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employed and some of them are, perhaps, overworked. They have no assistants. Clerks, generally private soldiers, are detailed to aid them when their services are absolutely required, but, in the performance of their own proper duties, they have no assistance, unless some difficult question arises, which they refer to this Bureau. The office of JudgeAdvocate of the Army has existed from the foundation of the Government. It was first established in 1775, and more especially organized in 1776, with the title of Judge-Advocate-General and rank of lieutenant-colonel. It has been the subject of legislation from that time to the present. The Army has never been without a legal counselor. This officer was again designated as Judge-Advocate-General by the act of 17th July, 1862, and on the establishment of the Bureau of Military Justice, in 1864, he was placed at its head.

Question by Mr. GUNCKEL. Could not the duties of the department be performed by retaining the present established force here in Washington, and using Army officers ordinarily, and in occasional cases employing additional counsel ?

Answer. It would not be so satisfactory, for this reason : Under the present system many errors in proceedings in courts-martial at remote points are at once there corrected ; the records come to the commander's office and are revised by the judge advocate, and if there are errors they are without delay sent back before the court is dissolved. The employment of lawyers from civil life would doubtless involve a much larger expenditure than the present system, and would be less satisfactory in its results, because they would not have that familiarity with military law and military usages which are deemed indispensable.

Question by Mr. GUNCKEL. It would only increase the time of transmission from the post to this city instead of the commander's office ?

Answer. That is only one of the disadvantages. It would deprive the commander at an important post of that legal advice in reference to bis current duties which, I think, is at all times advantageous. I may add that with reference to the views of military officers regarding the utility of a judge-advocate's department, it is clear that those officers are most competent to pronounce upon the subject whose daty as the commanders of geographical departments has devolved upon them the functions of appointing and reviewing the proceedings of general courts-martial.

Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield, while acting as Secretary of War, in his annual report dated November 20, 1868, states, under the head of Bur. eau of Military Justice, as follows:

The officers of this Bureau consist of a Judge-Advocate-General, an assistant judgeadvocate-general, and eight judge-advocates. The two vacancies in the grade of judgeadvocate, and the absence of any legal provision for tilling them, bave prevented a compliance with several applications from department commanders for such officers.

It is recommended that the number and grade of officers of the Bureau be permanently fixed by law, so that the vacancies may be filled.—(Page 2, Report Secretary of War. Abridgment, 1868.)

It was in accordance with this recommendation that, by the act of April 10, 1869, Congress fixed the number of judge-advocates at eight, and authorized the filling of any vaeancy occurring in that number. It is noteworthy that this act was passed only about five weeks after the previous Congress bad, by the act of March 3, 1869, prohibited, until further legislation, any appointments or promotions in any of the other

On the 20 May, 1872, in reply to a letter from the Hon. John Coburn, chairman of the then Committee on Military Affairs of the House of Representatives, I addressed hin a communication setting

staff corps.

forth fully the history and duties of the Bureau of Military Justice and of the corps of judge-advocates acting under its supervision, which I beg now to make a part of my present statement, with a view of bringing the information it contains more certainly and distinctly to the notice of the committee. Said communication or report was in the words which follow.


May 2, 1872. Sor: In view of your recent suggestion that I should furnish to the committee somo particulars in regard to the history, nature, and duties of the branch of the service to which I am attached-a subject upon which I had not thought it necessary to enlarge in my former official communication-I have now the honor to present the following statement.

In the British military service the office of judge-advocate-general has existed for centuries, though originally under a somewhat different name. (See Clode's Military Forces of the Crown, vol. 2, pp. 359 to 365; Grose’s History of the British Army, vol. 1, pp. 234 to 236, and as cited infra.) At present there exists not only the oftice, but also a judge-advocate-general's department. This, according to my latest information, now consists of a judge-advocato-general and deputy judge-advocate-general-in-chief; of judge-advocates-general for the Bengal army, the Madras army, and the Bombay army, cach respectively, the foriner being also judge-advocate-general for all the forces in India ; of one deputy judge-advocate-general for Ireland, one for Barbadoes, one for China, one for Jamaica, the Babamas, and Honduras, (collectively ;) seven or eight for the Benghl and Madras armies each, and some four or five for the Bombay army.

Besides being practically the head of a military department thus constituted, the judge-advocate-general of the British ariny is regarded as an officer of such importance that he is also a member of the existing administration; that is to say, a minister of the civil government.

