War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0053 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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or two-thirds thereof, which had actually accrued before the date of his discharge. If, for instance, he volunteered for two years, and is mustered out before the expiration of the first year of his service, he cannot claim either the second or the third installment of the bounty of $200 which would have been payable to him had he continued in the service till the expiration of the two years for which he enlisted. The volunteer only who, at the time of his discharge, has completed one half of the term of service for which he enlisted, is entitled to the second installment of one-third of the amount of bounty given to him by the act; and he is entitled to no more of that bounty. If he is discharged on the next day after the expiration of one-half of his term of enlistment, the second installment of the bounty is due and payable to him. The Government cannot reclaim it if it has been paid, now withhold it if it remain unpaid. But the discharge precludes him from receiving the third installment; that only is due to a volunteer who may have served through the whole term for which he enlisted. I confess that there is some obscurity in the act, and that there is a little difficulty in determining its meaning. But, on the whole, I am of opinion that the Paymaster-General has arrived at the true construction of the statute.

The third question is, whether commissioned officers of volunteers below the rank of brigadier-general, whom the Government may now muster out of service because their services are no longer required, are entitled respectively to receive, on their leaving the service, "three months" pay proper,"under the provisions of the fourth section of the act of March, 1865.

The right of these officers to receive that allowance depends upon the determination of the point whether they have continued in the service "to the close of the war" within the meaning of the statute of 1865. I am of opinion if such an officer continue in the Army till he is honorably mustered out, because his military services are no longer needed, and till the Government thus declares that it no longer requires him to perform any duty on its behalf under his commission, that he is within the provisions of the statute, and in its contemplation he has continued in the military service "to the close of the war." The war, so far as he is concerned in his capacity as an officer, has closed. He has performed his duty - his entire duty - to the Government and the cause for which he drew his sword. When his country, by its appropriate organ, commands him to return his sword to the scabbard, and retires him honorably from its service, I know not how we can, with respect to that officer, say that the war has not closed. I am of opinion that an officer of the class named in the statute now, and thus mustered out of service, is entitled to receive "three months" pay proper."

I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES SPEED,

Attorney-General.

By order of the Secretary of War:

E. D. TOWNSEND,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, June 10, 1865.

COMMANDING GENERALS OF DEPARTMENT AND ARMIES:

Under General Orders, No. 101, May 30, current years, from this office, soldiers honorably mustered out, who desire to do so, are authorized to retain their value. To this end soldier who desire to take advantage of the said order must signify their intention before leaving the field, so that the prices may be entered on their muster-out rolls.

The prices fixed by the Ordnance Department are as follows: Muskets, all kinds, with or without accouterments, $6; Spencer carbines, $10; all other carbines, $8; sabers and swords, with or without belts, $3.*

Please promulgate this order for the guidance of commissaries of musters and all others concerned.

E. D. TOWNSEND,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

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*Also announced in Circular No. 24, Adjutant-General's Office, June 10, 1865.

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