(This document was graciously made available by Linda Hawkins, a descendent of David H. Fortner, Sr.)
Kingston, Roane Co., Tenn,
April 27, 1885
Hon. Commissioner of Pensions,
Sir: I return herewith the papers, a report of Special Examination by Mr. A. B. Jones, and forward my report of further examination in Anderson County, Tennessee, of Claim #199154, Louisa J. Fortner, widow of David H. Fortner, formerly a private, Company F., 3d Tennessee infantry. Claimant's post office address is Bull Run, Knox County, Tennessee. Claimant's husband filed claim for pension #166392 and died.
This claim was sent to me to obtain the deposition of David H. Fortner and such other witnesses as I could find. There are no other persons, so far as I can learn, in my neighborhood who know anything about the case.
David H. Fortner, Pages 5:12 Deposition A, testifies he is 48 years of age and that his father's name was David H. Fortner, now dead; his mother's name was Anna Jane Vickery; his father was married twice; got a divorce from Anna Jane Vickery and married Louisa Foy in 1867; father died in August 1871, of bronchitis; heard his father say, just a while before his death, that Dr. Wm. A. Rogers and Dr. Lewis had told him that was his disease; says his father was 56 years old when he died; Dr. Lewis, now deead, was attending physician at death; Dr. Scott and Dr. Wm. A. Rogers attended him before death; father left no minor children; witness is the only child his father ever had; claimant has remained a widow; has not lived with any other man since her husband's death, but her character is not good; her general character is that she is a lewd woman; names witnesses to proove lewdness; witness was a private in Co. F 3d Tennessee Infantry. Enlisted Feb, 1862; mustered out at Nashville 1865; his father enlisted in same Co. and regiment and at same time; had lived with his father for 5 years immediately preceding enlistment and his father was always a healthy man until he went into the army; but was subject to cramp colic; no rheumatism; no disease of throat; no trouble with lungs; no doctor attended him before the war; father never drank; worked in a cooper shop and made woodwork for wagons; was regular at his work; had no sickness; was 47 at enlistment--does not think he was older; witness was 25 at enlistment. After enlistment witness was on duty with his father on picket, on guard, and on marches; his father made no complaint at first, seemed to stand marching as well as witness could; but about the time of the battle of Murfreesboro Dec '62 and Jany '63, his father complained to witness, while on the march to Murfreesboro from Nashville, of a cough and said his legs hurt him, and that his breast hurt him, and this was the first complain or sickenss he had after enlistment, so far as witness knows; says his father was discharged not long after the battle of Murfreesboro for disability; excused from duty for 2 weeks before discharge; was disabled by a hurting in his breast and a cough; Dr. Rodgers Brigade Surgeon proposed to discharge him and worked it through. Witness was told by his father, before he was discharged, that carrying his knapsack and hard marching had given him bronchitis; while waiting for his discharge he looked bad; pale; poor and lean; had always been very fleshy; his hair began to turn whiter; complained of his breast; don't recollect that he complained of his throat or lungs; he had a constant, cry, hacking cough; never had a cough before he enlisted except when he would have a bad cold; don't remember any diarrhea; after discharge he went back to Kentucky and had a spell of sickness; got as bad he could not travel; does not know what sickness he had in Kentucky; he got to Knoxville and was there during the siege; after the siege he went home in the upper edge of Knox county; on the 2d day after the rebels left Knoxville witness saw him; witness got there with his regiment from Sale Creek; marched to the relief of Burnside, only recollects that on this occasion his father complained of his breast; says his father came to camp of regiment at Love's Creek, above Knoxville to see witness; saw him every week or so until we went to Georgia in 1864. Then I saw him no m ore till after muster out; when witness parted with his father at Strawberry Plains to go into Georgia with the regiment his father said he was not able to work on account of his breast; after muster out at Nashville witness came to Haskel's station in 3 days--18 miles from where his father was; saw his father a week later; went to see him near House Mountain; father was better but still complained of breast; not of anything else; had a kind of dry cough all the time; did not then complain of diarrhea; so continued to complain of his breast and to have a dry cough until he died 6 years afterwards; witness was present at his death; he had been bed-fast for two weeks, suffering with a tightness in his breast, and still had the cough; he kept wearing away, getting weaker and weaker till he died from exhaustion; his death was not sudden; it was gradual; not able to sit up more than 5 minutes at a time for about two weeks; witness there all the two weeks, last two days never left him except about two hours to go to my own house and back. Witness has no prejudice against the claimant; don't care whether she gets pension or not; but says her known lewdness ought to keep her from getting a pension and thinks investigations in her neighborhood will show her to be a lewd woman; says claimant is sixty; right smart and gray; crippled, but is a smart active woman yet. Witness never made previous affidavit; never asked to do so; says claimant was never married before she married his father, but had three illegitimate children, one dead; none of these children were his father's; one was Lieut-Col. J. C. Chiles' son, and the other was the child of a Knoxville merchant by the name of Nelson. This has always been general report. Wietness says his father during last sickness had diarrhea but does not know of chronic diarrhea--does not believe diarrhea was the cause of death; thinks if diarrhea had been cause of death he would have know it from waiting on him.
[Reputation of witness good. Not biased. Seems to be hopeful that claimant will not get a pension but does not fail to testify in favor of claimant. Appears indifferent to the result.]
Approved. The summary is a true reflex of the testimony embodied in this report. ___Edwards, Supq. Exm. Knoxville Dist.
Apl. 29. '88