|Letter from Charity Snider, with accompanying mole skin, from her Civil War Widow's Pension Application File. Discoloration on the paper is from the mole skin. (WC843258, Record Group 15), National Archives.|
In order to receive a pension, Civil War widows had to prove that they had actually been married to a soldier. Marriage records were far less consistent in the past than they are today, which explains why Charity Snider ended up sending the pressed skin of a dead mole to the federal government. Read the full Slate article here.