previous next
[709] and a jolly sort of fellow in general. In an evil hour he took to discounting the vouchers of recruiting officers, cheated, was suspected, in danger of arrest, and as a grand coup of diplomacy had spread the feast in question and bidden to it every civil and military official in the New York district who, under any contingency, might have a hand in arresting or prosecuting him criminally. I will spare the blushes of men now, as then prominently before the public eye, by not mentioning the names of Kohnstamm's guests. His frauds had come under the surveillance of the United States Marshal, and the circumstances of the dinner alarmed the authorities, who saw through the trick and feared the ends of justice might be defeated. I was, as I have said, convalescent at this time, and getting ready to return to the front at a very early date, when I received a notification that my services to examine the papers in this case of Kohnstamm were required. The Marshal told me that I would be free to leave for the army within a fortnight at farthest, and that the amount of fraud was supposed to be within twenty-five thousand dollars; in place of which my service was continued more than three years. The frauds of Kohnstamm turned out to be some three hundred thousand dollars, and the little local examination of a single case grew into a general inspection of arsenals and navy yards as connected with the equipment and clothing of the land and naval forces.

The vouchers discounted by Kohnstamm were the bills of landlords for the lodging and board of recruits for volunteer regiments prior to their muster into the United States service. They were certified by the ranking officer of the regiment and by the company officer engaged in the recruiting. After muster the men were duly taken on the regimental rolls, and the quartermaster was then legally empowered to issue to them tents, rations, and clothing. These necessary costs of organization were at first defrayed either out of the Union Defense Committee's fund or advanced by the officers of regiments and their friends out of their private means.

Kohnstamm's crime consisted in his procuring from landlords-generally German saloon-keepers-their signatures to blank vouchers, which he would have filled up by his clerks for, say, one or two thousand dollars each, and then either get unprincipled commissioned officers to append their certificates for an agreed price, or, cheaper still, forge them. By this device he drew over three hundred thousand dollars from the “Mustering and Disbursing office” in New York, of which sum the greater proportion was in due time ascertained by me to be fraud. The examination of all these accounts was a work of time and laborious and patient research, as may be

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: