William Finger's letter to the Commissioner of Pensions Feb 13, 1891
Right after the battle of Chancellorsville [May 1-3 1863] I was taken sick with reuhmatism, my right leg all drawn up, and twisted in my back, through exposure and wading through the waters. I was therefore send to the Hospital (1st Div 11th Corps, Dr. Wilson in charge) by our regmt. surgeon Dr. Brilliantovsky. After remaining there for but a short time, the hospital brocke tents, and we all were removed, via Fallmouth Station, Va. to Aquia Creek Landing, from there by hosp steamer to Washington, D.C. Lincoln hosp., and after a weeks treatment send from there to the convalescent camp near Alexandria, Va., can't remember date, only that I was there during the 4th of July.
Shortly after the 4th I was send, still lame and limping, to join my Rgmt. which I met at Berlin Stat. on the B.S.O.R.R. When crossing the Potomac R. in persuit of Gen. Lee and from then and there I was detailed to the Regim. hospital as a nurse, and have ever since during the long years ben troubled with ruehmatism, and laid up for 3 & 6 weeks at a time, so that I could not turn or help myself in any way, and through the medicines I had to take, I became of later years afflicted with heart disease.
On the 12th day of Dec. 1864 I was honorable discharged at Summit Point, near Winchester, Va. and as home transport I had to lay on top of a freight car, full of ice and snow from 5 pm till 12 at night. When we arrived at Harpers Ferry frozen stiff, and there without any shelter, had keep up walking in the cold until 8 a.m. when I boarded the train to Baltimore & N.Y.
After arriving in N.Y. I hunted up my old regiment surgeon (who, with the original rgmnt, was mustered out 6 months previous) he gave me a prescript. for intern. & external medicine, which have often relieved me; he is dead. After I rested and improved to some extend, a friend found me employment by Charles Haussmann, Grahamsville, Ulster Co. N.Y., but my left arm got so stiff that I could not work, so I left there and went on the 7th of June 1865 for my old home Bernburg Prov Anhalt, Germany where I arrived on June 21st 1865, there I worked for my father, who was sadler & upholsterer to relearn and fit myself for the upholstery trade entirely (which trade I have followed ever since).
During my stay at home I were under medical treatment by Dr Ch. Heinicke our house physician and there I laid sick with reuhmatism 6 weeks, during this time I read about the aditional bounty, engaged a agent in Brown Park Row N.Y. to get it for one, and after I arrived in N.Y. in April 1867 received the same, from there I went straight to Cleveland.
I worked for J.D. Pratt, Brodway, lived at ? Neuhans & High street, married 23rd of June 1867. lived then at Columbus St Mr. Voights house, Orange Street Mr. Hellers house (can't remember the number) Broadway, Mr Crattons, rear building. There I had a long spell again in the fall of 69 and was treated by Dr. Krause Kinnsmann who after my recovery advised me to go south, and so I left Cleveland 28th of January and arrived in Atlanta, Ga Febr 2nd 1870. There I lived 6 months at Mr Hartridges Nelson St. then I had a little shanty build no 10 Liberty near McPherson Barraks where I lived until Jan 1881, being laid up several times, and treated by Dr. Raushenberg, now deceased working at places where I could, and not making a living for my familie.
I tried Macon, Ga where I arrived Jan 15th 1881. There I had better health the first 4 years then ever before untill I had a severe attake again from Sept 1885 untill Jan 86, but did not use a Doctor. After the long spell the attakes came oftener and heart disease, and billiousnes with it. Then I was treated by Drs Moore, and Gervinner, and I thought I could and would live no longer, advised to go to a cooler climate. I left for Chicago and arrived here March 15, 1890. Here my heart trouble has somewhat abated, but the rheumatism set in worse again. Not able to do steady work I am compelled to do little jobs which no one else wants, and therefore can't make half a living. I did not ask for Pension as long as I could half-ways get along, but it is getting worse & worse and my evening is getting near. I am only 56 next 7th July but feel like 70.