Seaman - U.S. Navy - U.S.S. Vindicator
Thomas Ballard was born December 7, 1832. When he was 21, he was wedded to Ellen Phillips. The wedding was performed by Esq. Sidgly on April 13, 1854 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His wife died on January 24, 1888. To this union of Thomas and Ellen, 4 children were born. They are: George Ballard, b. March 6, 1855; John T. Ballard, b. April 1, 1862, Edward Ballard, b. April 27, 1867; and Mary E. Whetstone, b. September 24, 1869.
His first 2 children were born in Cincinnati. After that, at age 31, he enlisted in the Civil War on September 27, 1864 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and served as a seaman in the U.S. Navy on the U.S. Steamer, Vindicator.
Ram U.S.S. Vindicator, Acting Lt. Gorringe, and small stern-wheeler U.S.S. Prairie Bird, Acting Master Burns, transported and covered a successful Union calvary attack on Confederate communications in western Mississippi. Thirty miles of track and the important railroad bridge over the Big Black River, east of Vicksburg, were destroyed. Major General Dana praised the part of the gunboats in the expedition. The assistance of the vessels of the Sixth Division Mississippi Squadron rendered the expedition a complete success.
Ballard was discharged from the ship, U.S.S. Vindicator on August 7, 1865. Then he was honorably discharged on August 8, 1865 from Mound City, Illinois. His family then moved to St. Louis, Missouri. That's where his last 2 children were born.
He was permanently unable to earn a support by reason of him having chronic rheumatism, diseases of the heart and of the rectum, and a running wound of his right leg below the knee due to a gunshot wound, which weakened the leg so that he had a great difficulty in using it. Later in life, he was laid up in bed half of the time.
He applied for and received an Invalid Pension, receiving $12 a month as of August 25, 1890. Then on July 5, 1895, they reduced his monthly payment to $8 becasue they wanted more proof of his disability. Then as of April 6, 1904, under a Special Act of Congress, his monthly disability payments went up to $30 a month.
While Thomas Ballard was living in St. Louis, Missouri, he joined his comrades in the Col. Hassendeubel G.A.R. Post No. 13, Dept of Missouri.
His last known address was 1314 N. 19th Street, St. Louis, Missouri.
Submitted for Charter Members:
Mary E. Whetstone, Daughter, Initiated 8-22-1930
Ruth E. McCourt, Granddaughter, Initiated 9-18-1930