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Accounts and settlements.
Freedmen's Branch, Adjutant-General's Office
Miscellaneous accounts and claims.
Indian property accounts
Ordnance, medical, and miscellaneous.
Arrears of pay, &c ...
From March 4,
In addition to the number of letters written, as stated above, 27,857 were written in the various divisions of the office, making a total of 106,046.
The average number of clerks employed during the year was 140. The usual monthly and annual reports and statements have been prepared.
$12, 604, 998 41
577, 340 79
The following figures exhibit, as well as figures may do, what has been the work of this office since its organization in 1817, and furnish interesting statistical information. The first table shows the number of settlements of money-accounts and claims during the forty-four years from 1817 to 1861, divided into two periods, prior and subsequent to the Mexican war. The second table is a condensed statement of the money accounts and claims settled by the different divisions of the office from June 30, 1861, to June 30, 1877; and the third table shows the number of property-accounts adjusted, claims rejected, certificates furnished the Paymaster General and Commissioner of Pensions during the same period.
Number of accounts settled from March 4, 1817, to June 30, 1861.
From June 30,
1, 105, 616 57
78, 189 25, 545, 952 25
6, 695 6, 097 21, 361
2,622, 792 33
126, 723 42 4,932, 839 51 3,575, 641 22
$4, 181, 276 33
Statement of accounts settled and amounts involved from June 30, 1861, to June 30, 1877.
Indian agents' dis-
Regular and volun-
Ordnance, medical, and
829, 128, 526 30
Bounty, arrears of pay, &c.
616 83, 335, 885 23
2,099, 257 87
3.328 $249, 180 64
957, 010 35
A mount. Į No.
$37, 111, 957 47
10, 680, 370 71 977, 304 1,856, 761, 647 53
Statement of property-accounts adjusted and miscellaneous work performed in connection with the settlement of accounts.
In 1861 the files of this office were couveniently accommodated in two rooms. At the present time they consist of more than twenty-two thousand cubic feet, and weigh about three hundred tons. That portion of them which consists of officers' property-returns, that have been examined and adjusted, is in two rented buildings, outside of Winder's building, where the examinations were made. The larger portion, which embraces the settlements of claims and accounts for the disbursement of money, occupies the entire attic story of Winder's building and cases in the corridors of that part of the building assigned to this office. Neither of the buildings containing the officers' returns is fire-proof, nor is the upper portion of Winder's building, where the most valuable files of the office are necessarily deposited. It is earnestly hoped that steps will be taken at an early day to render Winder's building fireproof. The value of the files thus exposed will be appreciated, when it is understood that the money vouchers alone show the disbursement of over nineteen hundred millions of dollars, covering the pay of the Army; expenses of recruiting; collecting, drilling, and organizing volunteers; ordnance and ordnance stores, medical and hospital department, and the Indian service, with other miscellaneous matters since July 1, 1815.
The pay-rolls of the Army in the accounts of paymasters, besides furnishing the only evidence which the government has of the proper disbursement of some fifteen hundred millions of dollars, are, and will be in the future, of great value to the people of the country, especially to officers and soldiers, or their friends, as furnishing interesting and important incidents of personal history. There would seem to be no argument needed to demonstrate the importance of properly preserving them.
In consequence of the poor quality of paper employed in making these rolls, and their frequent handling in the office of the Paymaster-General and this office, while settling the accounts of paymasters and the various claims of soldiers and their heirs, they became so badly worn upon the
folds that most of them would fall into pieces upon being opened, often requiring great care to prevent the loss or displacement of some portion. This was especially true of those so frequently used in settling the various claims for bounty, since eighteen hundred and sixty-two, and I became satisfied that if what was called the "equalization of bounty bill" should become a law before the rolls could be repaired, they would be virtually destroyed before settlement of the claims under it could be made. It was not practicable to have photographic copies of them made until after they had been repaired, and an attempt to have them copied in any other way, besides involving an expense of twenty-five or thirty dollars apiece, would fail to secure the signatures, or fac-similes of them, of the officers and men who had been paid. An investigation showed that there must be over six hundred thousand mutilated rolls and vouchers in the office needing repairs to properly preserve them. Having satisfied myself that the best method would be to repair them with vellum, and that the work could be done cheaper and neater by women than men, I brought the subject to the attention of the Secretary in the summer of 1875, informing him orally of the whole matter, and in view of the magnitude and importance of the work, and that there was no appropriation for this office out of which it could be executed, it was determined to detail female clerks for the purpose of making the needed repairs. Work was commenced under this arrangement on the 17th of August, 1875, and has been done in a most satisfactory manner. On the 30th of September last, three hundred and eighty-five thousand eight hundred and seventy-five mutilated vouchers had been repaired, which are really stronger and better fitted to bear future handling than they were when first made, and there now remain about two hundred and ninety thousand, according to the best estimate that can be made, which need similar repairs. It is earnestly hoped that means will be furnished to complete this valuable and important work.
The condition of the work in the office is very satisfactory, and it affords me great pleasure to bear testimony to the ability, faithfulness, and efficiency of the gentlemen composing its clerical force. In fact all persons who are at present connected with it, are entitled to my special commendation.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
Hon. JOHN SHERMAN,
Secretary of the Treasury.
E. B. FRENCH,