Civil War Links

Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System

The Battle of Stones River (Murfreesboro)

Michigan in the Civil War

American Civil War Soldier

Enlistment: 06 August 1861
Side Served:  Union
State Served: Michigan
Service Record:
Enlisted - Company G, 11th Infantry Regiment
Enlisted as a Private on 06 August 1861 at the age of 27 years
Mustered out - Company G, 11th Infantry Regiment Michigan
Mustered out at Sturgis, Michigan on 30 September 1864

Military Pensions:

Pensioned:  from October 1864 at $4 per month, basis - rheumatism and disease of the lungs. Original claim rejected April 26, 1878 and then approved April 6, 1882. 
Pensioned:  from July 1890 at $12 per month, basis - hernia, rheumatism and catarrh.  This pension ended February 22, 1898 by reason of a new allowance under the act of July 14, 1862 - $14 per month, -basis rheumatism, disease of the heart and disease of the lungs.

The original declaration of July 1864 filed April 1875 alleged that during the winter of 1861 at Bardstown, Ky., Charles contracted rheumatism, disease of lungs, and catarrh. And that at the Battle of Stones River, December 30, 1862 he was wounded on the top of his head and developed catarrh which had caused almost total deafness of his right ear.
Additional claims under the act filed July 28, 1890 alleging rheumatism, lung difficulty resulting in disease of the heart, and a gun shot wound to the right side of his head resulting in severe deafness of his right ear; filed June 29, 1889 alleging rheumatism and disease of the lungs; December 19, 1892 alleging chronic diarrhea.

