Jean Baptiste BELVA

Jean Baptiste BELVA
Comp. D, 53rd Indiana Volunteers Infantry



Drafted - Mustered in 24 March 1865, Jeffersonville Ind.


Mustered out 21 July 1865, Louisville Ky.


5 feet 11 inches










1 Oct. 1851 to Anne Catherine Goffinet by rev. A. Bessonies


22 July 1893



Biography :

John Belva was a farmer. He came in Perry County, Ind. in 1849 and lived in Leopold but left it for Oil Township in 1856

After being drafted, was sent to Jeffersonville, Ind. After examination by a surgeon, John Belva was mustered in the service and sent to Indianapolis Ind. The recrues joined the regiment in time for the Grand Revue in Washington before being sent back to Indiana by way of Louisville, Ky.

On or about the 10th of June 1865 near Parkesburg Virginia, John Belva incurred a severe attack of sores eyes by exposure. The regiment was transported by cars from Washington D.C. to Louisville Ky in open cars., most of them open cars. John Belva was on an open car, and the weather was damp and windy, caused inflammation of his eyes thence in painful severity. Belva testified : "Each car was crowded and traveled very slow - we were 3... days in going from Washington D.C. to Parkesburg Va and when we got there my eyes were very sores, especially my right eye. I don't know the exact cause but always attributed it to riding in the flat car and supposed it was the result of the wind and that possibly he might have got some very fine cinder or dust in them. At any rate they were very sore when we reached Parkersburg Va and none of the rest of my comrades were so troubled. I did not do anything for my eyes. Jacob Faekenborough came up to me and said "why your eyes are sores" and then said that maybe it was wild hairs out when he looked Could not find any - while on the cars before we got to Parkersburg Va I was heading my cotton handkerchief up to my eyes and one of my comrades Nicholas Goffinet said thought to have a silk handkerchief and as I said not have one he let me have his.

With them was also John B. Meunier. He add : When we got to Parkersburg, we left the train and went from there to Louisville Ky on a steamboat and were there in camp about six weeks, from the 18th of June through the 21st of July before we were discharged".

In 1879 went for Mt Pleasant in Oil Township, Perry County, Indiana and loss entirely the sight of his right eye in the spring of 1883.


Sources :

There were two pensions filed:

Invalid: application # 587394 certificate # 411553

Widows: application # 582493 certificate # 394933


depositions from, John B. Meunier, Nicolas Goffinet, Henry James, Joseph James, John Goffinet, Henry James Sr., Prosper Williams, Joseph James, Louis Goffinet, Peter Casper and John James(Peter Casper knew him since 1843 and Joseph James since boyhood)