|Surgeon's note regarding Matthew Black's death in Frederick, Md. (fold3.com.)|
On Sept. 23, 1862, 81st Pennsylvania Private Matthew Black, wounded near the Sunken Road at the Battle of Antietam, was admitted to a hospital in Frederick, Md. Twenty-two days later, the 26-year-old Irish-born soldier died in General Hospital No. 5 there from effects of a gunshot wound to his right thigh. The hospital, one of the larger facilities set up by Union medical staff in Frederick, was in the Roman Catholic Novitate and Visitation Academy.
|Matthew Black's gravestone at the national cemetery|
at Antietam. (Photo: Laura Van Alstyne Rowland)
Soon after her son's death, widow Sarah Black began the process of obtaining a dependent's pension from the government. According to a pension affidavit, Sarah claimed she was dependent on her son's earnings, which Johnston had given to Mrs. Black at Matthew's request. As part of her claim, Sarah had to submit proof of her marriage to James Black, who had died in the late 1850s. Because she couldn't provide official evidence of her union in County Donegal in 1822, Sarah submitted a note from the church minister in Ireland, who wrote: "If it is of any value, the old people of the congregation remember you and your husband and could testify to your being realy [sic] married."
Sarah's claim was approved, and she initially received $8 a month. At an unknown date after the war, the remains of her son were disinterred and re-buried in Antietam National Cemetery, Grave No. 3937.
-- Matthew Black pension file, National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C., via fold3.com.