Another helpful paper in many Civil War pensions is the Surgeon’s Certificate. It tells what medical problems the claimant was having and if they were able to work or not. This is often a really sad paper to read, but it gives us a glimpse into their lives at that time and also usually gives their height and weight.
George Spencer was my husband’s great-great grandfather.
I haven’t fully transcribed it, just pulled out what I wanted:
…Increase Pension…P.O. Newfane, NY.
November 14, 1900
He receives a pension of 17 dollars per month
His heart prevents him from doing any manual labor. He is poor. and is unable to earn his living. and weak…
height 5 feet 2 1/2 inches; 117 lbs., age 74 years.
He is anaemic. weak. debilitated. emaciated. and Unable to perform. any manual labor. 12-18ths GENERAL DISABILITY. No evidence of vicious habits…