Thirty years after the Civil War there was a droll acceptance by many Southerners that Union veterans received pensions from the United States government, while Confederate veterans did not.
A newspaper ran the story of James W. Lucas, described as “a soldier who is reported to have served in the Confederate Army as long as he could, and to have killed a Federal soldier as late as February 1865.” Lucas was captured shortly after and joined the Union Army very close to the end of the war. A disability suffered during that brief period qualified Lucas for a Federal veterans pension.
“Lucas was lucky in his late repentance,” the wry newspaper editor commented, “but better late than never, perhaps.”
(See Hickman (Ky.) Courier, September 11, 1891.)