The American colonies, on their separation from Great Britain, in retaining and adopting, with slight changes, the British code of articles of war, engrafted also the office of judge-advocate-general upon their military organization. On July 29, 1775, a “ judge-advocate of the Army” was appointed by the Continental Congress; and on August 10, 1776, the office was newly designated as “jndge-advocate-general," and the rank of lientenant-colonel assigned to it. Subsequently its emoluments were raised to those of colonel, and the oftice was continued to the end of the revolutionary war. There were also appointed during that war certain “ deputy” judge-advocates for separate armies in the field.

At an early date after the adoption of the Constitution, viz, by the act of March 3, 1797, the office of judge-advocate of the Army was established. This office, as such. seeing to have been subsequently discontinued, and judge-advocates for the several divisions of the army to have been provided instead, the number varying from one to three for each division. (See acts of January 11, 1812; April 24, 1816; and April 14, 1818.) Later, in 1849, by the act of March 2, ch. 83, the office of judge-advocate of the Army was revived; and this act continued in operation till July 17, 1862. On that date, in chapter 201, section 5, was enacted the following:

“That the President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a Judge Advocate-General, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of a colonel of cavalry, to whose office shall be returned for revision the records and proceedings of all courtsmartial and military commissions, and where a record shall be kept of all proceedings had thereupon.”

Under this statute the present incumbent of the office of Judge- Advocate-General was appointed by President Lincoln.

Further, in 1864, by act of June 20, ch. 145, sections 5 and 6, there was established the present Bureau of Military Justice, the provisions on the subject being as follows:

“ SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That there shall be attached to, and made a part of, the War Department during the continuance of the present rebellion, a Bureau, to be known as the Bureau of Military Justice, to which shall be returned for revisions the records and proceedings of all the courts-martial, courts of inquiry, and military commissions of the Armies of the United States, and in which a record shall be kept of all proceedings had thereupon.

“SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That the President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, as the head of said Bureau, a Judge-Advocate-General, with the rank, pay, and allowances of a brigadier-general, and an assistant Judge Advocate-General, with the rank, pay, and allowances of a colonel of cavalry. And the said Juage-Advocate-General and his assistant shall receive, revise, and have re corded the proceedings of the courts-martial, courts of inquiry, and military commissions of the armies of the United States, and perforin such other duties as have heretofore been perfornied by the Judge-Advocate-General of the armies of the United States."

Lastly, on the organization of the peace establishment at the end of the war, the Bureau was retained in the service and in the War Department by the following provi. sion of the act of July 28, 1866, ch. 299.

* Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That the Bureau of Military Justice shall hereafter consist of one Judge-Advocate-General, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of a lorigadier-general, and one assistant Judge-Advocate-General, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of a colonel of cavalry; and the said Jadge-Advocate-General shall receive, revise, and have recorded the proceedings of all courts-martial, courts of inquiry, and military commissions, and shall perform such other duties as have been heretofore performed by the Judge-Advocate-General of the Army.”

Such being the origin and statutory history of the office of Judge-Advocato-General of the Army and of the Bureau of wbich he is the chief, it remains to refer to the du• ties which are and have been performed by him and in the bureau.

These duties may be enumerated under five heads: 1. The review and revisal of and reporting upon cases tried by military courts, as well as the receipt and custody of the records of the same. 2. The reporting upon applications for pardon or clemency preferred by ofticers and soldiers sentenced by court-martial. 3. The furnishing of written opinions upon questions of law, claims, &c., referred to it by the Secretary of War, or by heads of Bureans, department commanders, &c., as well as in answer to letters from officers of courts-martial and others. 4. The framing of charges, and the acting by one of its oflicers, in cases of unusual importance, as judge-advocate of military courts. 5. "The direction of the officers of the corps of judge-advocates.

From the schedule hereto annexed of the business of the Office and Bureau since the first official report called for from the Judge-Advocate-General, the number of records of trials by military courts received and reviewed at the Office and Bureau, as well as of the reports made and opinions furnished, will readily be perceived.

