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Chris O’Donnell’s Ancestor’s Discharge Request

On August 20th’s, Who Do You Think You Are? episode, Chris O’Donnell discovered a letter on Fold3 written by his ancestor, Michael McEnnis, requesting a discharge from service in the Mexican American War after learning of his father’s death.

The letter, written on 11 December 1846, described McEnnis’ service and circumstances. He wrote, “I left a large family composed of my father three women and three children but my father being in good health and in a way of making a good living.” And, that he “felt no alarm as to the consequences attending it.”

McEnnis poignantly relates, “I received inteligence of the sudden death of my father leaving me a large and helpless family to protect and see after.” The letter is signed by McEnnis, O’Donnell’s great-great-great-grandfather.

The full 6-page file is within the Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 1822-1860, which holds similar personal correspondence by officers and enlisted men relating to enlistment, transfers, discharges, and promotions.

Venture deeper into the records on Fold3 to discover your own family’s story through the words of ancestors who served in the nation’s military.

One Comment

  1. I was a personnel specialist in the Army at the end of the Viet Nam War. I processed applications for what are known as “hardship discharges.”

    McEnnis’s request is the classic hardship discharge, and would almost certainly be approved in today’s Army, too. We approved several just like this during my tenure.

    And I knew before they even said it, that McEnnis’s discharge was an honorable one. Having to ask for discharge for personal reasons does not affect character of service.