Disability Certificate

Washington O'Dell

Company I, 98th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Submitted by: Barb Arnold Moksnes


This paper says that Washington O'Dell was a Teamster in Company I, 98th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and signed on at Newton, IL on the 2nd day of August, 1862 to serve 3 years. He was born in Rockingham county, N.C. and was 42 years of age, and was 6Ft, 1 3/4" tall, witha fair complexion and was a farmer. He has been unfit to be a soldier for the past 60 days, for the following reason: "Injury of the scull [sic], rec'd September 1862 while in the line of duty." He was stationed at Camp Dennison, Ohio, and was discharged on August 12, 1863. It states that he was examined by a Dr. and he was incapable of his duties as a soldier for the following reason: " Injury of the scull [sic] causing concussion of the brain and seriously impairing mental faculties. Is unfit to enter the Invalid Corps." Signed, John F. Carpenter, Surgeon


This paper states that the examing surgeon was from Indianapolis, Indiana, and was signed August 14, 1863. It says that Washington O'Dell is 2/3rd's incapacitated from the injury to the head while working on the railroad. It states that "On the 8th of September, 1862 on way from Camp Centralia, Illinois to Louisville, Kentucky, cars ran off the track near Bridgeport, Ill. cars turned over and head and face much cut and bruised, right ear cut off, and deep cut on right temple extended to right eye, which is injured. The right of which is much pained. the upper part of neck was also injured, the right breast is now tender to the touch-neck stiff and always moved with some pain- also some defect of hearing in right ear." Signed,

George W. Mears, examining Surgeon.

From the Claim for the Widow's pension, it also mentions that he had 3 ribs broken, and pain under his right hip. It also says he was a guard on the Ohio-Mississippi R.R. His Captain was William H. Wade. also from the Widow's form it says, "his Dr. saw him often until his death, but could do nothing for him except to recomennd to avoid exposure. He again visited him on June 20, 1865 when he was complaining of great pain in his breast and side under his right hip. He saw him again the following day, when Gangrene had set in. He again started to see him on the next day, but then he heard he was dead. His death was a result of the injuries he received."

So for almost 3 years, Washington O'Dell lived with his awful injuries rec'd when the train went off the tracks. He spent most of the time in a hospital in Newton, Illinois, then was sent home to die. His daughter, Olive Centralia O'Dell Arnold is my gg grandma, and she had written down the following note, " Washington O'Dell was injured in the Civil War, and was sent home, dying on June 22, 1865." I wanted to find out what exactly happened to him, as he was discharged in 1863, but didn't die until 1865. What a terrible way to go, living with those injuries, then dying of Gangrene. Our family visited his grave for the 1st time on Memorial weekend, 2002. We were glad to see that an American Flag was at his place. We hope to raise the money with other family members to buy a new headstone, as his is in very bad shape.

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