While the review, &c., of military records is specified in the statute law as the most konspicuous duty of the Judge-Advocate-General, this is not in fact his only important aluty. It will be noticed that the statutes of 1864 and 1866 provide that he shall also *6 perform such other duties as have heretofore been performed by the Judgo-AdvocateGeneral of the Army;" and a leading part of these duties, certainly since the establishment of the otlice in 1862, has been the preparing and furnishing of legal opinions upon

various subjects of military law and adininistration constantly arising in the War Department and the Army. A similar duty is indeed one of the functions of the corre:sponding officer in the Britishi service. Grose, (vol. 1, p. 234,) writing in 1786, says that *** The judge-marshal, by some called auditor-general, and since called judge-advocate

, was an officer skilled in the civil, municipal, and martial law.” And Chambers, a recent authority, while stating that the British Judge-Advocate-General is “the supreme judge under the mutiny act and articles of war of the proceedings of courts-martial," (a position which, of course, could not be claimed for the Judge-Advocate-General in our military system, where the office is in all respects advisory only,) goes on to add that be “is also the adviser in legal matters of the commander-in-chief and the secretary of state for war.” (And to the same effect see Clode, vol. 2, ch. xxvii.) Here, inviced, except for the comparatively brief period during which Mr. Williain Whiting acted as solicitor for the War Department, its current legal advisory business bas, as a general rule, been performed by the Judge-Advocate-General and his assistant. The need and use of an officer of this kind in this department has been the same as that experienced in the other executive branches of the public service; and the State, Treasury, Interior, and Navy Departments, and the Internal Revenue Bureau, are simply supplied with solicitors of their own.

Of the questiovs upon which opinions are given by the Judge-Advocate-General, some-often at his suggestion-are subsequently submitted to the Attorney-General; but the great mass are at once acted upon by the Secretary of War.

The nature and extent of the legal reports of the Bureau may be best perceived from the printal digest of its opinious, published by the authority of the Secretary of War. Of these opinions it may be said in brief that their main object has been to apply and uphold the principles alike of the common, statute, and military law, as applicable to the ses under consideration, and thus to secure a uniformity of interpretation and enfoement of the existing law in the military administration of the country.

Th direction of the officers of the corps of judge-advocates of the Army has been refer red to as one of the duties of the Bureau of Military Justice. This corps is no part whatever of the Bureau; but the act of 1866 provides that its members shall perform their duties under the direction of the Judge-Advocate-General.” The officers of this useful and laborious corps are eight in number. Six are on duty at six of the commanders, receive, indeed, little or no direction from the Judge-Advocate-General except as to the framing of charges or as to questions of law, upon which they apply to him for opinion and advice.

leven military department headquarters throughout the country, and two at the Bureaul. The latter assist the Judge-Advocate-General in the preparation of reports and other business of the ofiice. The former advise upou questions of law, prepare charges, review records of courts-martial, and themselves conduct the proceedings in important

The large majority being under the immediate command of the department


This corps was very largely increased during the war; and at that period there were at one time obliged to be kept on duty at the Bureau some seven or eight assistants, either judg(-1dvocates or line officers acting as such. At present, as before mentioned, the number serving at the Bureau is reduced to two. And when it is considered, as set forth in the schedule, that during the past year more than twelve thousand records of military courts were reviewed at the Bureau, and nearly one thousand special reports and opinions were furnished thereby, the statement that this is the least number of assistants by which the business can be performed will readily be accepted as reasonable. The number of clerks on duty with the Bureau has also been greatly reduced since the war, the present inadequate force, (to cite from the last annual report of the Secretary of War, page 12,) not being even “sufficient to perform the great amount of labor required to copy, on the demand of persons wbo have been tried, the voluminous proceeding of the courts-martial in their cases," to copies of which they are entitled by the 90th article of war.

It may be added here that the assistant Judge-Advocate-General is not now serving with the Bureau proper, but is, and for several years has boen, ou duty in the ottice of the Secretary of War.

These remarks will convey a general idea of the duties of the Judge-Advocate-General, and of the labor performed at the Bureau of Military Justice. In the report of the Secretary, just quoted, he speaks of “the vast ainount of work performed in that Office," and for his opinion as to the value and importance of that work, and the faithfol performance of their duties by the officers engaged in it, I would refer you to him self.

That in the performance of its already enumerated duties the Bureau has earned the approval and confidence of a large majority of the officers of the Army may be safely asserted. But while this is true it can scarcely be doubted that it has given offenseto a small class of officers, who, unwisely impatient of the restraints of law in military affairs, are of course impatient of the scrutiny to which their conduct bas been or is: liable to be subjected by this Bureau as the law-adviser of the War Department. That such officers should seek to depreciate the Bureau, and be willing for it to disappear from the military organization, will not excite surprise.