April   1895, #203,647 - Certificate #387,762
March 1902, #758,649 - Certificate #542,659 - Widow's Application
March 1904, #801,428 - Certificate #642,596 - Minor's Application
Gertie's Family
Certificate #387,762, April 1900
  On this 20th day of April, 1900 at Marcellus, County of Cass, State of Michigan, before me, H L ROETHE, a special examiner of the Bureau of Pensions, personally appeared CHARLES N NICHOLS, who, being by me first duly sworn to answer truly all interrogatories propounded to him during this special examination of aforesaid claim for pension, deposes and says: 
  I am 65 years of age; my post-office address is Marcellus, Michigan, no occupation.  I used to farm when I was able to work. 
  I was a Private of Company G., 11th Mich. Inf.  I enlisted Aug. 24, 1861 and was discharged Sept. 30, 1864 with the regiment.  I was never otherwise in the U.S. military or naval service or Marine Corps.  That is the only time I ever enlisted.
  I am now pensioned at $12 under the new law.  I got $4 under the old law on account of rheumatism and diseased lungs and was increased to $12 under the new law.
  I claim increase on my pensioned disabilities as I also got a slight wound on the top of the head in service at the Battle of Stones River.  Dec 30, 1862.  I can't say that it hurts me and still I have small buckshot in my head, but it has worked down to the right side of my head.  I am also troubled a great deal with catarrh.  Yes, I claimed on catarrh and also on deafness.  My right ear is so deaf that if I didn't have the other ear, I couldn't hear you talk at all.  I also claim additional pension for chronic diarrhea.  I claim that heart disease has resulted from the chronic diarrhea.  I don't know that I have any other result of diarrhea unless it is piles.  I am troubled with piles a good deal.  I don't remember other disabilities I have claimed on.  I got a little bayonet  wound in the right leg, just above the knee, at Missionary Ridge, but, I never put in a claim on it and I don't know as it hurts me any, though it was quite a bit sore at the time.
  When I enlisted, I hired in the southwestern part of this Township, one mile north and one mile east of Wakelee.  This village wasn't here then.   I had hired there five or six years before enlistment.  I came here with my parents in 1845.  When I enlisted I was taking care of my mother, and was working out for a Mr. HIKE, Since dead. 
  The first sickness I had was the lung fever.  I was taking with that a few days after we went into barracks at White Pigeon, Mich., and I was sick in hospital there for six weeks before the regiment went south.  The regiment started south the night of Dec. 9, 1861, and I went along.  I was to do guard duty then, although, I wasn't real stout, and after that, every time I'd get a little cold it would make my cough worse and would lay me up so I wasn't able for duty for a few days.
  The most sickness I had after that was at Murfreesboro, Tenn..  There I was sick with chronic diarrhea.  The diarrhea commenced on me at Nashville, Tenn. in Nov, 1862. It was a month before we took Murfreesboro.  There, after we took Murfreesboro we were cut off and could get no supplies for about a week.  We lived on fresh meat, no bread nor vegetables.  Nothing but fresh meat and coffee without sugar and our water was surface water.  The diarrhea had commenced on me slightly before we left Nashville, but not so but what I could do duty until after we captured Murfreesboro.  After eating that fresh meat and drinking that rain water for a week or more I had the diarrhea terribly for six weeks.  They wanted me to go to hospital, but I did not go.  I remained with the company and was treated by Dr. ELLIOTT, our surgeon, since dead, a good many times for diarrhea.  The diarrhea run me so that everything that passed me was like water, and it ran me down to about 120 pounds from 156 pounds.  We were in Murfreesboro until June, 1863, and I had the diarrhea all the time we were there.  After we left Murfreesboro, the diarrhea wore off so that I got considerably like a man again, but from that time on I have had spells of it every year and several times each year.  There hasn't a year passed my head but what the diarrhea has come back onto me more or less.  At times these attacks of diarrhea last for a week, and my bowels will feel as though I have a dose of physic in me, and when I go out to relieve myself I can't do much.  While I had it back at Murfreesboro, a good deal of blood passed me and I have had blood pass me at intervals ever since then.  No, I do not pass blood with every spell of diarrhea.
  Yes, I have had attacks of chronic diarrhea since the war that laid me up in bed.  I had not been home over ten days after discharge before I had a spell of diarrhea that laid me up in bed a week or ten days.  Dr. JOHN SCOTT, since dead, treated me then.  He was a regular old root doctor and he called it chronic diarrhea and I knew what it was.  I had my last spell of diarrhea only a week ago and I was laid up in bed a couple of days then.  I have been laid up in bed a few days at a time several times since the war but I can't give you the dates.  I don't think I was laid up in bed every year by diarrhea.  There has never been a time, since my discharge that I have been free from diarrhea for six months at a time.  I never thought I had recovered from it.
