The Army of the US Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-in-Chief
The Pay Department
By Colonel A. B. Carey
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The earliest legislation creating a Pay Department, is the resolution of the Continental Congress, in session at Philadelphia, Pa., June 16, 1775, as follows:
Resolved, "That there be one Paymaster General, and a Deputy under him, for the Army, in a separate department; that the pay for the Paymaster General himself be one hundred dollars per month, and for the Deputy Paymaster under him, fifty dollars per month."
James Warren, of Massachusetts, was elected Paymaster-General, by Congress, on July 27, 1775.
By resolution of January 9, 1776 the Deputy Paymaster-General was authorized to appoint two Assistant Paymasters, and it was required that all the troops of the Northern Department be paid in person by him or his assistants.
Colonel Warren's resignation was accepted by Congress on the 19th of April 1776, and on the 27th William Palfrey, of Massachusetts, then aide-de-camp to General Washington, was appointed by Congress Paymaster-General of the. Army, and on June 12, Ebenezer Hancock was appointed Deputy Paymaster-General for the Eastern Department.
Congress on the 9th of July, 1776, resolved: "That Mr. Palfrey, late aide-de-camp of General Washington, have the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Continental Army," and on the 16th a regimental paymaster for each regiment was provided at a salary of $26 2/3 per month, and by resolution of October 10th, regimental paymasters were to have "the rank of First Lieutenants and rations as Captains."
Deputy Paymaster-Generals were appointed by Congress for Virginia and Pennsylvania on July 11, 1777, and for Georgia on August 6th. On the 20th the pay of the Paymaster-General was increased to $150, and that of the Deputy under him to $75 per month. By the resolution of August 28th, the Deputy Paymaster-Generals of the Northern, Eastern and Southern Departments were empowered to appoint assistants when necessary. On May 27, 1778, Congress resolved, "That the paymaster of a regiment be chosen by the officers of the regiment out of the captains or subalterns, and appointed by warrant issued by the Commander-in-chief, or the commander in a separate department." They were required to take charge of the clothing for the troops, and to distribute the same. By resolution of January 21, 1779, Congress directed that the Paymaster or Deputy Paymaster-General should provide an office near headquarters, and on May 29th, the Paymaster-General was required to keep his office in the place where
Congress should, from time to time, hold its sessions. Authority was given for the employment of clerks, directions for keeping regular books; and, in general terms, the duties of the office were defined. A Deputy Paymaster-General was authorized, by the same resolution, for the army under the immediate command of General Washington. On November 12, 1779, Congress granted the sum of $20,000 to Paymaster-General William Palfrey, as a further compensation for past services, and allowed the Paymaster-General salary at the rate of $14,000 per annum until further order of Congress. Colonel Palfrey had filled the office of Paymaster-General since April, 1776. "During this period he had exhibited such proofs of his talents for business, fidelity and devotedness to the cause of his country, that, on the 4th of November, 1780, he was elected Consul General from the United States to France, an office at this time of much consideration, as it involved the duties of making extensive purchases of military and other supplies for the country, and an examination and settlement of all the accounts in which the United States were concerned with public and private agents in Europe, and which had been multiplying and accumulating since the commencement of the war.
"He sailed for France, but the vessel in which he took passage was lost at sea, and every one on board was supposed to have perished."*
Colonel Palfrey was succeeded as Paymaster-General by John Pierce, of Connecticut, who was elected to the office by Congress on January 17, 1781.