In conclusion, I have but to add that, in my opinion, the present Bureau of Military Justice, with the small corps of judge-advocates of the Army acting under its general direction, is not only an important but an essential part of the existing Army staff. Some such an establishment is certainly necessary in every civilized country that proposes to submit its military administration to the guidance and limitations of law, and which, while subjecting the officers and soldiers of its army to a strict and judicious discipline, seeks at the same time to protect them from oppressive treatment, and to secure to them the enjoyment of all the rights which remain to the citizen after he has entered the military service, thus counteracting that tendency to arbitrary action which, as its history shows, has characterized the profession of arms in varying degrees, noder all forms of government. I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Judge- Adrocate-Generai. Hon. Joux COBURN,

Chairman, 8-c., House of Representatives, IVashington, D. C.

Schedule of records of military courts receired and reriewed, and of reports and opinions pre

pared, at the office of the Judge- Advocate-(General and Bureau of Military Justice since September 1, 1862, according to the official reports.

Period of official report,

Number of

Number of reports and opinions

From September 1, 1862, to November 1, 1863..
From November 1, 1863, to March 1, 1865..
From March 1, 1865, to October 1, 1865
From October 1, 1865, to October 1, 1866
From October 1, 1866, to October 1, 1867
From October 1, 1867, to October 1, 1868
From October 1, 1868, to October 1, 1869
From October 1, 1869, to October 1, 1870
From October 1, 1870, to October 1, 1871

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145, 564


Statement of the Commissioner of Pensions as to the method of payment of



Washington, D. C., February 19, 1874. SIR: In compliance with your request, I have the honor to submit the following information, relative to the present system of paying pensions.

There are fifty-eight pension agencies in the United States, located within the same number of agency districts, whose limits are fixed by arbitrary geographical lines. These limits, with scarcely an exception, conform to State lines. The location of each of these agencies, the number of pensioners upon the rolls of each on the 30th of June last, and the amount of pensions paid at each during the past fiscal year, is shown by a tabular statement berewith attached.

The aggregate number of pensioners was 238,411. The aggregate amount disbursed was $29,185,289.62. These agencies are established and furnished, the rents paid, fuel, lights, &c., supplied, and the salary of all clerks and employés and all postal expenses defrayed, from the compensation allowed by existing laws, to the pension agent. This compensation is provided by the acts of July 17, 1862, June 30, 1864, and section 4, act of July 8, 1870. (The amount paid to each individual who has served as pension agent since March 4, 1869, may be found in a report made by the Secretary of the Interior to the House of Repre. sentatives, on the 28th ultimo, which has been printed. Ex. Doc. No. 97.)

The amount allowed to any one agent, under the two first-mentioned acts, varies from $115 to $4,000 annually, the latter sum being the maxi. mum. The excess above this limited compensation is derived from fees for preparing and executing vouchers, which, by the act of July 8, 1870, were fixed at 30 cents for each voucher prepared and paid.

Pensioners may be paid four times a year. If all were paid, the aggre. gate amount of fees for preparing and paying (238,411 X 4) 953,614 vouchers, would be $286,093.20 ; but as many pensioners do not apply for pension every quarter, the maximum is never reached. The actual ag. gregate amount of compensation from this source during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1873, was $254,803.87.

As all the expenses of these agencies are borne by the agent, it is presumed that they are conducted in the most economical manner,

and that the most useful and the least possible number of clerks are employed, and the greatest number of hours of service obtained. This Office has not the information before it to enable it to give a statistical report upon these points, but it is believed that during the pay months the number of clerks employed will average one to every thousand pensioners, (238,) and it is known that during the pressure of payments the hours of labor have exceeded twelve per day.

At all agencies is kept a permanent roll, durably bound, of all pen. sioners residing within its geographical limits, arranged alphabetically by classes, sexes, and in some cases by acts. Upon this roll are entered all new pensions and all new allowances to old pensioners, all reductions, suspensions, deaths, remarriages, transfers, variations of rate, all orders affecting the status of every pensioner, and the post-office address of each. The agent must, from necessity, keep his roll carefully corrected up to date, as he is responsible under his bond for any errors of payment that may occur from neglect.

Upon the issuance of a pension-certificate from this Office, it is sent to

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