War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0810 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

be directed to the correction of what is deemed to be an error in the application of the law:

The actual pay of an officer is made up of several items, as pay for himself, subsistence for himself, pay of servants, subsistence of servants, and clothing of servants. Section 12, act of April 24, 1816, allows for each private servant actually kept in service, not exceeding the number authorized by law, "the pay, rations, and clothing of a private soldier, or money in lieu thereof." Section 1 of the act of February 21, 1857, fixes the coast of rations at 30 cents. The order of the Secretary of War, of June, 1827, fixes the cost of rations at 30 cents. The order of the Secretary of War, of June, 1827, fixes the monthly commutation for clothing allowance at $2.50. These items vary from month to month in actual cost, and it is therefore necessary to have a fixed rate of commutation. Not so the rate of pay. Whenever the pay of a private soldier has been increased this item of the officer's pay has been in like manner increased. The only first section of the act approved August 6, 1861, section 4, as follows: "That the first section of the at approved August 6, 1861, entitled an act to increase the pay of the privates in the Regular Army and in the volunteers in the service of the United States, and for other purposes, shall not be so construed, after the passage of this act, as to increase the emoluments of the commissioned officers of the Army." This act, in terms, refers to a particular act of August 6, 1861, and to no other. Only a very strained interpretation could give it application to any or all acts which might thenceforth be passed on the subject.

There is a military necessity, apart from that urged by Colonel Bel on the score of increased taxes and rates of living, why officers should not be excluded from the benefits of the increase. It has beedy, by officers of judgment and experience, that too little difference between the pay and allowances of commissioned officers serves to engender insubordination. The enlisted men already provided with clothing, rations, and everything they need for support, and not called on for any considerable expenditure of money, would have comparatively equal available means with their officers, who are generally obliged to exercise great economy. Feeling this real equality of condition, the men naturally discover no essential distinction between their officers and themselves, and are not ready to yield them the obedience necessary to discipline and efficiency. From remarks made by members of Congress on this subject, it is believed that the increase of pay by act of August 6, 1861, was, given to create site number of commissioned officers. The draft system was not then in operation. This motive did not exist in passing the act of June 20, 1864, and it is understood to have been the intention, as expressed by certain members of Congress in this last case, to indirectly increase the compensation of officers while directly enacting it for enlisted men.

CAPTURED FLAGS.

Over 200 flags, captured from the rebels in various battles, have been received at this office. They have been properly labeled, registered, and deposited for safe-keeping. Many others are supposed to have been disposed of by persons who captured, or had them in possession, in ignorance of their being public properly.

MEDALS OF HONOR.

The accompanying list (marked D) shows the names of 106 enlisted men to whom medals of honor have been awarded, by order of the Secretary of War, for taking colors from the enemy in battle, and for other acts of distinguished bravery. It is respectfully recommended that the list be published with this report.

By resolution of Congress approved July 12, 1862, 2,000 "medals of honor" were authorized to be prepared for presentation "to such non-commissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguished themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier like qualities." By section 6 of the act making appropriation is made for expenses, approved March 3, 1863, a new appropriation is made for striking from the dies already prepared an additional number of medals, to be presented not only to enlisted men but to officers.