Monday, February 11, 2013

February 12, 1863 (Thursday): "There is a screw loose..."

Paymaster General Timothy Andrews
Murfreesborough, Tenn., February 12, 1863 - 12 p. m.
Honorable E. M. STANTON:
    The Acting Paymaster-General is trying to take away Major Larned from his necessary duties here. I have no hesitation in saying that it is time the public service ceased to suffer from such whimsical or worse management. There is a screw loose somewhere. Will forward an official statement of more length. My army ought to be paid off while the roads are bad, and I want Major Larned here with all his force. Please order the Acting Paymaster-General not to interfere with this necessary work.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 23, Part 2, Page 60.

The Union armies frequently had problems getting paid in the western theater.  A general inquiring of the Secretary of War about the services of a major, shows the importance field commanders attached to payroll issues.  Eventually Lincoln would write Rosecrans to explain the reasons behind taking away Larned; "There is powerful temptation in money; and it was and is believed that nothing can prevent the Pay-Masters speculating upon the soldiers, but a system by which each is to pay certain regiments so soon after he has notice that he is to pay those particular regiments that he has no time or opportunity to lay plans for speculating upon them."

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