Digital Collections Highlight: Civil War Discharge Certificate
November 14, 2017
The Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives' Digital Collections website features a rich collection of digitized documents from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library.
This week, in commemoration of Veterans’ Day, we highlight this Civil War discharge certificate, issued to James Foran in September 1864 at Philadelphia.
Foran (1840-1906), pictured below in a tintype portrait from the museum's collection, was born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1859. Foran entered the service as a Private of Company G, 8th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry on September 2, 1861. He was wounded by a gunshot in the left side at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863. One of the major battles of the American Civil War, the Battle of Chancellorsville took place near the village of Chancellorsville, Virginia, from April 30 to May 6, 1863. Foran was wounded on May 3, the fiercest day of fighting of the battle—a day that was also the second bloodiest day of the Civil War. The Battle of Chancellorsville resulted in heavy losses on both the Union and Confederate sides.
Nearly a year later, on May 1, 1864, Foran was transferred to the 162nd Company, 2nd Battalion, Veteran Reserve Corps where he served at Cuyler General Hospital at Germantown, Pennsylvania. Originally organized as the Invalid Corps in 1863, the renamed Veteran Reserve Corps was organized at Cuyler General Hospital on March 20, 1864. The Corps was a military reserve organization created within the Union Army during the Civil War. In existence until 1869, its purpose was to allow partially disabled or otherwise infirm soldiers – or former soldiers – to perform light duty. Foran served with the Veteran Reserve Corps for four months, mustering out on September 3, 1864 at the expiration of his term of service.
In 1870, he married Mary Connell (1847-1913), with whom he had three children. Foran died in 1906 at the age of 65 and is buried in Lambertville, New Jersey.
You can check out other tintypes from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library's collection here and other digitized Civil War-related Library & Archives items here.
Civil War Discharge Certificate, 1864. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, Gift of George Sommer, USM 001.336.
James Foran, ca. 1861. United States. Gift of George Sommer, 2011.004.2. Photograph by David Bohl.