General officers had been empowered by Congress to draw warrants on the Paymaster-General for payment of troops under their command. On a report from the Secretary of War, to whom was referred a plan of the Paymaster-General for the better regulation of the pay of the army, Congress, on April 8, 1782,
Resolved, "That as all returns necessary to check the accounts of pay and rations, and to give full information of public issues of clothing and stores, are lodged at the War office, the Secretary of War is hereby empowered and directed to issue his warrants on the Paymaster-General, in favor of each regimental paymaster, for the pay and rations which shall appear, on adjustment of their accounts to be due to the regiments respectively, and to the head of each department, for the pay and rations due to such department; that the accounts for the pay and rations of each regiment, and of each department in the army, from January 1, 1782, shall be made out at the end of every month, and be transmitted to the War Office for examination and warrants:
"That the manner of making the payments, of keeping the accounts, and the returns of the regimental paymasters be regulated by the Secretary of War:
"That the Paymaster-General shall pay on the warrants of the Secretary of War, from such monies as shall be put into his hands for the pay and rations of the troops, and to the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, or officer commanding the Southern army, from such monies as shall be placed in his disposal for contingencies.
Resolved, "That all resolutions heretofore passed empowering general officers to draw warrants on the Paymaster-General, except that empowering the officer commanding the Southern army, be, and the same are hereby repealed."
*Spark's Writings of Washington.
Resolved, "That there be one Deputy-Paymaster for the Southern army:
"That there shall be one assistant allowed to the Paymaster-General, who shall do the duties of a clerk:
"That the Paymaster-General be, and he is hereby, authorized to appoint his deputy and his assistant:
"That the Paymaster-General immediately give bonds with two sureties, to the Superintendent of Finance, in the sum of $15,000, for the faithful performance of his office."
The Paymaster-General was authorized, on May 16th, to appoint a Deputy-Paymaster to reside with the main army.
The Revolutionary army was disbanded on the 3d of November, 1783, in pursuance of a proclamation issued by Congress on the 18th of October previous. On April 1, 1785, Congress resolved that 700 troops were necessary for the protection of the north-western frontier, and on April 12, 1785, specified the number which should be furnished by certain States, and provided that a lieutenant should act as Paymaster.
The resolve of Congress of the 20th of October, 1786, increased the number to 2040 non-commissioned officers and privates. The army was fixed by the resolve of October 3, 1/787, at
1 regiment of Infantry, 8 companies.
1 battalion of Artillery, 4 companies.
Paymaster-General John Pierce had been continued in service settling his accounts, and as commissioner for settling the accounts of the army. The two offices were united by resolution of Congress of March 23, 1787, as follows:
Resolved, "That the services and duties of Paymaster-General be, and hereby are, united with those of Commissioner of Army Accounts." John Pierce died in August, 1788.
The first session of the first Congress of the United States was held on the 4th of March, 1789, at New York.
The Act of September 29, 1789, recognized the force authorized by the resolve of October 3, 1787, "to be the establishment for the troops in the service of the United States." The pay and allowances were to be the same as had been established by the resolution of April 12, 1785.
The Act of April 30, 1790, directed an increase of the force, and provided a paymaster for the battalion of artillery.
After the death of John Pierce in 1788, the duties of the office of Paymaster-General were administered by Joseph Howell, Jr., Commissioner of Army Accounts, until a paymaster for the Army was provided by the Act of May 8, 1792, as follows:
Section 3. "That there be a paymaster to reside near the headquarters of the troops of the United States. That it shall be the duty of the said paymaster, to receive from the treasurer, all the monies which shall be intrusted to him for the purpose of paying the pay, the arrears of pay, subsistence, or forage, due to the troops of the United States. That he shall receive the pay abstracts of the paymasters of the several regiments or corps, and compare the same with the returns or muster rolls which shall accompany the said pay abstracts. That he shall certify, accurately, to the commanding officer, the sums due to the respective corps, which shall have been examined
as aforesaid, who shall thereon issue his warrant on the said deputy paymaster for the payment accordingly. That copies of all reports to the commanding officer, and the warrants thereon, shall be duly transmitted to the office of the accountant of the War Department, in order to be there examined, and finally adjusted at the Treasury. That the said paymaster shall give bond in the sum of $20,000, with two sufficient sureties, for the faithful discharge of his duty; and he shall take an oath faithfully to execute the duties of his office. That the compensation to the said paymaster shall be $6o monthly, with the same rations and forage as a major."
