George W. Fraley Disability PensionAssistant Secretary Bussey to the Commissioner of Pensions, Aug. 5, 1892. Herewith are returned the papers which accompany your report on the recent special examination ordered by this Department in the claim of George W. Fraley, Company C, Fortieth Kentucky Volunteers, Certificate No. 359,299. This soldier declared for pension in November, 1879, alleging injury to his back and testicles by being thrown from his horse during a skirmish, in November, 1863. He had been pensioned since February 4, 1887, by special act of Congress, to cover these disabilities, and since July 12, 1890, he has been a pensioner at $8, under the act of June 27,1890, to include disease of rectum and skin disease. His claim for arrears under the general law has been continuously held in rejection on the ground of his failure to establish by competent evidence the fact of service origin. The case came to this Department on appeal, and after a full review of the papers it was returned to you, under date of March 26, 1892, with directions that it be specially examined on the question of origin and continuance of the disability. The papers now show that such special examination has been completed, and your decision is still adverse to the admission of the claim. Claimant alleged treatment at the hospital at Mount Sterling, Ky., and, in June, 1864, at Grayson, Ky. The record shows that the regiment was at Mount Sterling, Ky., in November, 1863, and also that claimant was in the hospital for treatment about the time alleged. But the diagnosis given in the record is "typhoid," and that only. There was no record of hospital at Grayson, but special examination indicates that soldier probably was treated at Grayson by physicians outside of the service, as Grayson was not far away from his home, and he claims to have been permitted to leave on furlough after his injury. Besides this, the command was at Grayson after leaving Mount Sterling. The record shows him absent May, June, July, and August, 1864, and returned to duty December 20,1863. Claimant originally denied any medical treatment after discharge except by a Dr. Jones (deceased) for about one year. Subsequently an affidavit was filed purporting to be from one Dr. Slusher, which recited prior soundness, critical condition at time of discharge, and treatment for years. This paper is probably a forgery, as some other affidavits in the case are distinctly shown to be. The medical examinations have, since 1881, shown a diseased condition of the testicle and tenderness and soreness in the lumbar region and along the sciatic nerve. Special examination develops that several affidavits, representing witnesses whose testimony is important and material to the case, were clumsily forged, and yet when these witnesses were seen by the examiner their testimony agreed remarkably well with the statements in the forged papers. This forgery has not been traced to the claimant, but seems to have been the work of one acting as agent in the claim at the time. The facts as shown by special examination are these: In the Fall of 1863 a squad of four men from the soldier's command, of which he was one, were sent out on a scout or as a detail to arrest a deserter named Calloway Gillam, at Cracker's Neck, Ky. While making a detour for this purpose, and when separated a short distance from the command, they were fired on by guerrillas, and a general scramble appears to have been made to get back to the command. It was during this time, claimant alleges, that the injuries were received by his being thrown from his horse. The special examiner has found all four of these men and secured statements from them all. Claimant deposed that they were sent by Captain Nipp to arrest the deserter. They went to his home, but, failing to find him, were returning to the command when fired on. They fired in return. Claimant says his horse was wild and threw him; that he fell by au old shop near the Henry Derring farm; that bis back struck against a white oak pole, and that in falling the pommel of the saddle mashed his right testicle. He says he lay there for a little while, and one of the other boys caught his horse, and with help he mounted, rode a short distance and then had to lie down. After a few minutes he mounted again and they overtook the command. He then examined and found that he was pretty badly hurt. His back was sore and bruised and his scrotum was swollen and tender. He says it was about three days before they got back to camp at Mount Sterling, during which time he suffered greatly and bathed in cold water. When they got to camp he "took the fever right on top of it and was sent to the hospital in a few days afterwards." When part of the command went to Grayson he was taken from the hospital and put under the care of Dr. Jones, at Grayson, who was not an army surgeon. Then he was given a sick furlough and sent home. Henry M. Hutchinson was one of this squad. Recollects that claimant was one of the party. They were fired on when passing Derring's farm by a squad of rebels, and our squad somewhat scattered. No special recollection what became of claimant after the firing, and don't recollect what became of him at Mount Sterling, where the regiment remained for some time. When we went from Mount Sterling to Grayson remember that Fraley was complaining of the effects of an injury from being thrown from his horse, and recollection is that he claimed to have received the injury when he was fired on at Cracker's Neck. Witness says a Dr. Jones attended the sick of two companies at Grayson. James Jordan deposed that when they were fired on Hutchinson, who was on a better horse, got away from them. Witness was perhaps 50 yards behind the others, and when he got up to where the squad had been, Hutchinson was getting away pretty fast and Fraley (the claimant) was on the ground. Witness was not watching him and did not see him thrown. He was on his feet and trying to get on his horse. Didn't stop to help him or find out what was the matter. It was every man help himself about that time. We either halted for claimant or he caught up, for we got together before joining our company. When we reached the command all was in confusion over the capture and killing, without trial, of two guerrillas, whom they were just executing when we rode into the command. Witness