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THE annual report of the Commissioner of Pensions shows that on June 30, 1891, there were 676,160 pensioners borne on the rolls of the bureau, being 138,216 more than were carried on the rolls at the close of the last fiscal year. These include: Widows and daughters of revolutionary soldiers, 23; army invalid pensioners, 413,597; army widows, minor children, etc., 108,537; navy invalid pensioners, 5,449; navy widows, minor children, etc., 2,568; survivors of the war of 1812, 7,590; survivors of the Mexican war, 16,379; widows of soldiers of the Mexican war, 6,976.
The number of pensions of the several classes granted under the act of June 27, 1890, is as follows: Army invalid pensioners, 97,136; army widows, minor children, etc., 12, 209; navy invalid pensioners, 3,976; navy widows, minor children, etc., 1,436. During the last fiscal year first payments were paid upon 131,160 original claims, requiring $31,391,538 for their payment. This is an increase in the number of original payments over the year 1890 of 64,532. The aggregate cost, however, was $1,087,302 less.
There were 222,521 first payments of every description, requiring $38,552,274, being $69,592 less than was required for the 130,514 first payments made during the last fiscal year. The average value of first payments made during the year was $239.33 and the average value of first payments on claims allowed under the act of June 27, 1890, was $71.28. The average value of first payments for the preceding year was $485.71, a reduction in the average first payments of $246.38.
The aggregate annual value of the 676,150 pensions on the roll June 31, 1891, was $89,247,200 and the average annual value of each pension was $139.99 and the average annual value of each pension under the act of June 27, 1890, was $121.51.
At the end of June, 1891, there were 38,574 pensioners on the roll who remained unpaid for the want of time and who were entitled to receive $4,883,242, which will be paid out of the appropriation for the current fiscal year. There remained at the close of the fiscal year 1891 in the hands of the several pension agents the sum of $5,713,852.84 which has since been covered into the treasury. This amount added to $3,607,133.22 of the pension amount not drawn from the treasury aggregates $9,320,986.06 of the appropriation which was not expended. There will be a deficiency in the appropriation for the payment of fees and expenses of examining surgeons of about $300,000.
The total amount disbursed on account of pensions, expenses, etc., during the fiscal year was $118,548,959.71 as compared with $106,493,890.19 disbursed during the preceding fiscal year. So that it appears that 136,216 pensions were added to the rolls during the fiscal year just closed, at an increased cost to the nation of $12,055,069 as compared with the expenditures for the previous fiscal year, and said expenditure includes $4,357,347 paid upon vouchers remaining unpaid at the close of the year.
The largest number of certificates issued to any class was 4,693 to men who served thirty-six months. The age of the greatest number of pensioners under both the old and new law was forty-seven years. During the last year 20,525 pensioners were dropped from the rolls for various causes, and of this number 13,229 were dropped by reason of death.
The loss to the pension rolls by the decease of widows and dependent
mothers and fathers was at the rate of thirty-five per 1,000 in 1891. It is
There are about 1,208,707 soldiers of the Union now living, and of the
AMOUNT DISBURSED AT U. S. PENSION AGENCIES DURING THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1891.
Total...... $114,637,786.25 $116,164,303.92 $2,221,917.16 $2,255,657.15 $12,229.54 $13,922.88 $118,435,827.48
CHAP. 390, laws of 1889, enacts that the charge of desertion now standing on the rolls and records in the office of the Adjutant-General against any soldier who served in the late war in the volunteer service shall be removed in all cases where it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of the Secretary of War, from such rolls and records, or from other satisfactory testimony, that such soldier served faithfully until the expiration of his term of enlistment, or until the 1st day of May, 1865, having previously served six months or more, and, by reason of his absence from his command at the time the same was mustered out, failed to be mustered out and to receive an honorable discharge, or that such soldier absented himself from his command, or from hospital while suffering from wounds, injuries, or disease received or contracted in the line of duty and was prevented from completing his term of enlistment by reason of such wounds, injuries, or disease.
Sec. 2. That the Secretary of War is hereby authorized to remove the charge of desertion from the record of any regular or volunteer soldier in the late war upon proper application therefor, and satisfactory proof in the following cases:
First. That such soldier, after such charge of desertion was made, and within a reasonable time thereafter, voluntarily returned to his command and served faithfully to the end of his term of service, or until discharged.
