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the discharge of the duties of the various paymasters in obtaining the mail, taking it to the office, sending to the banks, and to aid in inovement of funds and securing promptitude in the transaction of business, and in sending information to other offices in the city.
The CHAIRMAN. State whether there are laborers employed as porters who have very little to do in your department.
General ALVORD. I do not know of any. The messenger performs the duty of a porter connected with the city offices.
The CHAIRMAN. State how many paymasters are now on duty in your department.
General ALVORD. There are forty-four paymasters and two assistant paymaster-generals. There are two deputy paymaster generals vacant, by the death of one and the retirement of the other. Of the whole number only one is absent, sick. He has been ordered before a retiring board in New York to be examined for retirement.
The CHAIRMAN. State whether there is a sufficient number of pay. masters now on duty.
General ALVORD. There is not a sufficient number.
General ALVORD. The service is so arduous in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, and California, there is great want of more paymasters. The chief paymaster in Oregon resigned last September, and I could not obtain anybody to take his place. The paymasters in Oregon have very heavy duty, traveling to Forts Colville and Boise and Camp War.
In California the duties of paymaster are excessively severe. I know one that has made trips every two months to Northern California, in the interior, back of Humboldt Bay, with great labor and exposure; then he had to go down on the Union Pacific Railroad to Reno, and two hundred and eighty-seven miles south of that to Camp Independence; then back to the railroad and to Fort McDermitt, north, near the Oregon line; then back from that to the railroad and to Kelton, on the Union Pacific Rail
. road; and thence northeast to Fort Hall, in Idado; thence back to San Francisco. He did all that every two montbs, with occasionally a partial relief. As for Arizona the climate and exposure are such that the paymasters ought to be changed often. I effected a change last summer for one officer, who had been several years on duty there, with great satisfaction. I had an application from another officer, indorsed favorably by General Schofield and by the chief paymaster there, but I cannot give relief to him because there is nobody to send to fill his place. You must bear in mind that to give this relief it often requires somebody to take the place of the officer sent, and we have not enough to accomplish the duty of exchange.
The CHAIRMAN. How many paymasters have you in New York City!
General ALVORD. There are three besides Colonel Brown, assistant paymaster-general.
The CHAIRMAN. How many have you here?
General ALVORD. There are three here. I should say that one of those in New York, Major Halsey, was sick, and reduced by disease, but he applied to go on duty, and has been placed in New York, but I do not think he can do much. There are in the whole department but three sick, and one severely injured three weeks since by a fall on the ice, which is a small number compared with what might be expected.
The CHAIRMAN. Could not those do duty in the field ?
General ALVORD. One.
General ALVORD. One assistant paymaster-general and two paymasters. They have to travel through the entire South. I have had to reduce the paymasters at points formerly occupied by them, and where there still ought to be one. There is not one at Saint Louis, that great center where officers often want pay, and discharged soldiers.
The CHAIRMAN. How many at Leavenworth?
General ALVORD. There are more at Leavenworthi, as that is tha headquarters of the Department of the Missouri. There are two there, Major Brock and Major Veddre, besides Major Hunt, chief paymaster. The latter, ten days ago, bad a fall on the ice, to which I referred above, and the accounts are very unfavorable for his recovery. A paymaster has been detached from Omaha to take his place.
The CHAIRMAN. How many are on duty at Omaha ?
General ALVORD. Only one, Major Smith. There are others in that department-one at Cheyenne and one at Salt Lake City-but in the city of Omaha there is only one. We should have another there for payment of the detachments north and south of the railroad. In the spring it is absolutely necessary. In the dead of winter I have moved Major Terrell and put him temporarily at Leavenworth, though he will be wanted in Omaha in the spring. Every spring there are detached camps sent out for the protection of the remote settlements. They are pushing settlements in Nebraska southwesterly and northwesterly. The commanding general puts troops in front of the new settlers, and there the troops must be paid. The language above used, that I moved Major Terrell temporarily to Leavenworth, requires qualification. I recommended bis removal to the Secretary of War, from whose office the orders proceed. Such is the present system. The paymasters are not ordered from stations by my orders, but I make recommendations as to such movements from one department to another. Within the department each department commander moves him at will.
The CHAIRMAN. In your opinion what number is needed to fill up your corps so as to have it sufficient for the present Army?