immediately got a furlough and went home. Don't remember that claimant was on duty with him again. Charles Gillam said they had been scouting and were going to the company. He described how they were fired on from the brush by twenty or thirty men, and he gives a description of the affray. Witness' cap was shot through. "Don't know whether Fraley was thrown clear from his horse or not. When we made the turn after the second volley, he was thrown up on top of his saddle on the pommel. I saw that but did not see him go off." Witness did not know whether he got back or fell off, as he was pretty busy attending to his own affairs at that time. They got to the company pretty much together, but each for himself. He refers to the shooting of the two guerrillas. Fraley complained to him that he got hurt by the pommel of the saddle. When they reached Mount Sterling he saw the parts, which were very much swolleu and the color of a black bruise. Did not see him again for a long time and have forgotten what became of him. When witness did see him again, in Summer of 1864, at Lebanon, Ky., he saw the parts again, and although then not black they were still swollen. In addition to these comrades who were with this squad, the examiner saw two others, who deposed as follows: John Kelley had messed and bunked with claimant and knew him to be sound; he was not present when the claimant was injured, but claimant told him of his injury the next morning, and when they got to camp at Mount Sterling showed him the parts, which were badly swollen on one side and looked black—a kind of bluish black. Just after that he was sent to the hospital, it was said with the fever. After that he was a great deal away from the company, and when he returned was always complaining of his testicle. Also complained of his back. After his return they messed and slept together until muster out. Claimant complained all the time and never got over the effects of the injury up to the time they left the service. Complained most of his privates. James Gillam, comrade, was not present, but knew from hearsay at' the time, and from the fact that his brother Charles had been one of the squad, that Fraley got hurt by being thrown from his horse at the time referred to. Don't recollect that anybody but Fraley got hurt in that scramble. The claimant's wife gives a detailed history of his complaints and her nursing and bathing from the time he came home, in the early part of 1864, and she recites that from that time he has been continuously subject to more or less suffering and disability by reason of the injuries of which he then complained. Capt. Nipp can remember only that the soldier was taken sick at Mount Sterling and was disabled for duty for a long time, but does not remember what the disability was. Capt. K. D. Davis, of Company D, has the same recollection of claimant's incapacity for service for a long time, without recollection as to the cause. Both officers certify that he was a faithful soldier and ever ready for duty when able. There is no medical testimony of condition after discharge. Dr. Jones died shortly after the war. Dr. Slusher was not found, but claimant says all the treatment he gave was to prescribe liniments and lotions several times. The case is lacking in satisfactory evidence of continuance from 1864 to 1881, except the testimony of the claimant and his wife, who are represented to be worthy and credible persons. Medical examinations since 1881 have shown tenderness and soreness over the right side of sacrum and along the course of the sciatic nerve, and also a tender and atrophied condition of the right testicle, and small ratings have generally been recommended by the examining surgeons. The whole and every part of the evidence in this case has been carefully considered. The witnesses seen by the examiner are of good report and have not been shown to be at all prejudiced in favor of the claimant. Claimant alleges the incurrence of his injury while upon a scout or detail at a certain point, and under certain circumstances. His own recollection was not clear as to all of the men who accompanied him. But the examiner found all of them. Each gives a somewhat different story, but generally corroborative of the main facts, of the time, place, assault by guerrillas, stampede, and says that in some way claimant was known to have been injured. They all identify the day as that on which two guerrillas were executed, without trial, by the company. One comrade saw claimant on the ground trying to remount after the fire. Another saw him thrown forward on the pommel of the saddle. All agree that each man was trying to take care of himself and escape from the superior number of the attacking party. One comrade thinks they may have waited at a certain point for the claimant to overtake them. Arrived at the command, all was confusion and soon they started for camp. Two other comrades, one of them a bunk mate, heard of the accident to claimant and saw the bruised and swollen testicle, and heard claimant complain of his back. Immediately after this he is sent to the hospital with typhoid fever and disappears from the company. Then he goes away on furlough and his wife tells of his physical condition as to these injuries. Then he returns after some months to the command and again several comrades tell of seeing the parts and hearing complaints of testicles and back. He starts with comrades on a raid and one day's riding makes him sick and he returns to camp. He does but little active duty afterward until discharge. From 1864 till 1881 some years elapse without much connecting testimony. Then and thenceforth surgeons find sciatica and tenderness of sacrum and diseased testicle. Conditions are now found to correspond with theory of the claim, and are consistent with the testimony of comrades as to the complaints made and the causes assigned by the claimant in 1863-'64 There is a general air of sincerity and frankness about the testimony which carries with it conviction of truth, and while the recitals are not individually conclusive, yet their general agreement results in a conclusion favorable to the claim. The Department is of opinion that the service origin of these disabilities should be accepted, and will therefore overrule the rejection, and you will adjudicate the claim accordingly.
Submitted by: Glen Haney