Page images
PDF
EPUB

(Inclosure No. 3.) GENERAL ORDERS, WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE, No. 136.

Washington, September 22, 1862.

[ocr errors][merged small]

II, By direction of the President, Capt. Benjamin P. Walker, commissary of subsistence, volunteer service, is hereby dismissed for habitual absence from his post and gross and willful neglect of duty. By order of the Secretary of War:

E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant- General.

(Inclosure No. 4.]

CHICAGO, ILL., October 9, 1862. His Excellency President LINCOLN:

Why was Capt. B. P. Walker dismissed from service? Who preferred charges against him? You have been imposed upon, for the dismissal is great injustice. John H. Bradley, of Columbus, Ohio, will furnish you facts. Pray reconsider action.

SCHUYLER COLFAX. (Inclosure No. 5.]

COLUMBUS, Ohio, November 1862. His Excellency Hon. ABRAHAM LINCOLN,

President of the United States. SIR: On the 7th day of September, 1861, you appointed and on the 21st day of February, 1862, commissioned me commissary of subsistence, volunteer service. I was assigned to duty at Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio, and entered upon my duty and have performed it from the 16th day of October, 1861, until the 1st day of October, 1862, and always with a full understanding of what I was doing, and so far as I have ever known with a full sanction of the Commissary-General of the department. On the 10th day of October, 1862, I received your order dismissing me from the service for the following causes: Habitual absence from his post and gross and willful neglect of duty.

I distinctly and emphatically state to you that those charges are false; that they have not even the color of truth, and I submit to you the accompanying evidence of the truth of what I allege. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,

B. P. WALKER. [Sub-inclosure.]

COLUMBUS, Ohio, November 1862. Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D, C.

DEAR SIR: I take the liberty of submitting for your consideration the following answer to certain charges preferred against me as assistant commissary of subsistence at Camp Chase, Ohio, embodied in a report made by Capt. H. M. Lazelle to Col. William Hoffman, commissary-general for prisoners. These charges are of a very grave character; enough so to cause my dismissal from service. His first charge is based upon what he terms a perversion of a contract for supplying complete rations by Jacob and Louis Zettler, by stating that the fourth article of same provides that all stores furnished under it sball be of the first quality. The first article stipulates that the supplies

shall be delivered as rations and be issued as they may be required. In answer to this part of his charges I should say that the contract for the supply of complete rations at Camp Chase and referred to by him bears date June 9, 1862, and was made by me in accordance with instructions from Col. J. P. Taylor, Commissary-General, a copy of which you will find marked A. On receipt of Colonel Taylor's instructions I advertised for bids to furnish complete rations to be delivered at the commissary department at Camp Chase, Ohio, at such times as may be required. The award was made to J. and L. Zettler at 124 cents per ration, and a written contract entered into between myself, on the part of the Government, and said Zettlers for themselves, heirs, &c., in accordance with my advertisement, a copy of which you will find, marked B.

It will doubtless be observed by you, and is so set forth in the charges, that there is a discrepancy between my advertisement and their contract as written. The word issue appears among the obligations on the part of the contractor. At the commencement of Camp Chase the then contractor for supplying rations erected at bis own expense a large warehouse to hold his provisions, and this house has been owned and occupied by each succeeding contractor for such purpose. It was at this place Captain Lazelle so frequently met the contractor, and where he saw the large amount of provisions which he supposed were kept at Government expense and risk, which, unfortunately for me, he mistook for the commissary department. The word issue as embodied in the contract was distinctly understood by every man who bid for this contract to mean that the contractor was to keep constantly on hand in this warehouse a large amount of stores at his own expense and risk, and to issue from thence to me each day such quantities as might be required for the troops, and I assert that at no time was there any amount of stores in my care or store house three hours after receiving them from contractor, as I never drew more than I immediately issued out to troops. As for truth of this I refer you to affidavit* of Messrs. Zettler, the contractors.

