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9th Vermont Infantry

Carl Braun Manuscript Collection


As we enter a new millennium, depending on when you believed it really started, horror tales of bureaucratic snafus and governmental inefficiency are commonplace. And this in an age when computers are supposed to make all record-keeping a relatively simple task. There were no such high-tech marvels to help pencil-pushers keep things straight during the Civil War, as the following tale of Alexander Tevyaw clearly illustrates.

Tevyaw, from Berkshire, Vermont, saw a chance to make a few dollars when he agreed to serve as a substitute for Charles W. Jones of Montgomery for a one-year term of enlistment in October of 1864. Mustered as a private in Company C of the Ninth Vermont Regiment of Volunteers on October 10, he was transferred to Company A of the Fifth Vermont the following January 20, and that was when his troubles began.

Somewhere along the line the paperwork regarding his transfer must have gotten lost in the shuffle, and he spent almost two full years from the date of his transfer trying to get his pay.

The paper trail of his efforts begins on September 22, 1865, in the form of a notarized document from the U. S. Sanitary Commission. "Invalid's Claim for Arrears of Pay and Bounty. Forwarded by A. J. Howard, Sub-Claim Agent for the U.S.S.C. in Burlington, the document states that Tevyaw was discharged from Company A of the 5th Vermont on June 22, 1865, in Washington, D.C. It is further stated that he was discharged under "General Order No. 77, Par. 6 Adj't Genl's office, April 28, 1865; and in compliance with telegram from Adj't General's officer May 3, 1865. His discharge is signed by B. B. Bonecou Surgeon, U.S. Vols., in charge Harewood U.S.A. General Hospital." The testimony continues to state that "He has never rec'd any pay from the Government, but has drawn $30 of Clothing, leaving, as he thinks, a bal. due him on Clothing account, also, he was enrolled October 10, 1864 as a substitute."

In early March of 1866 a form from the Adjutant General's Office in Washington, D.C., states that there is no evidence of enrollment or muster into the service of the United States for Tevyaw in Company A of the 5th Vermont. However, a handwritten note states, "But his individual Muster out Roll dates June 22nd 1865 contains the following evidence of service he is reported 'Mustered out at that date per G.O. No. 77, paragraph 6 A.G.O. April 28th 1865. Bounty paid $33.33 due $33.33 Pay due from enlistment. Clothing drawn since enlistment $44.73.'"

So, it seems, that poor Tevyaw, in addition to not having received any pay, may actually owe the government money for the clothing he drew while in the army.

As Alexander continued his quest for the pay due him for his Civil War service, the next document was a form from the Paymaster General's Office requesting of the Second Auditor an accounting of his (Tavyaw's) record in the rolls of "A" Company of the 5th Vermont for October and December, 1864, and April, June and July of 1865.Paymaster Nicholls received a reply dated April 3, 1866 stating that "the name of Alex Tevyaw does not occur" in the rolls of the 5th, although "he was pres't but not pd. Pay due from Enlistment, Oct. 10/64, at Burlington Vt." Under "Remks" it is noted: "$33.33 advcd Bty rec'd. Recruit transf'd from 9th Vt. Vol Assgn'd to Co. Jan. 25/65. Clothing due Soldier $34.55. On his Co. roll to April 30, 65, he was pres't & not pd. Pay due from Enlistment. Bounty rec'd $33.33. 3rd & 4th Insts Bty due. Maj. Wadleigh's acc't. 6999 not yet rec'd at this office."

Now Tevyaw had a glimmer of hope, in that his service was officially acknowledge and that he had not been paid. The following month he was able to obtain a form from the acting Assistant Surgeon in charge of Harewood U.S. Army General Hospital in Washington, D.C., stating that Tevyaw, a private in Company A of the 5th Vermont, entered the hospital on May 30, 1865, and was mustered out of Service June 25, 1865, and "has not been mustered nor paid or drawn clothing while in his Hospital." Confirmation of this came in a form to Paymaster Nicholls from the Second Auditor's Office later in April, at which point the wheels of government bureaucracy stopped for a while.

On July 7, 1866, Tevyaw swore a deposition to Justice of the Peace James r. Stone in St. Albans which was filed wit the Clerk of the Franklin County Court. In his deposition Tevyaw stated that in July of 1865 he gave his muster out roll to Paymaster Wadleigh in Burlington, "& and he said it would be all Right. I waited some 2 or 3 days & was sick & come home I have not been able to get any pay since. I have sent to Capt. Kavaney & he has lost his papers & we sent the letter of Capt. Kavaney in Explanation."

Two weeks later Paymaster Nicholls received a form from Assistant Adjutant General Breck's office reporting that Tevyaw appears on the rolls of Company C of the 9th Vermont and was reported "Pvt. present for duty. No later record on Rolls of said Company." A parenthetical note adds: "A man of same name is reported on Rolls of Co. A 5th Vt. as Transf'd from 9th Vt." With this ray of hope in sight, Tevyaw now faced another governmental delay.

We often hear that "the check's in the mail" and poor Tevyaw must have felt much the same as we do today when we are told that. Next in his paper trail is a small form from the general Agent of the U. S. Sanitary Commissions Army and Navy Claim Agency reporting receipt of Tevyaw's discharge from Company A of the 5th from Paymaster Nicholls. The form also lists receipt of a check in the amount of $103.32, but there is not entry of the date and number of the check.

Also dated December 11, 1866 (the same date as the above form) is a pay voucher entitling Tevyaw to receive his due. It give his dates of service as October 10, 1864 to June 22, 1865 at $16.00 per month, for a total of $134.40 for eight months and 12 days of service. He is also allowed $46.98 for clothing not drawn, for a total of $181.38. However, deducted from this total is $33.33 for bounty paid and $44.73 for clothing withdrawn, leaving a balance due to Tevyaw of $103.32. On the reverse is a handwritten note from one J. M. Brodhead that "This soldier may be paid as per written a/c $103.32 notwithstanding absence of m/o Rolls."

We must now assume that Tevyaw finally did receive his pay, as the final document from the Division of Referred Claims of the Paymaster General's Office, over Nicholls' signature, states that payment of $103.32 was made as of January 3, 1867. A handwritten annotation says that "Notice of this payment was sent Decem - and no reply since received." As diligent as Tevyaw was in pursuing his pay, it is likely that he got his money; had he not, surely he would have continued his effort.

In the end, it appears that he was paid for a little over eight months of service. It took him twice that long to receive his pay!


Eleven original documents from the Carl E. Braun collection, as mentioned above, including

A handwritten deposition by Alexander Tevyaw, notarized by James R. Stone, Justice of the Pease and certified by Joseph H. Brainerd, Clerk, Franlin County, Vermont;

An "Invalid's Declaration for Arrears of Pay and Bounty," in the case of Alexander Tevyaw, witnessed by Oliver E. Austin and Daniel Morin, notarized by James R. Stone, Justice of the Peace, which are attached with a cover form "Invalid's Claim for Arrears of Pay and Bounty," from A. J. Howard, Sub-Claim Agent, U. S. Sanitary Commission, Burlington;

Forms 5, 6 and 7 from the Paymaster General's Office;

Two form letters from the Adjutant General's Office;

A form-letter from Harewood U.S.A. General Hospital;

Two instance of "Form Yv" from the Second Auditor's Office, Treasury Department;

A receipt from the U.S. Sanitary Commission Army And Navy Claim Agency.

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