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casionally employed with the army upon civil contracts, such as clerks to commissaries and to storekeepers, &c., teamsters, boat
Four general classes of cases are embraced in this law,
I. As rolls of the regular troops in the revolutionary war exist in this department, all persons claiming the benefit of this law, as officers, non-commissioned officers, musicians, or privates, will, in the first instance, make application by transmitting the following DECLARATION 1, which will be made before a court of record of the county where such applicant resides. And every court having, by law, a seal and clerk, is considered a court of record.
If, on examination of the proper record, the names of applicants making declaration 1, cannot be found, they will receive detailed instructions respecting the nature and form of the testimony they must produce, to secure their being placed on the pension roll. Vide note (1) As the presumption will, in such case, be against the applicants, in consequence of the omission of their names in the muster rolls, they will be required to furnish, as near as may be, the same evidence as has heretofore been required by the regulations and practice adopted for carrying into effect the act of Congress of - March 18, 1818, and the acts supplementary thereto, with such relaxations as have been, from time to time, sanctioned by the Department, on account of the rapid decrease of the survivors of the revolutionary army, and the consequent difficulty of procuring direct positive testimony in every case.
Whenever an officer, or non-commissioned officer, is now in the receipt of a pension, he should make application, if entitled to the benefits of this act, by letter merely, setting forth his rank, and the regiment, corps, or vessel, in which he served, and his present place of residence. His pension certificate must accompany his letter.
In those cases where the applicants have once been on the pension roll, under the act of March 18, 1818, and have been dropped therefrom on account of property, or from any other reason; or, where the application has been made under the act of May 15, 1828, and the evidence of service is in the department; or, having made application and proof of service, and having been rejected, instead of the said declaration 1, they will make a statement, setting forth, under oath, their having been previously on the pension roll, and their having been struck from the same, showing their rank, the regiment, corps, or vessel, in which they served, their present place of residence, when the first application was made, or of their application under the act of 15th of May, In a case where a claimant may make personal application at this Department and can produce satisfactory proof of service, and of his identity also at the seat of Government, he may make his declaration before a justice of the peace.
II. The case of the State troops, volunteers, and militia, is diferent. There are, in the Department, no rolls of the State troops, except those of Virginia; and no rolls of the militia, except those of New Hampshire.
Applicants who served in the State troops of Virginia, and applicants who served in the militia of New Hampshire, will be required to produce the same proof as is prescribed for those who served upon the continental establishment. But with respect to the other State troops and militia, there is no record to advert to, and no presumption to be rebutted. The nature of the case, therefore, demands a different rule of proceeding.
Every applicant who claims a pension by virtue of service in the State troops, volunteers, or militia, except as is above provided, will make and subscribe the following DECLARATION 2.
The form of the proceedings, and of the certificates, will be so varied as to meet the case, when the declaration is made out of court, before a judge, as heretofore provided for.
Every applicant will produce the best proof in his power. This is the original discharge or commission; but if neither of these can be obtained, the party will so state under oath; and will then procure, if possible, the testimony of at least one credible witness; stating, in detail, his personal knowledge of the services of the applicant, and such circumstances connected therewith as may have a tendency to throw light upon the transaction.
If such surviving witness cannot be found, the applicant will so state in his declaration, vide note (1); and he will also, whether he produce such evidence or not, proceed to relate all the material facts which can be useful in the investigation of his claim, and in the comparison of his narrative with the events of the period of his alleged service, as they are known at the Department. A very full account of the services of each person will be indispensable to a favorable action upon his case. The facts stated will afford one of the principal means of corroborating the declaration of the applicant, if true, or of detecting the imposition, if one be attempted; and unless, therefore, these are amply and clearly set forth, no favorable decision can be expected. All applicants will appear before some court of record in the county in which they reside, and there subscribe and be sworn to one of the declarations provided, according to the nature of his case.
The court will propound the following interrogatories, vide note (m), to all applicants for a pension, on account of service in the militia, State troops, or volunteers, except the militia of New Hampshire and the State troops of Virginia:
1st. Where, and in what year, were you born?
2d. Have you any record of your age? and, if so, where is it?
3d. Where were you living when called into service; where have you lived since the revolutionary war; and where do you now live?
4th. How were you called into service; were you draughted, did you volunteer, or were you a substitute; and, if a substitute, for whom?
5th. State the names of some of the regular officers who were with the troops where you served; such continental and militia regiments as you can recollect; and the general circumstances of your service.
6th. To a soldier.—Did you ever receive a discharge from the service; and, if so, by whom was it given; and what has become of it?
To an officer.—Did you ever receive a commission; and, if so, by whom was it signed; and what has become of it?
7th. State the names of persons to whom you are known in your present neighborhood, and who can testify as to your character for veracity, and their belief of your service as a soldier of the revolution.
The court will see that the answers to these questions are embodied in the declaration, and they are requested to annex their opinions of the truth of the statement of the applicant.
The applicant will further produce in court, if the same can be done, in the opinion of the court, without too much expense and inconvenience to him, two respectable persons, (one of whom should be the nearest clergyman, if one lives in the immediate vicinity of such applicant,) who can testify, from their acquaintance with him, that they believe he is of the age he represents, and that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood to have been a revolutionary soldier, and that they concur in that opinion. If one of these persons is a clergyman, the court will so certify; and they will also certify to the character and standing of other persons giving such certificates.
The traditionary evidence of service is deemed very important, see (k,) in the absence of any direct proof, except the declaration of the party; and the courts are requested to be very particular in the inquiry whether the belief is general, and whether any doubts have ever existed upon the subject. To require from the applicants positive proof of service from a contemporary survivor, would, after the lapse of so many years, be to deprive many of them of the benefit of the law; and, as no presumption is raised against the militia by the existence of rolls in the department, there is no good reason why this requisition should be extended to them. On the other hand, to receive the declaration of the parties as a sufficient ground for placing them upon the pension roll, without corroborating circumstances, would be to open the treasury to great frauds. A just medium seems to present the best rule for carrying into effect the objects of Congress.
If the two persons whose certificates are required cannot be produced in court without too much inconvenience and expense to the applicant, then the statement of the facts and opinions above mentioned will be made under oath, before some judge or justice of the peace; and the certificate of the court to the situation and credibility of the persons making the statement will be given. Applicants unable to appear in court by reason of bodily infirmity, may make the declaration before required, and submit to the examination before a judge or justice of a court of record of the proper county, and the judge or justice will execute the duties which the court is herein requested to perform, and will also certify that the applicant cannot, from bodily infirmity, attend the court.
Whenever any official act is required to be done by a judge or justice of a court of record, or by a justice of the peace, the certificate of the Secretary of State or Territory, or of the proper clerk of the court or county, under his seal of office, will be annexed, stating that such person is a judge or justice of a court of record, or a justice of the peace, and the signature annexed is his genuine signature.
III. Persons serving in the marine forces.
Each of these two latter classes of cases will produce proof, as nearly as may be, conformably to the preceding regulations, and authenticated in a similar manner, with such variations as the different nature of the service may require. No payments can be made on account of the services of any person who may have died before the taking effect of the act of June 7, 1832; and, in case of death subsequent thereto, and before the declaration herein required is made, the parties interested will transmit such evidence as they can procure, taken and authenticated before a court of record, showing the services of the deceased, the period of his death, the opinion of the neighborhood respecting such services, the title of the claimant, and the opinion of the court upon the whole matter.
Dp By the resolution of Congress of the 14th July, 1832, the time of imprisonment as a prisoner of war shall be taken and computed as a part of the period of service, in the execution of the act of June 7, 1832.
JAMES L. EDWARDS. [The following forms of Declarations, with the instructions in [brackets,) and the notes from (a) to (i) are to be strictly observed. The DECLARATION 1, is for the regular troops of the army. The DECLARATION 2, is for the State troops and militia. No forms were prescribed for the naval service and Indian spies; but they are required, under those heads in the text, “to be conformable to the foregoing regulations. The additional notes, (;;) (k) (4) (m,) are referred to in the text.-Eds.]
[DECLARATION 1.-In order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress of June 7, *1832.] State, [TERRITORY, OR DISTRICT) OF
. County of On this
personally appeared (a) the of the a resident (5) of in the county of and State, [Territory, or District) of aged (c) years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth, on his oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made hy the act of Congress passed June 7, 1832: That he enlisted in the army of the United States in the year (d)
with and served in the (e) regiment of the line, under the following named officers :
[Here set forth the names and rank of the field and company officers; the time he left the service, (and if he served under more than one term of enlistment, he must specify the particular period, and rank, and names of his officers ;) the town or county, or State, in which he resided when he entered the sera vice; the battles, if any, in which he was engaged; and the country through which he marched.)
He hereby relinquishes every claim (f ) whatever to a pension, or an annuity, except the present, and he declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency in any State, or (if any).only on that of the agency in the State of [Signed.) A** B***. Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid, before me,
C** D***, J. P. [And then will follow the certificate of the court.]
And the said court do hereby declare their opinion, (9) that the above named applicant was a revolutionary soldier, and served as he states.
[Done in Court.] 1, of the court of do hereby certify (h) that the foregoing contains the original proceedings of the said court in the matter of the application of pension.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal of office (i) this day of
C** C***, [L. S.]
Clerk of Court. (a) The declarant must appear in open court, unless prevented from doing so by reason of bodily infirmity; in which case, the declarant will follow the rule laid down for his guidance.
(b) The declarant must make his declaration in the county where he resides. If he should fail to do so, he must assign a sufficient reason for not conforming to the rule.
The age of the claimant must invariably be mentioned.
Every continental officer or soldier must give the name of the colonel under whom he served; otherwise, a satisfactory examination of the claim cannot be had. Every claimant must state, with precision, the length of his service, and the different grades in which he served, in language so definite as to enable the department to determine to what amount of pension he is entitled. In a case where the applicant cannot, by reason of the loss of memory, state precisely how long he served, he should amend his declaration, by making an affidavit in the following words: “ Personally appeared before me, the undersigned, a justice of the peace, &c., A B, who, being duly sworn, deposeth and saith that, by reason of old age, and the consequent loss of memory, he cannot swear positively as to the precise length of his service, but, according to the best of his recollection, he served not less than the periods mentioned below, and in the following grades: For year, months, and days, I served as a and for such service I claim a pension. Or, For months and
days, I served and for such service I claim a pension." It is important, in all cases, to determine with precision the period for which each applicant served, and the particular rank he held, as the law directs the pension to be paid according to the grade of the pensioner and the length of his service. The use of the phrase "about three or four months,” is too indefinite, and all such qualifying expressions are objectionable. Some persons who apply for pensions merely state that they served two years in the militia, &c., without specifying the tours, the names of the officers, and other particulars respecting their service. This form of a declaration is highly objectionable. It must, in every case, be clearly shown under what officers the applicant served, the duration of each term of engagement, the particular place or places where the service was performed, that the applicant served with an embodied corps called into service by competent authority, that he was either in the field or in garrison, and, for the time during which the service was performed. he was not employed in any civil pursuit.