As to the quality of the rations furnished Captain Lazelle is what he represents me to be, grossly ignorant, or he maliciously misrepresents the case. The flour he brands second and third rates was superfine, and the quality made at same mill and from same wheat commanded the highest price in Columbus and New York City. I refer you to affidavit* of Thomas Jones, who manufactured it. The bread was all made from this tlour; was white, light and sweet, and of which I never heard any complaint. The pork and bacon was first quality, made from young, corn-fed hogs. Sugar, first quality of brown sugar; coffee, prime Rio; rice and soap good; potatoes as good as the country afforded; molasses, first quality; salt, best quality Hosking. Not one ounce of rock salt was ever issued from my department. Beans were very scarce; when issued were of best quality, and when they could not be obtained the substitute was perfectly acceptable to the soldiers. In relation to the personal examination Captain Lazelle says he made of the stores I most positively assert that he never handled a single article in my department or removed the gloves from his hands.

As to the frequent complaints mentioned by Captain Lazelle there never were any during the existence of the contract except the one raised by himself and the one in which Lieutenant Mason acted as one of the referees mentioned by Captain Lazelle. There is nothing in the contract that says the referees shall be officers of the Army, but states

* Not found,

distinctly that they shall be disinterested men such as the commanding officer of the post and the contractor may select and could not possibly have any influence or control in the investigation. As to his charge of subjecting the Government to heavy expense in weighing out and issuing rations I have already stated that the word issue in the contract meant just what my advertisement said, the delivery of such stores in bulk as I wished to issue from day to day and nothing

more.

As to assertion numbered by him four I have clearly shown that all the stores ever in my possession at one time were simply for that day's issue and that the large amount of stores seen by Captain Lazelle were in the hands of the contractor in his own house and kept at his own expense and risk and my statement in the papers,* marked by him D and E, meant this and nothing more. The tare was never guessed at. The cases were invariably weighed and deducted from gross amount. As to the issuing of necks and shanks it was never done. See affidavits * of White and Rusk. As to his charge of absence from duty, either with or without leave, [it] is absolutely false and in evidence refer you to statement* of W. J. Holmes, military secretary of the post.

As to the complaint of wastage it was well known to Captain Lazelle that Camp Chase was a camp for recruiting, a depot for prisoners, a camp of rendezvous for paroled and furloughed soldiers, and that at the very time he was there these different classes were arriving in squads of from two to fifty every day and that all had to be furnished with rations. How then could I or any other officer receive pork or any stores in barrel or package at one draft and then weigh out in fifty drafts avoid wastage, and very nearly all the wastage complained of occurred in this way, and notwithstanding this mode of issuing the loss on no single article has exceeded the loss allowed by the Army Regu. lations.

In conclusion permit me to assert that in making contract for sub. sistence stores I did so by order of the Commissary-General. A copy of the advertisements for bids and the contract were always sent to him and in no case did he ever make complaint of my manner of conducting my department nor give me orders to change it. Also that during almost my entire service at Camp Chase there were more or less prisoners and that Colonel Hoffman frequently visited the camp and I have no recollection of his ever being in camp that he did not visit my department, examine stores, see the issues and in no instance ever expressed himself other than well pleased. Also that during Captain Lazelle's first visit to camp I saw him frequently about camp and was told he had something to do with prisoners but have no recollection of his being in my department. He may have been there, and I (not] noticed him, as he always came in citizen's dress, and there was nothing to distinguish him from any other visitor. On his second visit I met him, gave him all the information in my power, and repeatedly told him that any orders he might give in relation to prisoners would be cheerfully obeyed by me.

I also assert that the quality of rations issued at Camp Chase was as good and at as low rates as those issued at any other point in the Government. I also assert that the charges made by him, as they will themselves show, are nearly all made up from hearsay and not from personal knowledge, and that in a camp of 5,000 or 6,000 soldiers (one) can hear complaints against every officer of the Government from the

* Not found.

President down. As to the character and standing of the men who write and testify in my behalf I refer you to Brig. Gen. C. P. Buckingham.

B. P. WALKER, (Sub-inclosure A.] OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF SUBSISTENCE,

Washington, May 21, 1862. Capt. B. P. WALKER,

Commissary of Subsistence, Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio. CAPTAIN: In reply to yours of the 18th instant you will, if troops are to be subsisted at Camp Chase after the expiration of the present contract, advertise for proposals for complete rations and enter into a contract. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. P. TAYLOR, Commissary-General of Subsistence.

