In no case can the production of the evidence above described be dispensed with, unless the impracticability of producing it be clearly proved: and then the nearest and best other evidence of which the case is susceptible must be furnished in lieu thereof.
III. Rules in relation to claims for steam-boats, and other vessels, and railroad engines and cars, lost or destroyed while in the service of the United States by impressment or contract.
By the second section of "An act to provide for the payment of horses and other property lost or destroyed in the military service of the Untied States," approved March 3, 1849, it is enacted as follows:
That any person who has sustained or shall sustain damage, by the capture or destruction by an enemy, or by the abandonment or destruction, by the order of the commanding general, the commanding officer, or quartermaster, of any horse, mule, ox, wagon, cart, boat, sleigh, or harness, while such property was in the military service of the Untied States, either by impressment or contract, except in cases where the risk to which the property would be exposed was agreed to be incurred by the owner; and any person who has sustained or shall sustain damage by the death or abandonment and loss of any such horse, mule, or ox, while in the service aforesaid, ire consequence of the failure on the part of the United States to furnish the same with sufficient forage; and any person who has lost, or shall lose, or has had, or shall have destroyed by unavoidable accident, any horse, mule, ox, wagon, cart, boat, sleigh, or harness, while such property was in the service: Provided, It shall appear that such loss, capture, abandonment, destruction, or death was without any fault or negligence on the part of the owner of the property, and while it was actually employed in the service of the United States.
By the fifth section of "An act to promote the efficiency of the Corps, of Engineers, and of the Ordnance Department, and for other purposes," approved March 3, 1863, it is enacted:
SEC. 5. And the it further enacted. That section two of the act approved March three, eighteen hundred and forty-nine, entitled "An act to provide for the payment of horses and other property lost or destroyed in the military service of the Untied States," shall be construed to inclose the steam-boats and other vessels, and "railroad engines and cars," in the property to be allowed and paid for when destroyed or lost under the circumstances provided for in said act.
To establish a claim for a steam-boat or other vessel under the above provision, it will be necessary to produce the following testimony:
If the steam-boat, or vessel, was in the service of the United States by contract, the charter--party, or a certified copy thereof, must be filed with the evidence in support of the claim.
It must be shown in what particular branch of the military service the boat was engaged--whether transporting troops, freight, or otherwise; and whether or not the risk to which it would be exposed was agreed to be incurred by the owner.
If in the service by impressment, the evidence of the officer by whom where such impressment was made must be furnished, showing when and where such impressment was made; by what authority or under whose order; the reasons therefor; and whether such boat was, at the time of loss, actually employed in the transportation of troops, supplies, or otherwise in the military service of the United States.
Complete evidence of ownership must be furnished. The owners must state when,where,and from whom the boat was purchased, and the price paid. The names and residences of all the owners must appear, together with their separate interests therein. The bills of sale, or certified copy thereof, must accompany the papers.
A complete description of the boat must be given, showing when and where the same was built; the trade in which she was employed