Sunday, September 12, 2010

Unidentified Veteran

People often ask me why residents of the Confederate soldiers' homes were required to obtain permission slips ("furloughs") to leave the home for a month-long absence to visit relatives or an afternoon trip to town.

The furlough paperwork was a way for most homes to satisfy state funding requirements. If a resident was absent from the home for a lengthy period, the state wouldn't authorize payment of the pro rata funding to the home's treasurer. (It's the much the same way that public schools today report daily attendence in order to claim state funds.)
The furlough records were also used to help account for inmates who went missing or were otherwise unaccounted for.

Sometime near the first of February 1918 an unnamed resident left the Kentucky Confederate Home for a trip to nearby Louisville. "Confederate Veteran is Picked Up Unconscious," the February 3 Courier-Journal reported. The unnamed old man was hit by a streetcar near Second Street and Broadway, then driven to the hospital by a witness to the accident. The man was unconcious and would have  remained unidentified if not for a furlough slip from the Kentucky Confederate Home found in his pocket. ("He bore no other marks of identification," the newspaper said.

The image of the furlough slip,  above, is used courtesy of Susan Reedy.

No comments: