Beginning in 1800, pensions for U.S. naval personnel were awarded on the basis of death or disability during active service. Under various acts of Congress, the number of pensions awarded between 1800 and 1851 grew from 22 in 1802 to 1,228 in 1851. Taking its cue from the ever- increasing number of applicants, this work presents information on some 3,000 seamen and sailors who were awarded pensions in accordance with the various acts of Congress and special acts of the Senate or House of Representatives.
Gleaned for the most part from annual Congressional reports, this new work contains the names of the veteran, his widow, his children and heirs, and sometimes other family members, identifying altogether some 5,000 or more individuals, most of whom, it should be pointed out, appear in no other federal pension records, not even in the Old Wars pension index where they might otherwise be expected to be found. As a point of interest, the majority of naval pensioners were from the states of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York.
The text is arranged alphabetically by the name of the pensioner followed by his state of residence and naval rank. The amount of the pension, either per month or per annum, follows along with the years in which there are entries for the pensioner in the reports to Congress. Additional data such as the nature of the disability, date of death, name of vessel on which the pensioner served, and biographical details follow. The fact that this list of pensioners is unique marks this as a major contribtion to the existing literature.