Caleb Swan, of Massachusetts, was appointed Paymaster of the Army on May 8, 1792, and continued in the office until the 30th of June, 1808.
Act of May 9, 1794, directed the raising of 764 enlisted men, to be incorporated with the Corps of Artillery, and to be denominated the Corps of Artillerist, and Engineers, of four battalions, with an adjutant and paymaster to each battalion.
A Paymaster-General was provided by the act approved May 30, 1796, and it was further provided that paymasters of regiments should be appointed from the subalterns of their respective regiments. The general staff authorized by the act was to continue in service until the 4th of March following, and no longer.
Act of May 3, 1797, to amend and repeal in part the previous act, provided for a Paymaster-General.
A regiment of Artillerists and Engineers was provided by the act of April 27, 1798, with an Adjutant and Paymaster to each battalion.
The act of May 28, 1798, to raise a provisional army, provided for the employment of a Paymaster-General, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, who should have the rank, pay, and emoluments; of a Lieutenant-Colonel.
The act of July 16, 1798, to augment the Army of the United States, provided for the appointment of one Paymaster to each regiment.
The act for the better organizing of the troops of the United States, and f or other purposes, approved March 3, 1799, provided f or one Paymaster to each regiment of cavalry, artillery and infantry. The same act provided for the appointment of Deputy Paymasters, and prescribed the bond to be given by the several regimental paymasters, as follows:
Section 15. "That the Paymaster-General of the armies of the United States, shall always quarter at or near the headquarters of the main army, or at such place as the Commander-in-Chief shall deem proper; and that, to the army on the western frontiers, and to detachments from the main army, intended to act separately for a time, he shall appoint Deputy Paymasters, who shall account to him for the money advanced to them, and shall each give a bond, in the sum of $15,000, with sufficient sureties, for the faithful discharge of their duties respectively, and take an oath faithfully to execute the duties of their offices; and the several regimental paymasters shall also give bond, in the sum of $5000, with one or more sufficient sureties, and take an oath, as aforesaid, for the faithful discharge of the duties of their offices respectively and that the Paymaster-General shall receive $80 per month, with the rations and forage of a major, in full compensation for his services and travelling expenses: and the deputy, in addition to his pay, and other emoluments, $30 per month, in full compensation for his extra services and travelling expenses."
Act of March 16, 1802, fixing the military peace establishment, provided that from and after June 1, 1802, the peace establishment should be composed of one regiment of artillerists, two regiments of infantry, and a corps of engineers. Section 3 of this act provides:
"One Paymaster of the Army, seven paymasters, and two assistants, to be attached to such districts as the President of the United States shall direct, to be taken from the line of commissioned officers, who, in addition to their other duties, shall have charge of the clothing of the troops." With pay as follows: "To the Paymaster of the Army, $120, without any other emolument, except such stationery as may be requisite in his department and the use of the public office now occupied by him; each Paymaster attached to districts, $30, and each assistant to such Paymaster, $10, in addition to his pay in the line."
Section 13 of this act provides:
"That the said corps shall be paid in such manner that the arrears shall at no time exceed two months, unless the circumstances of the case shall render it unavoidable."
"That the Paymaster shall perform the duties of his office, agreeably to the direction of the President of the United States, for the time being: [and before he enters on the duties of the same, shall give bonds, with good and sufficient sureties, in such sums as the President shall direct, for the faithful discharge of his said office; and shall take an oath to execute the duties thereof with fidelity; and it shall, moreover be his duty to appoint from the line, with the approbation of the President of the United States, the several Paymasters to districts and assistants prescribed by this act; and he is hereby authorized to require the said Paymasters to districts, and assistants, to enter into bonds, with good and sufficient surety, for the faithful discharge of their respective duties]."
The Act of March 16, 1802, seems to have done away with regimental and battalion paymasters, but the office was again created by the act of April 12, 1808, which provided an additional military force of five regiments of infantry, one of riflemen, one of light artillery, and one of light dragoons, with one paymaster to each regiment, with $10 per month in addition to pay in the line, and $6 for forage when not furnished in kind.
