Still Paying for the Civil War
Veterans' Benefits Live On Long After Bullets Stop
By Michael M. Phillips
WILKESBORO, N.C.—Each month, Irene Triplett collects $73.13 from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a pension payment for her father's military service—in the Civil War.
More than 3 million men fought and 530,000 men died in the conflict between North and South. Pvt. Mose Triplett joined the rebels, deserted on the road to Gettysburg, defected to the Union and married so late in life to a woman so young that their daughter Irene is today 84 years old—and the last child of any Civil War veteran still on the VA benefits rolls.
Mose Triplett, second from right, with his first wife, Mary, and unidentified people. After Mary's death in the 1920s, Pvt. Triplett married Elida Hall, 50 years his junior. She suffered from mental disabilities, as did their daughter Irene. Collection of Dorothy Killian