  The first I knew that I had piles or the first they bothered me was on the big march from Athens, Alabama to Muscles Shoals on the Tenn. River, about the first of Sept. 1864.  We were after WHEELER.  We came from Chattanooga to Athens by train.  I started on that march with the regiment, in the afternoon.  Then I reported to a brigade doctor and was told to go back.  He said that a man with piles as bad as I had them had no business on that march.  I went back to Athens and in a few days, three or four, the regiment came back.  They had followed WHEELER to Muscles Shoals.
  After the war, usually, when I had a spell of diarrhea it would bring in the piles.  I have had piles, too, at times when I did not have an attack of diarrhea.  I have never been entirely free from piles since my discharge and many a time I am so sore from them, I can hardly sit down.
  The catarrh came on me in the winter after we left Mich., in Ky.  We moved to a camp near Bardstown, Ky. about Jan 31, 1862, and lay there until about the 1st of April 1862.  There we were camped on bare ground and I took another bad cold and that settled on my lungs and brought on catarrh of my throat and head and brought on almost total deafness of my right ear.  So far as any good it does me, my right ear might as well be totally deaf.   My right ear became deaf at that time and it got so during the last two years in service they remanded me from guard duty at night, because I couldn't hear.
  My rheumatism commenced in 1861, while I lay sick with lung fever at White Pigeon.  I took such a bad cold that it affected me all over.  It went to my shoulders and hips and legs at that time and I have had rheumatism more or less ever since so that it makes me lame and sore.
  Yes sir, I knew that I had rheumatism at White Pigeon, before we went south.
  No, I don't know that I did have rheumatism in service enough so as to be excused from duty because of it.  Of course, I was lame more or less when ever we got a little wet, which we did often.
  I had the mumps in April or May 1863.  We were going from Louisville, Ky. to Nashville, Tenn. on a boat when the mumps came on me.  I don't know that I had any bad effects from the mumps or that they hurt me any.  The mumps only affected my neck.
  Who were your tent mates at Murfreesboro?  JAMES O. NICHOLS, but he was killed at Chickamauga.  I had no other tent mate there.  My bunk mate after Nichols was killed was Sgt. FOSTER DRAKE, but I have been unable to learn of his whereabouts.
  Who were your most intimate associates in service, especially while you were at Murfreesboro and likely to know about your alleged diarrhea? 
  I had none, only my bunkmate.  The rest of the company were all the same to me.  I don't know that I took to one any more than another.  JAMES W. BONTON, of Three Rivers, Mich., I was quite intimate with.  JOSEPH ANNIS, of Leettsville, Kalkaska Co., Mich. is another with whom I was quite intimate.  He has made out several papers for me and I have for him.
  By whom do you expect to prove that you had chronic diarrhea in service?
  I know that JOSEPH ANNIS and LORENZO H. SCOTT of Jones, this county, knew about it from personal knowledge.  I also got the affidavit of my Capt. THOS. H. BRIGGS, but he is dead.  I went to see Dr. BRIGGS at Battle Creek about three years ago and, of course, he didn't know me.  I made myself known and he asked me what he could do for me.  I showed him a letter I got from the Dept. and he said he knew all about it and that it was about Nov. 1862.  I told him it was.  He asked me no more questions, but wrote me out an affidavit.
  I remember all the comrades whose names you read me (list) JAMES BRIGHTON ought to recall my diarrhea and it seems as though all those men ought to remember how bad I was at Murfreesboro.
  After discharge, I came back to the same neighborhood from which I enlisted and went to work for the same man.  I lived on the same section of land, in the southwest corner of this town of Marcellus, from 1864 until 1875, except for 1870 -1871, then I lived in the town of Volina, seven or eight miles from my old neighborhood.
  In Oct. 1875 I went to Fife Lake, Grand Traverse Co., Mich.  and stayed there 12 and 1/2 years.  I lived in Fife Lake all that time except about two years when I lived 1 1/2 miles North West of the Village.  In April, 1888 I went to Shelton, Buffalo Co., Neb. And in Sept. 1889 I came back to Marcellus.  Then I lived a year in a rented house, four miles northwest of here and then I came to this village, where I live now, and have lived here ever since.
  Did you ever have treatment from any other doctor for diarrhea or piles since the war?
  I have, but they are all dead.  There was Dr. JOHN SCOTT, Dr. HORACE D. DILLION, Dr. ROSS of Decatur and Dr. J.D. WILLIAMS, of Fife Lake, Mich.  All gave me such treatment, but every one of them is dead.  There is no doctor living that has given me treatment for that trouble.
