The following information was extracted from various papers in the pension file for Jesse Slavens of Jasper County, Iowa.
Jesse Slavens enlisted in Company I, 10th Iowa Infantry, on August 22, 1861, at Newton, Jasper County, Iowa, for a term of three years. He re-enlisted as a Veteran Volunteer with the same company and regiment at Huntsville, Alabama. Except for a period when he was on veteran's furlough in June 1864, he served with the comapny until it was mustered out on August 15, 1865, at Little Rock, Arkansas. He was slightly wounded in the leg at Champion Hill, Mississippi, on May 16, 1863, in the campaign to capture Vicksburg. Jesse rose from private to first sergeant, and was also honored as color bearer from July to October 1864, when the regiment took part in two expediations against Wheeler's cavalry.
Jesse's enlistment in Iowa came just a month before the enlistment of his brothers Harvey, Willis, and Milton in the 51st Indiana Infantry.
In 1888, a doctor gave this description of Jesse: "He is corpulent, almost to the point of obesity; he weighs about 200, and is about 5 (foot) 8 inch in height. There is no objective evidence of diarrhea except that there are quite large (size of almond) hemrhoidal tumors about the anus... His disability from disease of the heart is at least equal to the loss of a leg above the knee, and I believe greater."
In 1890 Jesse petitioned for re-rating of his disability and pension; in the petiton he states that the rate of $6 a month allowed in 1888 and the increase to $12 a month allowed the next year "was unjust and unreasonably low in proportion to rate allowed others. Jesse had produced a statement from J.o. Skinner, the Medical Examiner of Des Moines, stating that he was "disabled at least three-quarters from chronic diarrhea, heart and lung trouble." Skinner was regiment doctor for the 10th Infantry and listed a half-dozen times that Jesse was hospitalized during his four year term of service. In November 1861 Jesse took the measles in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and was hospitalized for about a month, then spent additional time in the hospital a few months later with pneumonia.
In 1904, Jesse was examined by another doctor; he was described as 66 years of age, five foot eight and half inches in height, 185 pounds, with light complexion, light hair, blue eyes, and a small scar over his left eye. The doctor stated "This claimant is so disabled from disease, result of measles, as to be incapacitated in a degree and is entitled to a combined rate of 17/18 per month. No other disabilities are found, and there are no evidences of vicious habits."
Jesse died on October 22, 1911.
Copyright © 2003 Larry Slavens. All rights reserved.