instances where the rate allowed exceeded 22 cents per day payment thereof has been arrested by the Secretary of the Treasury on the ground that under the law the rations furnished prisoners of war shall be the same in quantity and quality as those furnished to men elisted in the army, and that as the ration of the soldier may be commuted when necessary at a rate to be fixed by regulations of the War Department that rate so fixed should be the limit of allowance for boarding prisoners, and that he (the Secretary of the Treasury) has been informed by the Commissary-General that the rate so fixed was 22 cents. If a uniform rate for the value of the ration (as commuted) had been established by the Department I do not think it would properly be the standard of allowance for the expense of taking care of prisoners, requiring to be housed, lodged and guarded as well as fed. But I am not aware that any such rate has been established.
With regard to the 22 cents cited by the Secretary there is a statement in this office from the Commissary-General as follows:
When troops were hurried to Virginia from all parts of the country last spring the actual cost of a ration, irrespective of cooking, was about 18 1/2 cents. The troops had no camp equipage, and to obviate the charging of bills on the railroad houses the Commissary-General arranged with the Adjutant-General to direct each officer commanding detachments to have prepared by their men cold victuals for the trip, to be commuted at 22 cents. This was a specialty, saving thousands.
From which it appears that this was a specialty to suit a peculiar emergency a year ago and not the establishment of a fixed commutation value for the ration generally. The first case stopped by the Secretary of the Treasury was that of George D. Pleasants, sheriff of Henrico County, Va., for board and lodging of prisoners in the jail at 50 cents per day. Another was the claim of J. C. Huff, jailer of Roanoke County, for "furnishing and dieting" prisoners at 35 cents per day, which claim had your approval indorsed upon it. On 30th of October I referred for your decision several vouchers in the account of Captain J. F. Minter, assistant commissary of subsistence, being paymests for "boarding and lodging of prisoners of war" at $1 per day - in one instance as high as $1. 30 per day. These prisoners were represented to be officers of the U. S. Army. You approved the vouchers and the amount was passed to as stopped of the officer.
The cases referred to as stopped at the Treasury Department remain unpaid and others of like character are pending in this office for settlement. I have respectfully to request your decision whether 22 cents is the value of the ration as fixed by the Department, and whether the allowance for board and lodging of prisoners is limited to that or any other specific sum per day. I inclose a copy of a letter addressed by me to the Secretary of the Treasury on this subject on the 13th of September, 1861, in which my views are very decidedly sent forth and which I have not since seen any reason to change or modify. On the contrary daily experience is proving their correctness.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,
W. H. S. TAYLOR,
TREASURY DEPARTMENT, SECOND AUDITOR'S OFFICE,
September 13, 1861.
Honorable C. G. MEMMINGER, Secretary of the Treasury.
SIR: I had the honor to receive your communication of the 2nd instant, and being desirous to make the reply myself a great pressure of business has prevented my doing so until now. You state that "by the