Since the investigation of Washington pension attorneys, it is a little remarkable how scarce in the newspapers is the appearance of advertisements like this.
Pensions! Thousands of soldiers of the late war are still entitled to pensions with the large accumulations since the injury was received. We procure pensions, back pay, allowances. Appear in the courts for nonresident clients in United States land cases, etc. Address Skinnem & Co., Washington, D.C.
I didn’t participate in the late war, but I have had some experience in putting a few friends and neighbors on the track of a pension. Those who have tried it will remember some of the details. It always seemed to me a little more difficult somehow for a man who had lost both legs at Antietam, than for the man who got his nose pulled off at an election three years after the war closed. It, of course, depended a good deal on the extemporaneous affidavit qualifications of the applicant. About five years ago an acquaintance came to me and said he wanted to get a pension from the government, and that he hadn’t the first idea about the details. He didn’t know whether he should apply to the President or to the Secretary of State. Would I “kind of put him onto the racket.” I asked him what he wanted a pension for, and he said his injury didn’t show much, but it prevented his pursuit of kopecks and happiness. He had nine children by his first wife, and if he could get a pension he desired to marry again.
As to the nature of his injuries, he said that at the battle of Fair Oaks he supported his command by secreting himself behind a rail fence and harassing the enemy from time to time, by a system of coldness and neglect on his part. While thus employed in breaking the back of the Confederacy, a solid shot struck a crooked rail on which he was sitting, in such a way as to jar his spinal column. From this concussion he had never fully recovered. He didn’t notice it any more while sitting down and quiet, but the moment he began to do manual labor or to stand on his feet too long, unless he had a bar or something to lean up against, he felt the cold chill run up his back and life was no object.
I told him that I was too busy to attend to it, and asked him why he didn’t put his case in the hands of some Washington attorney, who could be on the ground and attend to it. He decided that he would, so he wrote to one of these philanthropists whom we will call Fitznoodle. I give him the nom de plume of Fitznoodle to nip a $20,000 libel suit in the bud. Well, Fitznoodle sent back some blanks for the claimant to sign, by which he bound himself, his heirs, executors, representatives and assigns, firmly by these presents to pay to said Fitznoodle, the necessary fees for postage, stationery, car fare, concert tickets, and office rent, while said claim was in the hands of the pension department. He said in a letter that he would have to ask for $2, please, to pay for postage. He inclosed a circular in which he begged to refer the claimant to a reformed member of the bar of the District of Columbia, a backslidden foreign minister and three prominent men who had been dead eleven years by the watch. In a postscript he again alluded to the $2 in a casual way, waved the American flag two times, and begged leave to subscribe himself once more. “Yours Fraternally and professionally, Good Samaritan Fitznoodle, Attorney at Law, Solicitor in Chancery, and Promotor of Even-handed Justice in and for the District of Columbia.” The claimant sent his $2, not necessarily for publication, but as a guaranty of good faith.