About the Author

My name is Virgil. I am a Ph.D student in the History department at Claremont Graduate University. My research interests are modern U.S, history, race history, and disability history. Before beginning my Ph.D in History, I received a Master's in Teaching and Sociology from Northern Arizona University. Currently I am an adjunct instructor at the University of La Verne in their sociology department and at Northern Arizona University Online in their Ethnic Studies and Sociology departments. I am also a senior writing consultant for Claremont Graduate University's Center for Writing and Rhetoric.

Document Type



In the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War, several Disabled Continental Army soldiers scattered across the burgeoning Republic were driven by desperation to write letters, pleading with General George Washington for his support. The soldiers’ decision to draft these letters stemmed from their profound frustration and disillusionment with the post-Revolution American state. The soldiers' discontent resulted from the sense of neglect they experienced after the state rejected their petitions for a Disabled Veteran’s pension. As time passed and rent went unpaid, medical bills piled up, and the threat of vagrancy loomed over these men like a malevolent specter. Unable to work and losing faith in the pension system, these men took the only option they saw left: write a letter directly to General Washington. Disabled Veterans wrote Washington hoping he would support their fight for a pension as he had helped them fight against the British. The President never directly intervened in the state's dealings on behalf of these men, but the letters soldiers wrote offer intimate insights into their lived experiences. Notably, these letters reveal how veterans viewed themselves as republican men and how they viewed the emerging American state. The following article examines the letters to George Washington to reveal a hidden history of Disabled Revolutionary War Veterans.



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