from The Worcester Spy, July 6, 1864, (Volume 93 # 27), 

Mode of survivor-in- law Applying for Deceased Soldiers Arrears in Pay, Bounty, &c. I ask permission to give through your columns information which may prove advantageous to claimants of pay and allowances due to deceased soldiers. The proper way is to make application of the second auditor of the treasury, who has always been desirous of extending every facility and encouragement to the poor widows, mothers and orphans. By applying directly to the office they may save the large percentage which some are daily paying to attorneys and agents, to whom the second auditor gives no encouragement whatsoever.

The application must be made to “Hon. E. B. French, second auditor, Washington D. C.” and in all cases post paid, and he will, on receiving the letter from the claimant, send the necessary blanks and instructions how to” fill them up,” ect., and such is his determination to assist those who give the required evidence of their relationship (which entitles his attention ) to receive the claim.   But to agents he will not give any blanks. 

In order that Mr. French may decide who is the proper person, the letter must give the nearest survivor-in-law, and he, she, or they should make the applications— as, 1st. widow; 2d, children, collective, (if minors by guardian ), 3d, father ( if a fit person-- not a drunken or otherwise unworthy of trust),  then mother in his stead.;  4th, mother;  5th, brothers and sisters, collectively;  6th, next nearest relatives or heirs, by executors or administrators. The bounty will not be paid to any representatives below the second degree (children), unless resident of the United States. Neither will bounty be paid on the will of the deceased.

If the applicant is not the proper person the auditor will send word to that effect., and at the same time indicating which of the relatives is. On return of blanks before mentioned, they are filed away in their proper order with those of the same state, and settlement will be made in order of date of each.

Much has been said about the delay and complicated routine which a person has to go through in order to accomplish the desired end. Let us examine in detail.

Soldiers are intended to be paid every two months, If living they are paid promptly, and in many instances they are overpaid. The government holds the paymaster responsible, and he looks to the soldier, if living, when he goes to pay him again; if dead he orders so much stopped against his representatives.

This is noted upon the pay roll, and it has to be examined into before such applications are replied to, with necessary blanks and instructions, which cause, necessarily delay. Then very often death occurs in some military hospital, when it becomes the duty of the surgeon to notify the regiment he belongs to. This is put upon the muster roll, and if it is delayed it goes over until two months, which causes delay.

Then, again, the paymaster has allowed to him two months to make up his pay roll, a month to report to the paymaster general’s office, one month is allowed in that office, so it takes from six ( 6 ) to eight (8) months before they reach the second auditors office, which is abundantly necessary.

But many say it is from one to two years before they are attended to, and I reply to that. In the beginning of the rebellion every department was inadequate to discharge its natural functions, which of course left the accumulation of work on hand. room was not sufficient, clerks were not sufficiently skilled, and were under many such disadvantages. Mr. French, has at least, met the natural increase of work, with a skillful and competent force, and is gradually alleviating the trouble he was compelled to meet in a state of chaos, and has, at least, assigned each one his duty, and made one of the best branch's under Secretary Chase.

I have heard some say that there was considerable favoritism toward some claimants to the disadvantage of others, and I am authorized to state that since Mr. French took his place as chief of the second auditor of the treasury department, there has never a single instance of the kind transpired in the office. Wait patiently your time, and I am sure Mr. French will avail himself of every benefit subject to his action for your advantage.


15th Massachusetts VI