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told that he generally remained in Columbus, four miles distant. On the next to the last day of my stay, in consequence of some complaint made by me about the quality of the rations, a special inquiry was made for him, and, as I understand, a telegram found him in Cincinnati. The only person representing him was a citizen clerk, and even he was not present at the issues which I saw made. They seemed entirely under the control of the weighers, who were rough, uneducated men. The “tare” in all the issues which I saw was guessed at and not in a solitary instance was a containing package, box or barrel separately weighed that I saw with the object of ascertaining its weight. The clerk before mentioned did not appear to be at all a responsible party in this absence of Captain Walker, and when I questioned him about the quality of the provisions seemed only anxious to convince me that they were quite equal to those called for.
When I arrived at Camp Chase the necks” of the beef had been I was told habitually issued and, as the contractor himself said in my presence, the “shank” to just below the knee of the beef. When I made by your orders my second visit to Columbus I arrived there on Tuesday, and it was not until the following Sunday that I was able to see Captain Walker, the assistant commissary; nor was he at the camp during this time, I am quite well convinced. In these intervals of his absence the entire business was managed, so far as I was able to learn, by the clerk before mentioned and the contractor, who seemed very often present. During all of this time the assistant commissary was absent without leave from the commanding officer. I inclose from the commanding officer a note relative to his habitual absence. It is marked A. It is not until your order requiring him to live at Camp Chase that he has done so.
Secondly, I assert that he is either willfully neglectful of the quality of the provisions furnished under the contract or grossly ignorant of what should be required. Upon my personal inspection of the stores in my judgment they were precisely as follows and I have had much experience in the commissary department: The salt pork was very soft and some of that issued and received for the prisoners at the prisons was in my opinion unfit for use. The bread is heavy, dark and often considerably sour. The flour is all or nearly all third-rate and secondrate. I saw none first quality and I have often inspected the commissary store-houses. The bacon of an inferior quality; the sugar thirdclass brown sugar; the coffee a miserable Rio; the rice very inferior; the soap very much poorer than the yellow bar soap commonly issued; the molasses and potatoes exceedingly bad; the salt "rock salt;" the beef -; candles quite good but not “first quality.” The beans have been reported to me as bad. I have not seen them, as until very recently I have been informed at the commissary department that none were on hand. As additional proof that the articles are inferior I refer you to the frequent complaints made by the troops and prisoners and to the inclosed minority report of the volunteer officer chosen as a referee in one of the cases of disagreement as to quality. You will, how. ever, doubtless observe that the third referee, chosen by the two first, and whose decision is final, is a citizen, and that the articles are declared to be “merchantable.” This paper is marked B. More than three weeks since I desired the commanding officer to write to the Commissary-General for a decision as to what was meant by “first quality," as the contractors insisted and constantly contended that their provisions fully came up to what was meant and insisted that they were quite as good as elsewhere furnished. The reply stated that a good quality of
brown sugar and prime Rio coffee should be furnished and referred the commanding officer to another commissary of subsistence in Cincinnati, I believe, Maj. C. L. Kilburn, assistant commissary of subsistence, for more complete instructions. As yet the commanding officer has not taken the proper steps to rectify so important a matter or write to Major Kilburn for instructions, though I have several times spoken of it, and I think that he will not do so effectually even should he attempt it from want of experience. As for the assistant commissary, Captain Walker, he of course will take no steps for that purpose, as you will see from his own opinion in the statement by him marked C; that he considers them--the stores—all good enough. I have twice spoken to the commanding officer requesting that the Commissary.General's instructions should not be delayed, but as yet they have been unattended to. I have no authority to require this peremptorily and can only report the facts to you that some means be adopted to prevent such a combination of ignorance (or gross carelessness) and non-compliance with the contract from being longer successfully carried out.
Thirdly, I assert that the post commissary, Captain Walker, neglects bis duty and the interest of the Government by weighing out and issuing himself instead of forcing this labor upon the contractors. The contract requires that the contractors "shall cause to be issued" all the rations, and of course all that Captain Walker should do is to present to them at each issue a list of the articles and the quantity of each which may be required. These should be weighed and delivered to him by the contractors and they should pay the employés who are almost constantly occupied with this duty. Instead, however, Captain Walker relieves the contractors of all this labor and expense by hiring and paying at the expense of the Government for this labor.
Fourthly, I charge Captain Walker with throwing upon the Govern. ment all the labor and expense of stowage and care of a large quantity of commissary stores, and that by the manner in which he receives them from the contractors he renders the Government liable for all risk of losses by fire or otherwise when such risks should be borne by the contractors alone. For if the contractors are responsible for supplying and issuing the ratiops whenever called for as rations, as they unquestionably are by terms of the contract, then it follows that Captain Walker, and through him the Government, should run no risks of any kind beyond what may occur to the quantity of rations called for by him at each particular issue, and these are immediately turned over (or should be) to the troops. And if this manner were adopted all labor and expense of stowage and all risks from fire would be thrown upon the contractors, where it should be. Instead of this, however, you will see from the papers from Captain Walker marked D* and E* that he is in the habit of receiving a large amount of provisions in bulk” from the contractors at a single time; that he assumes the immediate responsibility for these provisions; that he stores and cares for them at the expense of the Government and by Government labor, and that by his assuming the responsibility for them that the Government runs all risks with them and on them, whereas all this is or should be none of its affair, for it cannot matter to the Government whether they are stored, or how, or where, or by whom, so that the contractors weigh out and deliver on the day on which Captain Walker presents his returns for provisions the particular amount called for by bim for that issue.
* Not found.
Fifthly, I charge Captain Walker with allowing and charging to the Government and crediting and paying to the contractors every month a large wastage on provisions issued by him. This wastage is included in the quantity of commissary stores credited on his monthly return as having been received from the contractors in each month, and it is wrongly and highly unjustly charged to the Government and paid for to the contractors, inasmuch as Captain Walker makes it a part of the aggregate amount of the stores with which the contractors are each month credited. If the rations were delivered to Captain Walker as provided for by the contract no wastage could possibly occur, inasmuch as he would not receive them until each issue, and then in only the quantity necessary for that particular issue, and they would be immediately turned over to the troops for their consumption. In the paper marked F you will see to what an enormous amount this wastage is charged to the Government in a single month, when instead of the Government paying them (the contractors) for it the whole loss should fall on them.
In conclusion I have to state that I have called the attention of Capt. B. P. Walker to that point of the contract requiring these issues to be made by the contractors, and by which all such items of expense would be saved to the Government, and that instead of requiring this of them he has stated to me that this was not the intention of the contract, and has used every means to prevent the inquiries being answered which I first addressed to him, and was finally obliged to place before him in a categorical manner by means of the commanding officer. With highest respect, I am, colonel, your obedient servant,
H. M. LAZELLE,
[Sub inclosure A.]
HEADQUARTERS, Camp Chase, July 27, 1862. Captain LAZELLE:
In reply to your inquiries in regard to Captain Walker, post commissary, I must say Captain Walker may be here, and probably is, some days when I do not know it. I think he has been here but three times within the last two weeks, being on three successive days. He stays at the commissary department when here and is present at some of the issues. He is absent three-fourths of the time. He has never asked or obtained my authority. I am, truly, yours,
C. W. B. ALLISON,
Colonel, Commanding Post. [Sub-inclosure B.)
COLUMBUS, OHIO, July 14, 1862. We, the undersigned, being appointed to inspect provisions issued for rations at Camp Chase, Ohio, have, according to the best of our ability, performed said duty and pronounce said articles good, mer. chantable and wholesome goods. The beef we did not inspect owing to there being none on hand on this day. That is to be examined at some future day.
E. E. SHEDD,
0. H. LATTIMER. THE STATE OF OHIO, Franklin County, ss :
Before me, J. Krouenbitter, a justice of the peace in and for said county, personally appeared E. E. Shedd, O. H. Lattimer, and (W. W.]
Mason, above named, and made solemn oath that the above is a true and correct statement to the best of their knowledge. Sworn to and subscribed before me this 15th day of July, 1862.
Justice of the Peace.
CAMP CHASE, July 16, 1862. Having per order examined commissary stores at Camp Chase I do find them not as good as called for in the contract; no article above second rate. Bacon, sugar and molasses are poor articles, of the lowest grade.
W. W. MASON,
THE STATE OF OHIO, Franklin County, ss :
Before me, a justice of the peace within and for the said county, personally appeared Lieut. W. W. Mason, who being duly sworn on his solemn oath says that the foregoing statement, to which his signature is appended, is true as he verily believes. Given under my hand the 17th day of July, 1862.