Second. That such soldier absented himself from his command or from hospital while suffering from wounds, injuries, or disease, received or contracted in the line of duty, and upon recovery voluntarily returned to his command and served faithfully thereafter, or died from such wounds, injuries, or disease while so absent, and before the date of muster out of his command, or expiration of his term of service, or was prevented from so returning by reason of such wounds, injuries, or diseases before such muster out, or expiration of service.
Third. That such soldier was a minor, and was enlisted without the consent of his parent or guardian, and was released or discharged from such service by the order or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction on habeas corpus or other proper judicial proceedings; and in any such case, no pay, allowance, bounty, or pension shall be allowed or granted.
Sec. 3. That the charge of desertion now standing on the rolls and records in the office of the Adjutant-General against any regular or volunteer soldier who served in the late War of the Rebellion by reason of his having enlisted in any regiment, troop, or company, or in the United States Navy or Marine Corps, without having first received a discharge from the regiment, troop or company in which he had previously served, shall be removed in all cases wherein it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of the Secretary of War, from such rolls and records, or from other satisfactory testimony, that such reenlistment was not made for the purpose of securing bounty or other gratuity that he would not have been entitled to had he remained under his original term of enlistment; that the absence from the service did not exceed four months, and that such soldier served faithfully under his reënlistment.
Sec. 4. That whenever it shall appear from the official records in the office of the Adjutant-General that any regular or volunteer soldier of the late war
was formally restored to duty from desertion by the commander competent to order his trial for the offence, or, having deserted and being charged with desertion, was, on return to the service, suffered, without such formal restoration, to resume his place in the ranks of his command, serving faithfully thereafter until the expiration of his term, such soldier shall not be deemed to rest under any disability, because of such desertion, in the prosecution of any claim for pension on account of disease contracted, or wounds or injuries received in the line of his duty as a soldier.
Sec. 5. That when the charge of desertion shall be removed under the provisions of this act from the record of any soldier, such soldier, or, in case of his death, the heirs or legal representatives of such soldier, shall receive the pay and bounty due to such soldier: Provided, however, That this act shall not be so construed as to give to any such soldier, or, in case of his death, to the heirs or legal representatives of any such soldier, any pay, bounty or allowance for any time during which such soldier was absent from his command without proper authority, nor shall it be so construed as to give any pay, bounty, or allowance to any soldier, his heirs or legal representatives, who served in the army for a period less than six months.
Sec. 6. That the Secretary of War be and he hereby is authorized and directed to amend the military record of any soldier who enlisted for the war with Mexico, upon proper application, where the rolls and records of the Adjutant-General's office show the charge of desertion against him, when such rolls and records show the facts set out in the following cases:
First. That said soldier served faithfully the full term of his enlistment, or having served faithfully for six months or more, and until the 4th day of July, 1848, left his command without having received a discharge.
Second. That such soldier, after said charge of desertion was entered on the rolls, voluntarily returned to his command within a reasonable time and served faithfully until discharged.
Sec. 7. That the provisions of this act shall not be so construed as to relieve any soldier from the charge of desertion who left his command from disaffection or disloyalty to the government, or to evade the dangers and hardships of the service, or whilst in the presence of the enemy (not being sick or wounded), or while in arrest or under charges for breach of military duty, or, in case of a soldier of the Mexican War, who did not actually reach the seat of war.
Sec. 8. That when such charge of desertion is removed under the provisions of this act, the soldier shall be restored to a status of honorable service, his military record shall be corrected as the facts may require, and an honorable discharge shall be issued in those cases where the soldier has received none: and he shall be restored to all his rights as to pension, pay or allowances as if the charge of desertion had never been made; and in case of the death of said soldier, his widow or other legal heir shall be entitled to the same rights as in case of other deceased honorably discharged soldiers: Provided, That this act shall not be construed to give to any soldier, or his legal representatives or heir, any pay or allowance for any period of time he was absent without leave, and not in the performance of military duty.
Sec. 9. That all applications for relief under this act shall be made to and filed with the Secretary of War within the period of three years from and after July 1, 1889, and all applications not so made and filed within said term of three years shall be forever barred, and shall not be received or considered. -(Approved March 2, 1889.)
Chap. 132.-Provides that from and after the passage of this act all persons who, in the military or naval service of the United Sates and in the line of duty, have lost both hands, shall be entitled to a pension of $100 a month.— (Approved February 12, 1889.)