Caleb Swan resigned as Paymaster of the Army on the 30th of June, 1808, and was succeeded by Robert Brent, of the District of Columbia.
The act of January 11, 1812, provided one Paymaster to each of the ten regiments of infantry, two of artillery and one of light dragoons raised by that act. The act of April 29, 1812, provided a Paymaster for the Corps of Engineers, to be taken from the subalterns. This was repealed by the act of July 5, 1838, which provided for transfer of the Paymaster of the Corps of Engineers to the Pay Department of the army.
The act May 16, 1812, provided:
"That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, authorized and empowered to appoint so many district paymasters as, in his judgment, the service may require; and, if such paymasters are taken from the line of the army, they shall respectively, receive $30 per month, in addition to their pay in the line: Provided, The same shall in no case exceed the pay and emoluments of a major; and, if not taken from the line, they shall receive the same pay and emoluments as a major of infantry."
"That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, authorized and empowered to appoint a paymaster to each regiment on the peace establishment, who shall receive the same pay and emoluments as a captain of the regiment to which he belongs: Provided, That all district and regimental paymasters shall be subject to the rules and articles of war, and give such bonds to the United States as the secretary of the department of war may direct, for the faithful performance of their duties. And it shall be the duty of the commanding officer, when requested by the paymaster, to furnish a capable non-commissioned officer or soldier to aid him in the discharge of his duty, who, while so employed, shall receive double pay.
The act of June 16, 1812, provided that there be one paymaster to each regiment authorized by that act. And the act of July 6, 1812, authorized the President to appoint one Deputy Paymaster-General from the line, to any army, other than that in which the Paymaster of the Army shall serve, with $50 per month in addition to his pay in the line, "and assistant deputies (not exceeding three to each department) as the public service may require, who shall, in like manner, be taken from the line, and who shall, each, be entitled to $30 per month, in addition to his pay and other emoluments, which shall be in full compensation for his extra services."
The act of January 29, 1813, provided one paymaster for each regiment raised under that act, and the acts referred to therein; as does the act of February 10, 1814, entitled "An act to raise three regiments of riflemen."
Section 20 of the act of March 30,1814, provided "That in no case shall the district paymasters or quartermasters of any grade be taken from the line of the army," and this act does not provide Regimental or Battalion Paymasters for the organizations created by it.
The act of April 18, 1814, fixed the annual salary of the Paymaster of the Army at $2000, and allowed a sum for clerk hire and contingent expenses of office. Also authorized the appointment of Assistant District Paymasters, and defined the duties of Paymaster, District and Assistant District Paymasters.
The act of March 3, 1815, reduced and fixed the military peace establishment at 10,000 men, and provided that there should be one Paymaster to each regiment, to be taken from the subalterns of the line.
By this act the office of District and Assistant District Paymaster was abolished, but the act did not affect the office of Paymaster of the Army, or of Deputy Paymaster-General. By Executive General Orders of May 17, 1815, two Deputy Paymasters and two Assistant Deputy Paymasters were provisionally retained.
The act of April 24, 1816, organizing the general staff and making further provision for the Army of the United States, provided for a Pay Department as follows:
Section 3, "That the pay department shall consist of one paymaster-general of the army, with the annual salary of two thousand five hundred dollars, and that, in addition to regimental paymasters, there be appointed one paymaster to each battalion of the corps of artillery, who, as well as the regimental paymasters, in addition to the regular and punctual payment of their respective regiments or corps, shall discharge the duties of district paymasters within such district as shall, from time to time, be
assigned them by the paymaster-general, under the direction of the secretary of war. Provided, That regimental and battalion paymasters may be taken either from the subalterns of the army, or citizens, and appointed by the President of the United States. Provided, also, That regimental and battalion paymasters shall receive the pay and emoluments of major, and shall be allowed a capable non-commissioned officer as clerk, who, while so employed, shall receive double pay, and the actual expense of transportation while traveling under orders in the discharge of his duty."