  Why did you state in your declaration filed Dec 19, 1892, that you had never bee treated for chronic diarrhea since discharge?
  I don't know how that came to be in there, it is not a fact.  I have told you just as it was.
  Who were your near neighbors after your discharge, and until 1875, and in a good position to testify about your physical condition those years?
  A good many of them are dead.  JULIUS WATERSTRAT, SMITH WHITE, NORMAN WILLIAMS, are in that neighborhood yet.  Also, ROBERT SMITH still lives there.
  Of the witnesses in my old claims, JARED VANVIIET's whereabouts is unknown to me; JOHN SAVAGE went to Ore. Years ago.  JOHN W. POORMAN and JAMES DAY were my very first witnesses, but they are both dead.
  JACOB W ANDERSON lives at South Boardman, Kalkaska Co., Mich. and JAMES C HUFF and MARY M HUFF are at Fife Lake.  EMANUEL SCHUG lives here in town, he was in my regiment and has lived neighbor to me for ten years past.  Before I went to Fife Lake, he lived about three miles east of here, but I don't know just where.  I never was to his house.  We lived six or seven miles apart then.
  JOSEPH ANNIS used to live in Allegan after the war and then he went north.  After him, I went north and there we renewed our acquaintance again.  He never lived near me.  Up north, he lived ten miles from me.  GEORGE SCOTT has lived here all the time, so far as I know, since the war.  JOHN H LITTELL lived four miles northwest of here since the war until about three years ago, he moved into town here.  JAMES W RILEY, my brother in law, I have known for forty years.  He used to live about five miles from me, before I moved north.  We were together a great deal and fast friends.
  Have you any disabilities now which came on since your discharge?
  I don't know that I have only my ruptures.  I have double hernia.  The right one came on in Aug. 1890 and the other came in about a year ago.  I never knew what caused the first rupture.  I was working for a man named W.B. YOUNG on whose place I lived.  I pitched manure for six days and then went to spreading and I felt something hurt me and a little bump showed.
  When did your heart disease first appear?
  The first I knew that I had heart disease was when I had that fainting spell here two years ago.
  No, I had not noticed any symptoms of heart trouble before that spell.
  I have had no acute sick spells since the war except what was due to my army diseases. 
  I have had no less than nine distinct attacks of lung fever since I was married in 1866.  The attacks have lasted from two weeks to three months when I would be so bad I could not get out of the house.
  Why did you wait until Feb. 19, 1892, before making claim for chronic diarrhea, if you incurred it in service and never got rid of it?  Why was it not included in your original claim?
  I'll tell you.  I laid my first claim on rheumatism, disease of lungs, gunshot wound, and catarrh.  My attorney handled the claim a while and then told me he couldn't work on so many disabilities, and for me to state my two worst ones.  Rheumatism and my lungs were my two worst ones at that time.  JOHN S COE of Onondaga, N.Y., handled my case first.  I don't know why chronic diarrhea was not put in, nor do I remember why it was not claimed in 1889, when I made a claim for increase.
  Was your catarrh or your gunshot wound of head more serious than your disability from chronic diarrhea in 1875 when you made your original declaration? 
  I think at that time the chronic diarrhea was not so bad as my disability from catarrh, although the chronic diarrhea has been worse than the catarrh.
  You are unable to explain why chronic diarrhea was not allayed until 1892, although you were an applicant as early as 1875, are you?
  I am not able to tell you why it was omitted.  My attorneys told me distinctly after my claim was filed that they could work on only two disabilities.
  Yes, I am a married man.  I was married to SUSAN ANDERSON on April 15, 1866, in the town of Newberg, at the house of BENJAMIN F RANNEY, by EBENEZER C GOFF, a Justice of the Peace.  I don't know whether the marriage is recorded in the County Clerk's office.  Neither my wife nor I had been previously married.  We have lived together continuously since our marriage.
  We have seven children living.  Two are under sixteen years of age.  MAGGIE P NICHOLS was born May 26, 1888 and BENJAMIN HARRISON NICHOLS, was born Sept. 11, 1890.
  I will be present here in town but, I can't leave town and I don't care to have an attorney.
  MILES B STEVENS & Co., are my attorneys.  I signed written contracts to allow my attorney $25 if successful.  I have paid no fees.  No, I have not had to pay any witnesses for their testimony. 
  No, I had no rheumatism or lung trouble, or catarrh before I enlisted.  I was as sound a man as there was in the Town of Marcellus before I enlisted.  For a small man, there never was a better one than I was before I enlisted.
  I have understood the questions and my statement, as read to me, is correctly recorded
  Sworn to and subscribed before me this 20th day of April, 1900, and I certify that the contracts were fully made known to the deponent before signing.
Signed: H.L. ROETHE, Speical Examiner