Question regarding pension after dishon. discharge (possibly offensive behavior, be warned)

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Keiri

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Aug 11, 2015
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So there's a very interesting fellow by the name of Franklin F. Adams who served in the 2nd VT infantry co K. According to "Sexual Misbehavior in the Civil War" by Thomas Lowry, this gentleman was dishonorably discharged for deserting and introducing evidence of his addiction to masturbation from his doctor. Someone suggested this was incorrect because he received a pension. So I sent him this full passage from Mr. Lowry's book. "after the seven days battle in June 1862, near Richmond, VA, Private Franklin F. Adams of the 2nd Vermont deserted and was gone over a year. At his court-martial, a letter from his family doctor was introduced as evidence for the defense, "I, Paschal Maxfield, of Vergennes, Vermont, on oath say that I am a physician and surgeon and have practiced ... upwards of 20 years. Said Franklin Adams has always lived at home... except since his enlistment... I have always known about his condition... his peculiarities. For the past ten of 12 years, the effect of excessive masturbation has been very apparent... and for five or six years I have considered him so much affected by his indulgence in such habit that he has hardly been capable of performing half a day's labor, and has lost more than half of his intellectual power. I know of no more serious instance of the baleful effects... of secret indulgence... he is wholly unfit.. for the duties of a citizen or a soldier." Private Franklin was given a dishonorable discharge. His court martial number was then cited, number NN549

I found his file on fold3 - It says "threw away his gear near Falls Church - fined $8 by regimental Court martial" later it says "In guard house, awaiting court martial" Later is says "Deserted from Harrison's landing, VA" returned from desertion October 29, 1863 (I believe this was right about when Lincoln offered an amnesty for deserters). Finally later card says, "Dishonorably discharged." He was a POW. From June 29, 1862 to August 5, 1862 at Aikins Landing. He later reported he had "Rheumatism"

But i also found his pension card, with no mention of the dishonorable discharge and he was listed as an invalid in 1882.

Any thoughts on how the heck this guy got a pension? Was that normal with a dishonorable discharge?
 
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So there's a very interesting fellow by the name of Franklin F. Adams who served in the 2nd VT infantry co K. According to "Sexual Misbehavior in the Civil War" by Thomas Lowry, this gentleman was dishonorably discharged for deserting and introducing evidence of his addiction to masturbation from his doctor. Someone suggested this was incorrect because he received a pension. So I sent him this full passage from Mr. Lowry's book. "after the seven days battle in June 1862, near Richmond, VA, Private Franklin F. Adams of the 2nd Vermont deserted and was gone over a year. At his court-martial, a letter from his family doctor was introduced as evidence for the defense, "I, Paschal Maxfield, of Vergennes, Vermont, on oath say that I am a physician and surgeon and have practiced ... upwards of 20 years. Said Franklin Adams has always lived at home... except since his enlistment... I have always known about his condition... his peculiarities. For the past ten of 12 years, the effect of excessive masturbation has been very apparent... and for five or six years I have considered him so much affected by his indulgence in such habit that he has hardly been capable of performing half a day's labor, and has lost more than half of his intellectual power. I know of no more serious instance of the baleful effects... of secret indulgence... he is wholly unfit.. for the duties of a citizen or a soldier." Private Franklin was given a dishonorable discharge. His court martial number was then cited, number NN549

I found his file on fold3 - It says "threw away his gear near Falls Church - fined $8 by regimental Court martial" later it says "In guard house, awaiting court martial" Later is says "Deserted from Harrison's landing, VA" returned from desertion October 29, 1863 (I believe this was right about when Lincoln offered an amnesty for deserters). Finally later card says, "Dishonorably discharged." He was a POW. From June 29, 1862 to August 5, 1862 at Aikins Landing. He later reported he had "Rheumatism"

But i also found his pension card, with no mention of the dishonorable discharge and he was listed as an invalid in 1882.

Any thoughts on how the heck this guy got a pension? Was that normal with a dishonorable discharge?
It's my understanding the pension index card only indicates he filed for a pension, not necessarily that he was approved for one.

Roster of Vermont Volunteers During the War of the Rebellion 1861-65 states he was "discharged 11/13/1863", no mention of being being "dishonorably discharged." I'm fairly certain if he was dishonorably discharged, he didn't receive a pension.
 
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Keiri

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Excellent info. I did find mention in his local newspaper that he received a pension. But I can’t imagine both Lowry’s info from the court martial docs themselves and the service cards saying “dishonorably discharged” (saw it myself) would be wrong. Maybe they wanted to cover up his less than savory history? Later in census records he’s listed as an invalid. I found no correspondence to the pension office on his case ( checked on familysearch) or congressional motion regarding his case. This is a stumper. Thank you, your info deepens the mystery!
 
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Vicksburger

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So there's a very interesting fellow by the name of Franklin F. Adams who served in the 2nd VT infantry co K. According to "Sexual Misbehavior in the Civil War" by Thomas Lowry, this gentleman was dishonorably discharged for deserting and introducing evidence of his addiction to masturbation from his doctor. Someone suggested this was incorrect because he received a pension. So I sent him this full passage from Mr. Lowry's book. "after the seven days battle in June 1862, near Richmond, VA, Private Franklin F. Adams of the 2nd Vermont deserted and was gone over a year. At his court-martial, a letter from his family doctor was introduced as evidence for the defense, "I, Paschal Maxfield, of Vergennes, Vermont, on oath say that I am a physician and surgeon and have practiced ... upwards of 20 years. Said Franklin Adams has always lived at home... except since his enlistment... I have always known about his condition... his peculiarities. For the past ten of 12 years, the effect of excessive masturbation has been very apparent... and for five or six years I have considered him so much affected by his indulgence in such habit that he has hardly been capable of performing half a day's labor, and has lost more than half of his intellectual power. I know of no more serious instance of the baleful effects... of secret indulgence... he is wholly unfit.. for the duties of a citizen or a soldier." Private Franklin was given a dishonorable discharge. His court martial number was then cited, number NN549

I found his file on fold3 - It says "threw away his gear near Falls Church - fined $8 by regimental Court martial" later it says "In guard house, awaiting court martial" Later is says "Deserted from Harrison's landing, VA" returned from desertion October 29, 1863 (I believe this was right about when Lincoln offered an amnesty for deserters). Finally later card says, "Dishonorably discharged." He was a POW. From June 29, 1862 to August 5, 1862 at Aikins Landing. He later reported he had "Rheumatism"

But i also found his pension card, with no mention of the dishonorable discharge and he was listed as an invalid in 1882.

Any thoughts on how the heck this guy got a pension? Was that normal with a dishonorable discharge?
April fools joke no doubt!
 
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Alex Scotland

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"I, Paschal Maxfield, of Vergennes, Vermont, on oath say that I am a physician and surgeon and have practiced ... upwards of 20 years. Said Franklin Adams has always lived at home... except since his enlistment... I have always known about his condition... his peculiarities. For the past ten of 12 years, the effect of excessive masturbation has been very apparent... and for five or six years I have considered him so much affected by his indulgence in such habit that he has hardly been capable of performing half a day's labor, and has lost more than half of his intellectual power. I know of no more serious instance of the baleful effects... of secret indulgence... he is wholly unfit.. for the duties of a citizen or a soldier."
That is the funniest statement I've ever heard a doctor say:smile:
 

ErnieMac

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Considering these medical opinions about the subject lasted well into the 20th century, I imagine his recreational activities had nothing to do with his reasons for deserting. The evidence would have been believed at the time, however, and may have saved him from being shot.

It's difficult to say for sure how he got the pension. Maybe clerical error or misplaced paperwork.
 
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