« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Freedmen's Branch of the Adju tant-General's Office, special acts of relief by Congress, &c., were adjusted in this division, and represented an expenditure of $2,622,792.33, as follows:
The compilation of a complete record of payments to regular and volunteer officers is being proceeded with as rapidly as possible. An examination of 319 paymasters' accounts during the past year resulted in the detection of 72 cases of double payment to officers no longer in the service, against whom charges have been raised and measures taken to recover the amounts overpaid.
On July 1, 1876, there were 593 unsettled recruiting and other accounts on hand; 2,062 were received during the year, 2,207 were adjusted, and 448 remain on hand; 1,398 letters were written.
Cash-accounts of Indian agents
256 1,004 33
$1,456, 737 29
4,758 93 13,048 30
258 $4,932, 839 51
3,575, 641 22
8, 508, 480 73
The time of one clerk was occupied two months in piling the customary statement of expenditures of the Indian Department required by law to be submitted to Congress annually.
A new set of books has been opened in which a record is kept of all articles purchased for the Indian service and paid for through this office, showing the date of purchase, the description and price of goods, the amount paid for transportation from the place of purchase to the place of delivery, the agency for which the articles are intended, and the name of the agent who receipts for them. This record answers a double purpose. It enables this office to prevent any overpayment on account of the transportation of Indian goods and supplies, and it shows exactly what articles each agent must account for in his property returns.
The Second Comptroller, in following up delinquent agents, has had to make frequent calls upon this office for transcripts of accounts for suit, and a great portion of the time of several clerks has been occupied in-preparing such transcripts, and in making the supplementary settlements which transcripts for suit usually involve. In many cases, in
order to fix the responsibility of ex-agents for property not accounted for, it has been found necessary to re-examine, not only their individual property-accounts, but also the property-accounts of other agents from whom they received, or to whom they claimed to have transferred, the property in dispute. This description of work is more tedious than the ordinary adjustment of accounts, but the amount of labor bestowed upon it cannot very well be represented by figures.
In comparing this year's report with the one rendered last year, it will be seen that there has been a very large increase in the number of Indian claims referred to this office for payment, while the increase in the amount of said claims has been comparatively insignificant. In the fiscal year 1876 the claims numbered 1,236 and amounted to $3,556,298.38. In 1877 the number settled was 2,248, amounting to $3,575,641.21—an increase of nearly 82 per cent. in number, but only a little more than one-half of one per cent. in amount.
Letters written, 2,920; letters recorded, 2,552; pages of legal cap used in copying, 1,137, and 298 pages of folio post.
The work performed in the two branches of this division is set forth in the following statements:
PAY AND BOUNTY DIVISION.
In addition to the foregoing, three settlements were made in this division on account of unclaimed amounts due deceased soldiers, upon which the sum of $6,160.30 was paid to the Soldiers' Home, under section 4818, Revised Statutes, making the aggregate disbursements $583,501.09.
DIVISION FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF FRAUD.
The number of claims remaining on hand June 30, 1877, by actual count, is 15,446, classified as follows: Arrears of pay and original bounty, 6,641; additional bounty, act July 28, 1866, 1,765; bounty under act of April 22, 1872, 272; claims of colored soldiers, 6,768.
During the last fiscal year 6,749 cases have been before this division for examination and investigation, of which 4,680 have been examined and 423 finally disposed of, leaving 6,326 now on hand for further investigation and final disposition. Briefs have been prepared in 410 cases; 56 cases have been arranged for the Department of Justice for suit and criminal prosecution, and 4,223 letters have been written.
The cases under investigation involve questions of alleged fraud in the preparation and prosecution of claims, forgery, unlawful withholding of money, overpayments to officers and enlisted men of the Regular Army and volunteer force, and are as follows: 1,286 cases of white and 1,674 cases of colored soldiers, in which notice of fraud was not presented to the office until after payment; 785 unpaid claims of white and 1,470 of colored soldiers, involving fraud, forgery, disputes, and contests as to identity and heirship, &c.; 699 miscellaneous settled claims of colored soldiers, involving questions of lawful inheritance of bounty, &c., and 412 cases in which officers are charged with pay overdrawn.
The amounts recovered by suit and otherwise, aggregate $159,513.99, of which $6,882.87 was returned to the Treasury in cases of white soldiers; $147,072.41 recovered by the Freedmen's branch of the AdjutantGeneral's Office and covered into the Treasury through this office; $2,543.89 recovered by judgments not yet satisfied; $1,928.66 deposited in the Treasury, being the proceeds of canceled certificates, (Second Auditor's ;) $936.16 recovered from agents and paid to claimants direct; $100 recovered by reclamation through the assistant treasurer at New York, and $50 by fine.
