Soldiers’ and Widows’ Pensions

From Widow’s Pension File of Emma Bailey, legal wife of the former Africa Bailey, a member of Company K of the 63rd United States Colored Troops

Tens of thousands of African-American Civil War soldiers applied for their earned benefit through the U.S. Bureau of Pensions. Many of their wives applied as well upon the death of their spouses.

On this page, read excerpts from pension files, arguably the richest source of information concerning their transition to freedom, arguably the fullest and largest body of slave narrative.