General ALVORD. Preserving the organization as it is, I believe that there should be fifty-two paymasters of the rank of major, two assistant paymaster-generals of the rank of colonel, and two deputy paymaster. generals of the rank of lieutenant-colonel, besides myself. This force is needed owing to the geographical distribution of troops, without reference to the number of rank and file. If that should be reduced, the number cannot be materially changed, because they would be scattered just as they are now. The stations must be kept up, and the necessities of the Pay Department will be just as urgent, unless we should return New Mexico and Arizona to Mexico, as General Sherman proposed.
The CHAIRMAN. Can your paymasters dispense with any clerks?
General ALVORD. Each has one clerk, and he is indispensable. The chief paymasters occasionally have received permission to have an extra clerk at department headquarters.
The CHAIRMAN. Please state the number of clerks, &c., that are needed in your department, and their classes.
General ALVORD. The following is my recomiendation, and is the number actually needed for the public business : 1 chief clerk.....
$2,500 2 clerks of class five, at $2,000. 5 clerks of class four, at $1,800.
9,000 8 clerks of class three, at $1,600.
12, 800 * Three of whom shall be temporary. + Two of whom shall be temporary.
*21. clerks of class two, at $1,400....
1 messenger, at $1,000....
$29, 400 14, 400 1,000
3, 360 3, 600 1, 440
The CHAIRMAN. Please state whether if the Army is reduced, say, five thousand men, and a proportionate number of officers and organizations, the number of paymasters and officers of the Pay Department that you have mentioned would be necessary?
General ALVORD. I think that the geographical distribution of the troops must necessarily remain the same, considering the wants of the frontier, and that therefore little or no change could be made in the number.
Mr. GUNCKEL. Suppose the troops were withdrawn from the South, would not that make a modification ?
General ALVORD. I do not see how they can be reduced there. Atlanta has already been abandoned as a paymaster's station; the pay. master there, Major Canby, was a year ago ordered to Oregon.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose the troops are largely withdrawn from the lakes, Atlantic coast, and the South; would not that enable you to reduce the force ?
General ALVORD. There is but one paymaster on the lakes, at Detroit. Unless you strip the Canadian frontier entirely he ought to stay there.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you tell me the number of paymasters in the lake region and along the Atlantic coast ?
General ALVORD. In the Division of the Atlantic, commanded by Major General Hancock, there is one assistant paymaster-general, N. W. Brown, and five paymasters; three in New York, one at Detroit, and one nominally at Philadelphia. I say nominally, for Maj. J. P. Bruce has had a stroke of paralysis and is unfit for duty.
The CHAIRMAN. Please proceed south from there along the Atlantic coast; what number have you, reaching as far around as New Orleans ?
General ALVORD. In the Division of the South, under Major General McDowell, one assistant paymaster-general at Louisville, and two pay. masters; one paymaster at Charleston, S. C., and in the Department of the Gulf two paymasters at New Orleans.
The CHAIRMAN. Does that include all the paymasters in the lake district, Atlantic coast, and South, to New Orleans ?
GENERAL ALVORD. It does.
General ALVORD. No; the paymasters in this city only pay in the District of Columbia and are not under the command of a division commander. The paymasters of this city have incessant labor and all of them work more or less after office-bours.
Mr. GUNCKEL. You say that notwithstanding the reduction of the Army you would still want about fifty paymasters, or about one to five hundred men ; is that necessary?
General ALVORD. If they were concentrated it would be a different tbing
Mr. MacDOUGALL. What is the particular need of having so many paymasters in New York ?
General ALVORD. One is stationed in the city all the time performing local payment, as it is called, paying officers, discharged soldiers, &c.; ove goes to Fort Monroe; another travels to Maine to make payments; and another goes to Sackett's Harbor, Plattsburgh, &c. But the last one is only on duty at his own request, as he is sick.
Mr. GUNCKEL. What is about the average pay that the Gorernment gives to a paymaster, including allowances for everything?
General ALVORD. That will depend on the length of service. The salary increase terminates with twenty years' service. The majority of the paymasters served during the war and since, so that their service-average would be for about ten years' service, and the pay of a major of ten years' service is $250 per month. That is about as fair an average as I can give.
Mr. GUNCKEL. Does that include quarters, forage, fuel, &c.?