Section 4 of this act defines the duties of regimental and battalion paymasters.
Section 6 prescribes that good and sufficient bonds shall be given.
Robert Brent resigned as Paymaster-General on the 28th of August, 1819, and was succeeded by Nathan Towson, of Maryland. Colonel Towson was appointed Colonel, Second Artillery, on the 1st of June, 1821, but his appointment was negatived by the Senate. On the appointment of Colonel Towson to the Artillery, June 1, 1821, Daniel Parker, of Massachusetts, then Adjutant and Inspector General of the Army, was appointed Paymaster-General, but was superseded on the 8th of May, 1822, by the reappointment of Colonel Towson, who continued in office as Paymaster-General of the Army until the date of his death.
Section 9 of the act of March 2, 1821, provided "That there shall be one paymaster general, with the present compensation, and fourteen paymasters with the pay and emoluments of regimental paymasters."
In the annual report of Paymaster-General B. W. Brice, for 1868, General Towson is referred to as the author of the present organization of the Pay Department and the arrangement of its duties, giving to paymasters the field grade of major, and making it an independent staff corps. In a report dated April 29, 1839, to the Secretary of War he (Towson) gives the following facts in the history of army paymasters:
First.—From 1808 to 1811, before the war, the average annual loss by the defalcation of regimental and battalion paymasters amounted to 1.58 per centum on the amount disbursed, and the annual average expenses for paying the army to 3.10 per centum.
Second.—From the beginning of the war to 1816, under the same system, these averages were: defalcations, 2.98 per cent., and the expenses, 4.36.
Third.—From the date of the reorganization, in 1821, on the new plan (the present one) to 1825, the average defalcations were 22-100; little more, it will be perceived, than the one-fifth of one per cent., which was finally paid into the Treasury; expenses for the same period, 2.13.
Fourth.—From 1825, after the new system had been well established, not one dollar of defalcation, and the total average expenses reduced to one and one-third per cent.
Section 4 of the act of July 14, 1832, provided, "That it shall be the duty of the district paymasters of the army of the United States, in addition to the payments required to be made by them to the regular troops, to make payment to all other troops in the service of the United States, whenever required thereto by order of the President."
"Section 2 of the act of March 2, 1833, authorized the Secretary of War to allow, and pay, district paymasters a commission, not exceeding
one per centum upon the amounts paid by them, respectively, to the militia ordered into the service of the United States according to law.
The act of July 4, 1836, authorized the appointment of three paymasters, and provided for the detail of any officer of the army to the duty of Paymaster, when volunteers or militia were called into service.
This is replaced in part by section 25 of the act of July 5, 1838, and modified by section 31 of the same act, which prohibits the separating of any officer of the line of the army, employed as Paymaster, from his regiment or company. (See R. S. sec. 1224.)
Section 24, act of July 5, 1838, provides: "That hereafter the officers of the pay and medical departments of the army shall receive the pay and emoluments of officers of cavalry of the same grades respectively acording [sic] to which they are now paid by existing laws."
Section 25 provides for a temporary expansion of the Pay Department whenever militia or volunteers are called into service, as follows:
"That when volunteers or militia are called into the service of the United States, so that the paymasters authorized by law shall not be deemed sufficient to enable them to pay the troops with proper punctuality, it shall be lawful for the President to appoint as many additional paymasters as he shall deem necessary, who shall perform the same duty, give the same bond, be subject to the same liability, and receive the same pay and emoluments, as are now provided for paymasters of the army: Provided, however, That the number so appointed shall not exceed one for every two regiments of militia or volunteers: And provided also, That the persons so appointed shall continue in service only so long as their services are required to pay militia and volunteers."
Under the authority given by the foregoing section of July 5, 1838, the Pay Department was increased during the war with Mexico and the war of the rebellion by the appointment of a number of Additional Paymasters sufficient for the payment of the volunteer force called into the service of the United States, as follows:
|Employed during war with Mexico||17|
|Accounted for as follows:|
|Discharged (disbanded March 4, 1849)||9|
|Retained in permanent establishment||4||17|
|Subsequently appointed in permanent establishment||1|
|Employed during the war of the rebellion||562|
|Honorably mustered out of service||318|
|Retained in permanent establishment||28||562|
|Subsequently appointed in permanent establishment||17|
Section 9 of the act of July 7, 1838, allowed the Paymaster-General and Surgeon-General of the army the additional rations for every five years service, granted by the act of July 5, 1838.
The act of June 17, 1846, authorized an increase of three paymasters.
The department was again increased by section 12 of the act of March 31 1847, which authorized the President "to add to the pay department of the army two deputy paymaster-generals, with the pay and allowances, each, of a deputy quartermaster-general, and ten paymasters, with the pay and allowances, each of a paymaster of the army; and the officers so appointed shall give such bonds as the President shall, from time to time, direct: Provided, That the deputy paymaster-generals shall, in addition to paying troops, superintend the payment of armies in the field."
The ten paymasters appointed under this act were to be disbanded on the 4th of March, 1849, under section 3 of the act of July 19, 1848.
Section 13: That the officers of the pay department shall have rank corresponding with the rank to which their pay and allowances are assimilated: Provided, That paymasters shall not in virtue of such rank be entitled to command in the line or other staff departments of the army: Provided, also, that the right to command in the pay department, between officers having the same rank, shall be in favor of the oldest in service in the department, without regard to the date of commission under which they may be acting at the time."
The last proviso of this section being sequent upon the act of May 15, 1820, which required a reappointment every four years, is obsolete; rank being determined by date of commission or appointment.
Section 14. "That all paymasters hereafter to be appointed by the President for the volunteer service of the United States shall be nominated to the Senate for confirmation to such office."
The act of August 12, 1848, authorized the Paymaster-General to allow to any Paymaster of the army who had been employed in the payment of volunteers, during the war with Mexico, a commission, not exceeding one-half of one per centum, on all sums disbursed by them to volunteers, provided said commission did not exceed $1000 per annum, from commencement to close of the war.
The act approved March 2, 1849, provided
"That the pay department of the army shall consist of a paymaster-general, who shall have the rank of colonel, and the same pay and allowances as are at present provided by law for such officers, and the same tenure of office as the heads of other disbursing departments of the army; two deputy paymasters-general, with the same rank, pay and allowances as are now provided by law for such officers, and the same tenure of office as officers of like grade in other disbursing departments of the army; and twenty-five paymasters, with the same rank, pay, and allowances as are now provided by law for such officers, and the same tenure of office as officers of like grade in other disbursing departments of the army. That it shall be the duty of all disbursing officers of the pay department to renew their bonds, or furnish additional security, at least once in four years, or as much oftener as the President may direct.
"That the officers of the Pay Department, provided for by the first section of this act, shall consist of the paymaster-general, the two deputy paymasters-general now in commission, the fifteen paymasters who were in service under the acts in force at the
commencement of the war with Mexico, and ten paymasters to be selected from the additional paymasters now in service, and the thirteen paymasters authorized by the acts of the 17th of June, 1846, and the 3d of March, 1847."
There does not appear to have been any further legislation relative to the Pay Department, and the organization, as provided by the above act, continued until 1866. Colonel Nathan Towson died at Washington, D. C., on the 20th of July, 1854, and was succeeded as Paymaster-General, by the promotion of Colonel Benjamin F. Larned, of Massachusetts, then Deputy Paymaster-General, who continued in office to the date of his death, at Washington, D. C., September 6, 1862.
Colonel Timothy P. Andrews, of the District of Columbia, then Deputy Paymaster-General, was promoted to be Paymaster-General, on September 6, 1862, and continued in the office until he was retired, on his own application, after forty or more consecutive years of service, in conformity with Section 15 of the act of August 3, 1861. Colonel Andrews was succeeded by Benjamin W. Brice, of Virginia, then a Major and Paymaster, fifth in rank in the Pay Corps, who was appointed Paymaster-General, November 29, 1864, with the rank of Colonel, to July 28, 1866, and Brigadier-General since that date.