[Sub-inclosuro B.] To Contractors :

Bids will be received until 12 m. on Saturday, the 7th day of June, 1862, from first hands and from citizens loyal to the Government of the United States only for supplying "complete rations,” to be delivered at the commissary department at Camp Chase, Ohio, at such times as may be required, commencing on the 15th day of June and to continue until the 1st day of November, 1862. The ration to be furnished to consist of the following articles, viz: Three-fourths of a pound of pork or bacon, or one and one-fourth pounds of fresh or salt beef; twentytwo ounces of bread or flour, 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 one fourth 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 per 100 rations, aud thrice per week potatoes at the rate of one pound per man.

The provisions are to be of the first quality and to be delivered in packages suitable for transportation when required. Bids will be for so much per ration and will be sent to my address, Box 433, Columbus, Ohio, indorsed, Proposals.

Each bid must be accompanied by the names of at least three responsible parties who will become sureties for the faithful performance of the contract.

B. P. WALKER,

Captain and Commissary of Subsistence. CAMP CHASE, OHIO, May 30, 1862.

IN THE FIELD, Lexington, Mo., November 4, 1862. Maj. Gen. S. R. CURTIS, Commanding, Saint Louis, Mo.

GENERAL: I design leaving here for Independence to-morrow. I have been detained here much longer than I expected to be on my arrival. The inhabitants of the country are generally disloyal and a

large majority of them are actively so. They are fierce, overbearing, defiant and insulting, whilst the Union spirit is cowed and disposed to be submissive. There is no earthly hope for peace in this portion of the State until a separation is effected. With a view to this end I have caused the disloyalists to be arrested and held in close custody. The milder prisoners I hāve allowed to give their parole to leave the State in ten days not to return. Many are availing themselves of this privi. lege. The others must be sent out of the State and held in custody until the close of the war, or at least until society is so far reconstructed here as to allow the courts to be held and civil rights to be enforced. Another reason that has induced me to have these disloyal persons arrested is to break up the social relations here. “Good society," as it is termed, is exclusively rebel. Another motive is that the traders, merchants and bankers who transact the business of the country are all traitors. Out of the monopolies secured to them by the employment of their competitors, who are loyal in the military services in suppressing the troubles that these traitors incite, they are making large for. tunes as the reward of their disloyalty, and they have the bad taste to laugh at honest patriots for serving so faithfully a Government that discriminates against them so fearfully. It requires a high and noble patriotism that can bear the comparison. The business of the country inust be conducted by loyal men only, and loyal men only must be left here to transact it." Regulations of trade which have no stronger guards than oaths and bonds will not exclude rebels from embarking in the trade of the country that promises a profit. I think nineteen out of every twenty of the traders in stock who supply the Government from this part of the country are disloyal, and it is through such channels that such bands as Quantrill's find a market for their stolen property.

I have had scouts out almost daily in every direction for the last ten days and I think I have driven the bushwhackers from the country, but they will return immediately. It is much easier to catch with your hands a rat in a warehouse filled with a thousand flour barrels than it is to catch a band of guerrillas when almost every man, woman and child are their spies, pickets or couriers. There are some 200 held as prisoners on the general charge of disloyalty. They are generally actively disloyal. The remainder of the disloyal inhabitants I propose to have brought in as rapidly as possible. In Jackson, Cass, Johnson and Saline the same course will be pursued until none but loyal citizens will be allowed to remain at large in these counties. Among the prisoners captured are some notoriously bad characters; others of like stamp have fled the country precipitately. If you would direct the transfer of the worst of these prisoners to some depot for prisoners the effect would be most beneficial. I am in hopes that within thirty days . I shall be able to report all quiet on the frontier.

To-day I have directed that Vincent Marmaduke, a disloyal member of the State convention, be permitted to give his parole to leave the State within ten days and not return. Sample Orr, another disloyal member of the convention and register of lands in Jefferson, whom I had confined for uttering disloyal sentiments in delivering a speech at Jefferson, was released by order of Governor Gamble. Whilst gentlemen who occupy high official positions are allowed to preach treason in the State capital it will require the most active, zealous and energetic action on the part of the loyal troops to preserve law and order. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BEN, LOAN, Brigadier-General, Missouri State Militia.

« PreviousContinue »