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CHAPTER VIII.

NAVY CLAIMS.

ARREARS OF PAY.

ARREARS of pay due to deceased officers, sailors, marines, and others employed in the navy of the United States, will be audited, settled, and paid by the Fourth Auditor of the Treasury Department.

Instructions as to the manner of obtaining a settlement are contained in the circular of Hobart Berrian, Esq., the late efficient Fourth Auditor, which will be found on

page 134.

The form of procedure differs in one respect from that which prevails in the Second Auditor's office, viz., the Fourth Auditor requires letters of administration to be taken out, in all cases where the amount due exceeds the sum of one hundred dollars.

Where the amount is under one hundred dollars, it can be obtained by the person entitled thereto, by making uso of the forms prescribed heretofore for applications for army pay and bounty.

The proper course to pursue, is to write to the Fourth Auditor, to know the amount due, which information will be promptly given. Upon ascertaining the amount, if it be over one hundred dollars, letters of administration must be obtained by the person entitled to receive the same, and application made as in the case of army pay and bounty. The forms prescribed for such applications can be easily modified to suit these cases.

Letters of administration must be granted to heirs or to some person with the consent of heirs. IIeirship or consent should be inserted in the letters of administration, but proof should also be furnished, with the application, as in army cases.

When a vessel is lost at sea, the papers from which the accounts of those on board of her are made up, are usually lost with her. In such cases the claim cannot be settled until an act of Congress is passed fixing a date from which the accounts of the men are made up. It is usual in such cases for Congress to add to the pay a gratuity to the representatives of the lost men, which is usually made to be equal to one year's pay.*

With the modifications above mentioned, all that has been written concerning army claims, may be applied to claims for pay, &c., arising out of the naval service.

NAVAL PENSIONS.

As will be seen, the act of Congress of July 14th, 1862, provides for pensions to officers and men of the

navy,

and their relatives, in the same manner as for the army. The Pension Office, which is a bureau of the Department of the Interior, has charge of both; and the rules which govern naval pensions are identical with those in army cases.

The rates of pensions for full disability, to invalids of the navy, and, in case of death, to those relatives entitled to the same, are as follows:

See cases of Levant, Cumberland, Congress, Monitor, and others, in several acts of Thirty-seventh Congress.

Per Month Captain, Commander, Surgeon, Paymaster, and Chief Engineers respect

ively ranking with commander by law, lieutenant commanding and
master commanding.....

... $30 00 Lieutenant, Surgeon, Paymaster, and Chief Engineers respectively rank

ing with lieutenant by law, and passed assistant surgeon.. ... 25 00 Professor of Mathematics, Master, Assistant Surgeon, Assistant Paymaster, and Chaplain....

20 00) First Assistant Engineers and Pilots.....

15 00 Passed Midshipmen, Midshipmen, Captain's and Paymaster's Clerk, sec

ond and third Assistant Engineer, Master's Mate, and all warrant of-
ficers.

10 00 All petty officers, musicians, seamen, ordinary seamen, flotilla men, marines, clerks, and landsmen...

8 00

In former acts of Congress granting naval pensions, distinctions were made between such claims and claims for army pensions. The act of 1862 levels all distinctions, and the principles which govern are now the same in both cases. The Secretary of the Interior, in his report to Congress, December, 1863, says:

“ The act of 1862 does not, in direct terms, exclude from its benefits the widow or other designated relatives of persons who, after their resignation or discharge, shall die of wounds received or diseases contracted in the naval service, and in the line of duty, nor does it determine the amount of pension by the monthly pay of the deceased at the time of his death. The latter provision would seem to require that the connection of the deceased with the service should subsist until his death. By the uniform practice of the Pension Bureau, under the existing act, a military pension was granted to the relatives of the party, without regard to the time of his death, if the claim, in other respects, was free from objection. Uniformity in the administration of the act is desirable, and a settled interpretation of it should be adhered to, unless it be manifestly wrong. Although, in the former legislation of Congress, military and naval pensions were granted under separate and independent enactments, both classes of pensions are provided for and

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placed upon the same footing by the act under consideration. No distinction is made between the two branches of the service. I could not sanction a decision making such a distinction, and I was satisfied that the action of the Pension Bureau, in regard to military pensions, was amply justified by the spirit, and not in violation of the letter of the statute.

“ The effects and consequences of the opposite construction are worthy of attention. According to it, no provision is made for the bereaved, and often necessitous and helpless, family of a deceased party, who has received a mortal wound or contracted a fatal disease in the line of duty, if his death occurred after the expiration of the period of his service. Had the wound or disease inflicted a disability, it is clear that, had he survived it, he would have been entitled to å pension proportioned to such disability.

The pension would not commence in any event until after his discharge. Should the disabled and discharged soldier or seaman die after receiving his pension, or before establishing his claim to it, his relatives would be excluded from the bounty of Congress, although it could be shown by indisputable proofs that his death was the direct and inevitable result of a wound received on the field or the deck from the enemies of his country.

“ It seemed to me to be more in accordance with the legislative intention to hold that the death of a party after his resignation or discharge would not be fatal to the claim of his widow or relatives to a pension. Should I have erred in this view, Congress can apply the appropriate corrective in regard to future cases.

“I would advise, however, that some limit should be fixed by law, within which the death should occur, to entitle the beneficiaries named in the second and the following sections of the act to the benefit of its provisions." *

See page 80.

PRIZE MONEY.

The mode of distribution of prize money has been altered by recent legislation. Formerly it was paid to persons entitled thereto, whether in the service or not, by the navy agent at Washington. Now prize money is credited to persons in the service, and paid to them by their regular paymaster, in the same manner as their wages. Persons who have left the service are paid by the Fourth Auditor of the Treasury, on application in the proper manner. Heirs of persons who have died without having collected their prize money, can obtain it from the same officer.

When a prize is taken, all vessels within signal distance at the time of the capture, are entitled to share in the distribution. The prize commissioners of the port where the captured vessel is sent for adjudication decide any questions that may arise as to what vessels are entitled to share. It is highly expedient for the officers of vessels claiming to share in any capture, to engage counsel to attend the hear. ing before the commissioners, and see that the claims of their vessel receive due consideration.*

The admiral or commanding officer of a fleet or squadron is entitled to one-twentieth of all captures made by ves

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* See act of Congress, July 17th, 1862. There is now no counsel for captors, and it is very necessary that they should be represented in the prize court by counsel. The commanding officer of a vessel taking a prize, should send by the prize master a letter of retainer, authorizing counsel to appear. The letter may be as follows:

U.S. SHIP MACEDON, June 16th, 1863. We, the undersigned, do hereby appoint J. C. F. Smidt, Esq., of New York, our attorney, to take charge of and attend to our interests in the matter of the capture of the “Empress," and to appear for us in all matters of litigation thereto, and we consent to his receiving the same costs or fee therefor, to which any counsel appointed by the Court or the Secretary of the Navy would be legally entitled, if such counsel had appeared instead of the said J. C. F. Smidt.

To be signed by all the officers and crew, or so many of them as wish their interests to be represented by counsel.

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