to have an alias. What would the purpose be for that? Please walk me through this purpose of using an alias and two cert numbers.



      Merri King

        • Re: Civil War Pensions?
          Jenette Parish Adventurer

          Hello Ms. King,


          Thank you for contacting the History Hub regarding alias Civil War soldier names. Aliases were commonly used by many men across many wars.  After a quick review of Google articles, I cannot ascertain any consensus on why the soldiers chose to serve under alias.


          Regarding the two George Herrings mentioned above, I do not believe the two certificates are related. One soldier is from the Illinois Infantry and the other is the New Hampshire Infantry. Two separate pension certificates issued to each soldier.


          You may order military records online or by mail with this hyperlink.


          Or, you may review Civil War records in person for free at Washington D.C. National Archives. You may make copies or take pictures of records that you request.


          I hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research.


          Jenette Parish

          Military Records

          1 person found this helpful
          • Re: Civil War Pensions?
            Marsha Van Ham Wayfarer

            Since you didn't specify Union or Confederate - Confederate records are housed at the Atlanta Branch of the NARA:



            In the south, pension records may also be found at State Archives.Confederate pensions were issued by the states after the Civil War ended (many years).  You might need to look for Widow's pension files as well.


            In general, land records may provided additional resources.  It is also possible they could have "cheated".  If bonus pay was offered some would enlist as a Union Soldier, collect the bonus, leave there and enroll in a Confederate Army to collect another bonus payment.  I think my first step would be to ascertain the families listed in each household.  Knowing the family members - immediate as well as parentage and location of each soldier would be necessary to avoid confusion.   Requesting the records from NARA might be necessary if nothing helps.  Knowing the parentage and locations would give you info to search wills and probate records of the areas as well.  Good Luck on your project.