General ALVORD. I suppose the average for those allowances of the Quartermaster's Department would be about $110 a month, as near as I can give it, though that is a rude conjecture. That would be about $1,320 a year, including everything.
Mr. GUNCKEL. That would be about $216,000 per annum for the fifty paymasters. What I want to ask is this: If you had the contract to pay the Army, 25,000 in number, as it is to be, and scattered as it is, could you not pay them equally well for a less şum than that per year?
General ALVORD. In reference to that I would say the payment re. quires more than the payment on one occasion. It requires av apparatus for time of war, for etticiency, and a knowledge of the interpretation of the laws. Legislation has increased so in reference to all questions connected with the Pay Department that it requires the utmost vigilance to know what the laws are and how to interpret them. New questions arise, as they will in the legal profession, every month of our lives. I mention this to simply suggest that to execute the duty of paying the troops requires skilled labor, mental application, high character and integrity, which can only be attained by a corps of paymasters such as have existed since 1821. Prior to that, and during the war of 1812, the system of payment, if system it could be called, was bap-hazard. Some. times civilians were employed; sometimes company commanders paid. In the war of 1812 there were soine regimental paymasters, and it was found that the percentage of loss to the Government by defalcations and by immature experience in the discharge of their duties was startling. Gen. Nathan Towson, under Mr. Calhoun as Secretary of War, devised the present system of organization of the Pay Department, giving rank, respectability, and permanency to the position, and it must be said that the experience of half a century has justified the prophecy of Mr. Calhoun as to the propriety of the system adopted. The percentage of loss during the Mexican and civil wars was trifling in comparison with the percentage of loss during the war of 1812, and I have given the statistics very fully in the pamphlet I have handed you. They were given in answer to interrogatories before this committee in the month of March, 1872. My opinion is that the present system is the best and most economical to the Government of any that could be devised.
A concise statement of these statistics is as follows:
Outlay during war of 1812:
6,000), 000 1,000,000
1.3 per centum. 2.98 per centum.
Total cost of paying troops, expenses, (lefalcations and all losses.... 4.36 per cent. of
amount disbursed in the war of 1812, and up to 1821.
Mr. GUNCKEL. Applying, then, the principles of every-day business Jife to these payments, there could be no reduction safely made, in your opinion?
General ALVORD. I think not. I will say that the inembers of my corps, taking the majority of them, are fit to be bank.presidents and bank-cashiers, and to handle money. They are men of capacity, men who can study the law and make the necessary interpretations on questions tbat arise. Oftentimes important and delicate questions come up at remote points, and it is necessary to decide them at once, without waiting to coinmunicate with the Department bere. To know what is the law and the last interpretation of the law, and to execute the same promptly and impartially, is the first business of my office, and of every jaymaster. And this is the only way in which the Treasury can be properly guarded.
Mr. GUNCKEL. How much boud does each one give?
General ALVORD. They give bond for $20,000, and their sureties justify to double that amount.
Mr. MacDOUGALL. These payments to troops are all made on musterrolls, and payments to officers on pay-rolls; tbese troops are all mus. tered by competent officers detailed for that purpose on account of their peculiar qualitications for that duty, and the paymaster takes those rolls, examines them, and pays on them. Does that require a great deal of legal ability ?
General ALVORD. Those rolls are not made out by the company commander in full; the paymaster has to carry out the dollars and cents, the amount due at his desk, or before payment. The stoppages must be deducted, some arising from courts-martial, requiring a nice knowledge of decisions of the Judge-Advocate General. A large share of the payments are not on rolls, but on individual vouchers, as per bounty, mileage, discharged soldiers, &c. The phases of interpretation for payment of bounty were multitudinous. As late as 1869 thirty-eight inillions were disbursed for bounty and back pay alone; and if you will take a copy of the paymaster's manual, which your chairman has in his possession, and the octavo volume of Second Comptroller's Decisions, you will see what an accumulation of decisions of the law-officers of the Government, from the Attorney
General down, as well as those of the War Department, has to be in the mind of the party who pays, or he will soon find, by disallowances and statements of differences from the Auditor of the Treasury, how he will get himself into trouble.
Mr. GUNCKEL. Would you not obviate that difficulty by paying to each officer an amount that will include everything; a round sum in dollars and cents ?
General ALVORD. The necessity for this vigilance and for this office. knowledge could not be avoided, unless the powers of Congress are