In my report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1875, the following remarks occur:
In my last annual report I said that the increase in the number of cases requiring investigation by this branch of the office was accounted for by the fact that since the
transfer of the Freedmen's Bureau to the War Department frauds and malfeasance had been discovered in the payment of claims by the subagents of the late Commissioner of the Bureau, and it was then presumed that the number would continue to increase until some definite action should be taken by superior authority, with a view of determining the civil liability of the bonded agents of the bureau. Many cases then in the hands of the law-officers of the government are yet in statu quo as regards action on the bonds, and it is perhaps advisable that they should remain so until the allegations of non-payment, false vouchers, &c., shall have been fully inquired into by the different United States attorneys, and some definite conclusion arrived at as to the facts and the liability of the bonds.
These remarks yet apply to this division; and I have only to add that, owing manifestly to the migratory character of the colored people and the uncertainty of their declarations when found, the United States attorneys have since returned a majority of the cases with reports of their inability to successfully investigate them. In some instances the fact that the colored soldiers or their heirs have been defrauded of their money has been fully established. Charges have accordingly been raised against the late Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, and the matter placed in the hands of the Solicitor of the Treasury for appropriate action. Those people who have not received their money are clamorous for a resettlement of their claims, but under the resolution of Congress approved March 29, 1867, directing payment to the Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, and charging him with the faithful disbursement of the funds, the accounting-officers hold that they have fulfilled their duty and discharged their trust so far as relates to the settlement of the claims, and that no claim can be resettled and pa d without specific authority from Congress, and the reappropriation of the necessary funds.
The number of returns of clothing, camp and garrison equipage, &c., left unsettled on July 1, 1876, was 9,714. Since that date 3,213 have been received, and 4,983 examined, leaving 7,944 on hand June 30, 1877. In the settlement of these returns, charges amounting to $9,257.21 have been raised against officers for property not accounted for. Three thousand four hundred and thirty-one returns have been examined nary to settlement, and 2,779 letters have been written.
DIVISION OF INQUIRIES AND REPLIES.
Office making inquiry.
Commissioner of Pensions
Of the 1,594 unanswered Adjutant-General's inquiries, all but about 75 are cases in which no issue is pending in that office, the object of the
inquiries being to correct or complete soldiers' records. Several hundred of these cases are suspended, awaiting information from the PaymasterGeneral.
The large amount of miscellaneous copying done in this division is indicated by the following items: Rolls and vouchers copied for the Adjutant-General, 285; for the Third Auditor, 4; for preservation in this office, 26; final statements copied, 586; affidavits, 507; applications for back pay, 135; letters, 112; miscellaneous documents, 238; pages of foolscap used in copying, 1,872. Three thousand six hundred and twenty-three letters were written, and 2,978 signatures compared. During the year 127 overpayments and double-payments were discovered, amounting to $5,495.95. Charges to the extent of $1,628.25 have been raised against enlisted men of volunteers for improper payments for the use and risk of private horses. Some of these improper payments were made during the war with Mexico, and one or two during the Florida war. The amounts overpaid are stopped by the Third Auditor from the claims of the soldiers for horses lost, and are transferred to the books of this office. The amount so transferred since June last was $1,678.59.
In December last the descriptive lists of soldiers, a large number of which accumulated in this office during the late war, were turned over to this division for appropriate disposition. Twelve thousand two hundred and nineteen of these lists have been properly briefed and filed away for future reference, and 3,459 have been filed with the soldiers' applications for arrears of pay and bounty. The record books of applications were examined in 37,269 cases to ascertain whether the soldiers' whose descriptive lists were received, had applied for bounty or back pay.
DIVISION OF CORRESPONDENCE AND RECORDS.
Letters received, 18,854; letters written, 16,696; letters referred to other offices, 1,354; dead-letters received, briefed, and registered, 1,604; letters recorded and indexed, 1,273; letters with additional evidence re ceived, briefed, and indexed, 15,108; claims received, briefed, and registered: War, 13,719; Indian, 2,022; miscellaneous vouchers received, stamped, and distributed, 59,124; pay and bounty certificates examined, registered, and mailed, 4,233; sent to the Paymaster-General, 13, 170; reports calling for requisitions sent to the War Department, 375.
Confirmed settlements received from the Second Comptroller, entered, arranged, and placed in permanent files: paymasters', 172; Indian, 1,893; miscellaneous, 1,355; total 3,420. Paymasters' accounts received from the pay department and temporarily filed, awaiting settlement, 529; paymasters' accounts rearranged for greater convenience of reference, 714; paymasters' accounts unexamined, 155; miscellaneous accounts withdrawn for reference and returned to files 2,458; vouchers withdrawn for he use of settling clerks, 38,948; vouchers previously withdrawn, returned to files, 100,213; mutilated rolls repaired, 66,321; vouchers briefed, 352,272; letters written, 915.