J. W. MILLER,
Justice of the Peace.
OFFICE OF COMMISSARY OF SUBSISTENCE,
Camp Chase, Ohio, July 28, 1862. Captain LAZELLE, Assistant Commissary-General of Prisoners : The ration issued at this post consists of each and
every article and of such quantities as provided by the regulations. The quality of the articles constituting the ration I consider fully equal to the standard of the ration now being issued to troops of the U.S. Army elsewhere. This opinion is based upon examination and comparison of articles issued elsewhere with the articles of like character now being issued by me, and also the opinion of officers of long experience who have acted as commissaries of subsistence in the U.S. Army. Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
B. P. WALKER, Captain and Commissary of Subsistence.
Amount of wastage (ordinary) on issues as reported by Capt. B. P. Walker, assistant commissary of subsistence, and copied from his "monthly return of provisions received, issued and remaining on hand for the month of June, 1862:”
Two barrels, 170 pounds, of pork; 692 pounds of bacon; 1,157 pounds and 2 ounces of flour; 142 pounds of hard bread; 32 pounds and 10 ounces of rice; 24 pounds and 7 ounces of green coffee; 56 pounds and 11 ounces of roasted coffee; 9 ounces of tea; 485 pounds and 4 ounces of brown sugar; 7 pounds and 4 ounces of adamantine candles; 46 pounds and 7 ounces of soap; 1 quart and 6 gills of molasses.
I certify that the above is a true copy of the amount of “wastage” for the month designated as reported by Captain Walker.
H. M. LAZELLE, Captain, Eighth Infantry, U. $. Army.
(Inclosure No. 2.)
Articles of agreement made and entered into this 9th day of June,
anno Domini 1862, between Capt. Benjamin P. Walker, an officer of the U. S. Army, of the one part, and Jacob and Louis Zettler, of the county of Franklin, and the State of Ohio, of the other part.
This agreement witnesseth that the said Benjamin P. Walker for and on behalf of the United States of America, and the said Jacob and Louis Zettler, heirs, executors and administrators, have covenanted and agreed, and by these presents do mutually covenant and agree, to and with each other as follows, namely:
First. That the said Jacob and Louis Zettler, heirs, executors and administrators, shall supply or cause to be supplied and issued at Camp Chase, Ohio, all the rations, to consist of the articles hereinafter speci. fied that shall be required for the use of the U. S. troops stationed at the place aforesaid, commencing on the 15th day of June, 1862, and ending on the 1st day of November, 1862, or such earlier day as the Commissary-General may direct, at the price of 124 cents for each complete ration.
Second. That the ration to be furnished by virtue of this contract shall consist of the following articles, viz: Three-fourths of pound of pork or bacon, or one and one-fourth pounds of fresh or salt beet; twenty-two ounces of bread or four, or one pound of hard bread, or one and one-fourth pounds of corn-meal; and at the rate to every 100 rations, eight quarts of beans or pease and ten pounds of rice or hominy; ten pounds of green coffee, or eight pounds of roasted and ground coffee, or one and one-half pounds of tea; fifteen pounds of sugar; four quarts of vinegar; one pound of sperm candles, or one and onefourth pounds of adamantine candles, or one and one-half pounds of tallow candles; four pounds of soap and two quarts of salt.
In addition to the foregoing, twice per week, one gallon of molasses for 100 rations, and thrice per week potatoes at the rate of one pound per man.
Third. That fresh beef shall be issued at least twice in each week, and oftener if required by the commanding officer.
Fourth. It is clearly understood that the provisions stipulated to be furnished and delivered under this contract shall be of the first quality.
Fifth. Should any difficulty arise respecting the quality of provisions stipulated to be delivered under this contract, then the commanding officer is to appoint a disinterested person to meet one of the same description to be appointed by the contractor. These two thus appointed shall have power to decide upon the quality of the provisions, but should they disagree a third person is to be chosen by the two already appointed, the whole to act under oath, and the opinion of the majority shall be final in the case.
Sixth. No member of Congress shall be admitted to any share herein or any benefit to arise therefrom.
In witness whereof the undersigned have placed their hands and seals the day and date above written.
JACOB ZETTLER. SEAL.]
CAPT. B. P. WALKER. SEAL.] Witness: