necessary for the army, and has been taken by unauthorized persons when not necessary for the army and no receipt given; in other words, plundered. It is necessary to decide on many accounts and claims arising under these circumstances, and the general commanding directs that your select a competent officer and the general commanding directs that you select a competent officer and assign to this duty to act under your supervision and subject to your approval. The following general principles must be observed:
To pay a fair price for such articles as are authorized for the army and were necessary for its use at the time and which we taken by competent authority. Among these amy be enumerated forage, fuel, subsistence stores, and horses.
Property, however, taken not in the way of regular army supplies, but to meet a public emergence, should not be paid for, though it may have been taken by proper authority; as, for example, material for building a bridge would not be paid for when used for that purpose, but if taken when necessary as fuel and so consumed, it should be paid for.
Payment should not be made for property taken without authority, and not clearly shown to have been necessary to the public interest at the time, in accordance with the principles above; that is, no payment can be made for property plundered or damaged through misbehavior, &c., or want of discipline on the part of our troops.
There are cases where fences have been used as fuel and fields destroyed by grazing animals in them. In such cases it would be proper to pay for these items at their value as fuel and forage if the accounts showed that it was necessary to use them in that way.
The officer put on this duty must examine into each account, refer it to the officers and other parties connected with the transaction, to ascertain all the facts connected with it; must put it in regular form, and make it show on its face that is fulfills the requirements herein set forth. It will then be subject to your order for payment. the examining officer should also see, as far as possible, that the officer who got possession of the property has taken it upon his return.
The cases of accounts presented for unauthorized and unnecessary seizures, &c., or plundering, should be investigated, with a view of ascertaining and bringing to punishment the quilt parties, or fixing the guilt upon particular companies, regiments, or brigades, thus enabling you to promote discipline, and to having, if possible, restitution of the property or reparation of the damage done. whenever it appears from the investigation that loyal citizens have a just claim against the government for damages sustained, though one that cannot be paid under existing law and regulations, such facts as may seem proper will be indorsed on the accounts by the officer examining them, and they will be returned to the owner.
It is suggested a man acquainted with the ordinary forms of the commissary and quartermaster's departments be detailed, if practicable, to act as clerk to the officer put on the duty herein prescribed.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES B. FRY,
Colonel and Chief of Staff.
Huntsville, July 15, 1862.
General THOMAS, Tuscumbia:
It is 42 miles from Florence to Athens and 22 miles from Athens here. Get ready to move at the earliest possible moment and rapidly