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Mexican War Discharge Certificate
The discharge certificate shown on this page (below) was issued on June 1, 1847, at New Orleans, to Private T. (Thomas) C. Alexander of Capt. James Lenow's Company, 1st Regiment of Tennessee Mounted Volunteers (Cavalry). It is signed by Col. Jonas E. Thomas, commanding officer of the 1st Tennessee. It was acquired on behalf of the DMWV by one of the organization's officers, at a book and paper show in Dallas, Texas on May 5, 2001.
The certificate reveals that Private Alexander was born in Maury County, Tennessee, was 22 years of age when enlisted, stood 6 feet tall, and had a fair complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair. His civilian occupation was farmer. The certificate shows further that he originally enlisted on June 9, 1846 to serve for 12 months, which was the standard term of service at that time. It's unlikely he ever saw any action. The regiment was first stationed on the Rio Grande with Taylor, where it performed garrison and escort duty. Later, the Tennesseans were transferred to Scott's command in Central Mexico. They missed the Battle of Cerro Gordo because they had given up their horses to the regular army.
The envelope which accompanied this certificate is postmarked Washington, D.C., 7 p.m., February 24, 1887. It was sent to Mr. Alexander, in Meridian, Texas, by the Dept. of the Interior, Pension Office. On the exterior of the envelope, someone has written: "Discharge of T. C. Alexander, Mexican War, Entitled to Pension under Act, January 29th, 1887." A letter of instructions, which probably accompanied the certificate when it was returned, was acquired on behalf of the DMWV at the same time.
It was necessary for a soldier to surrender his discharge certificate when applying for a bounty land warrent but not for a service pension under the Act of 1887. It appears that Mr. Alexander or his widow Kate sent the certificate to the Pension Bureau after hearing that the pension act had passed, not realizing that an application and affidavits were necessary. It appears further that the Pension Bureau almost immediately returned the discharge certificate, along with the instructions and the blank documents that Mr. or Mrs. Alexander needed to complete in order to apply for a pension.
Pension records at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. reveal that a Mexican War service pension for Mr. Alexander or his widow Kate Alexander was approved on March 14, 1887. The pension certificate number was 88, one of the earliest issued.
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