I sent for the Full Pension File for the Civil War for my husband's 3rd Great Grandfather, Phillip Schaal. His widow Elizabeth Roth Schaal applied for a pension in 1903 and again in 1904. The 1903 one was abandoned since it was not the right form.
I was pleased with the information the forms contained. I was able to confirm an assumption that I had but no evidence of. According to the file, Mrs. Elizabeth Schaal married Christian Schaal after the death of her first husband Phillip Schaal. I had always assumed he was a brother of Phillip or possibly another relative, but did not have firm evidence other than the same last name and a hunch. The file actually stated, "That she has remarried since the death of said soldier, to-wit, to one Christian Schaal brother of soldier, October 27, 1867."
There it is! Phillip Schaal and Christoph Schaal were brothers! (I've seen Christoph's name as Christ, Christopher, Christoph and now Christian). Also in a couple of places it lists Phillip's place of birth as Wuerttemberg, Germany which is consistent with other records.
Next step, figure out Phillip Schaal and Christoph Schaal's parents names and try to locate them in Germany.
I wish we had photos of these people, they are just so fascinating.
Phillip Schaal emigrated to the United States (we believe in 1855 but I've not been able to completely verify this as of yet) either way he emigrated and shortly after joined in the Civil War on the Union side.
Elizabeth Roth married first Phillip and then his brother Christoph. That in itself is interesting.