1865 July 22: How Fast Should Soldiers Expect to Be Paid
This week we have only articles from The Polk County Press because there is no issue for July 22, 1865, on the microfilm of The Prescott Journal.
The Press here reprints an editorial from the New York Tribune. General Joseph Hooker’s XX Corps in the Union Army of the Cumberland was a consolidation of the XI and XII Corps. The corps fought throughout the Atlanta Campaign and its troops were the first to enter Atlanta after it surrendered. The XX Corps also participated in Sherman’s March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign. It took part in the Grand Review at Washington, D.C., and was disbanded in June 1865.
Non-payment of Soldiers.
“A Friend of Soldiers” asks us to “say a few words in behalf” of those members of the Twentieth Corps who recently broke out into riot at Washington because they were not paid. We cannot do it. Without the least desire to flatter the present rule of the War Department, we must say that the labor of preparing and perfecting all the returns for paying off and mustering out so vast an army as ours is gigantic, and not to be compressed into a few days. Returns often have to be sent back for correction—there must be duplicates and lots of signatures—and the clamor against “red tape” amounts in essence to this—“Let every one run his arm into the Treasury and take out whatever he chooses to deem his share.” We can not join in it.
The Government is paying out money. Millions per week to soldiers—is paying as fast as it safely can. It has the money and is disbursing it faithfully. But every one cannot be paid first nor at once ; there must be some later and one last of all. Naturally, those who are honorably discharged are paid before those who are retained. But no one can even invent a reason for willful delay, and there is no such delay. The paymasters are hard at work ; they have ample funds ; and all the trouble arises from forgetfulness of Dogberry’s¹ axiom that “When two ride a horse, one must ride behind.” Let us do nothing to excite or palliate mutiny, but do everything to avert it.
—NEW YORK TRIBUNE.
1. Dogberry is a character from William Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing. This quotation comes from Act III, Scene 5.