The statistics of the Pay Department show that during the war of the rebellion, in which it disbursed $1,100,000,000, the defalcations and losses of all kinds were less than one-tenth of one per cent., and the cost of paying the troops, including expenses, defalcations and losses of all kinds, falls short of three-fourths of one per cent. on the amount disbursed; that chiefly within the three months of June, July and August, 1865, $270,000,000 were paid to 800,000 individual men by the small regular force of the Pay Department and the additional force employed under the act of July 5, 1838, which drew from General Brice the following in his annual report for 1865:
"No similar work of like magnitude, regarding its immensity both as to men and money and the small limit of time in which it has been performed, has, if is believed, any parallel in the history of armies * * *," and vindicates the language used by him: "No system can be devised which, equal to the present one, can be made to combine the advantages of prompt payment, the safety of the public money, and an accurate and prompt accountability, with the least possible liability to embezzlement or corrupt defalcation."
Section 18 of the Act of July 28, 1866, provided "That the pay department of the army shall hereafter consist of one paymaster-general, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of a brigadier-general; two assistant paymasters-general, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of colonels of cavalry; two deputy paymasters-general, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of lieutenant-colonels of cavalry; and sixty paymasters, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of majors of cavalry, to be selected from persons who have served as additional paymasters."
Section 23 provides that the Paymaster-General shall be appointed by selection from the Corps to which he belongs.
Section 6 of the act of March 3, 1869, prohibited new appointments and
promotions in. the Pay Department, but was so far modified by the act of June 4, 1872, as to authorize the President to "appoint a Paymaster-General, with the rank, pay and emoluments of a colonel, to date from the time the appointee assumed the duties of the office, to fill the vacancy now existing.
General Brice at his own request was retired from active service on January 1, 1872, in conformity with Section 12 of the act of July 17, 1862.
Benjamin Alvord, of Vermont, then a Major and Paymaster, fourth in rank in the Pay Corps was selected and appointed Paymaster-General of the army, with the rank of Colonel, from January 1, 1872.
The act of March 2, and Joint Resolution of March 3, 1875, established the number of paymasters at fifty and authorized the appointment of majors; and by the act of July 22, 1876, the rank of paymaster-general was made brigadier-general, under the authority of which General Alvord was appointed brigadier-general.
The act of March 3, 1877, repealed so much of the act of March 3, 1869, as prohibited promotions in the Pay Department.
General Alvord was retired on June 8, 1880, at his own request, having served over forty years (Sec. 1243 R. S.); and Nathan W. Brown, of New York, the senior colonel, was selected and appointed Paymaster-General same date, and retired on the 6th of February, 1882, under the provisions of Sec. 1244 R. S.
William B. Rochester, of New York, then a major and paymaster, tenth in rank in the pay corps, was selected and appointed paymaster-general on February 17, 1882.
The act of July 5, 1884, making appropriations for the support of the army for the year ending June 30, 1885, provides: that hereafter any paymaster of the rank of major who has served twenty years in the United States Army as a commissioned officer may, upon his own application or by direction of the President, be placed upon the retired list of the army, until the pay department shall be reduced to thirty-five members, as follows: one paymaster-general, with the rank of brigadier-general; two assistant paymasters-general, with the rank of colonel; three deputy paymasters-general, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and twenty-nine paymasters, with the rank of major; and no more appointments of paymasters shall be made in the pay department until the number shall be reduced below twenty-nine majors, and thereafter the number of officers in the pay department shall not exceed thirty-five.
General Rochester was retired by operation of law February 15, 1890 (act of June 30, 1882), and on March 10, 1890, William Smith, lieutenant-colonel and deputy paymaster-general, was selected and appointed paymaster-general.
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