is not at fault.
The commanding influence of General Schenck
in Congress, and the persistent interference of the Congressional delegation from the culprit's native State, gave Mr. Stanton
he was beset with petitions, remonstrances and personal appeals, but to no purpose.
At last the Governor
of the State
came himself to Washington
, and, in company with its Senators
and Representatives, proceeded to the War Department and vainly coaxed the iron-willed chief to relent.
“When you can show me that Colonel Olcott
has furnished me with false testimony, or exceeded the limits of justice in his recommendations, then I will release your man and put mine in his place,” was his reply.
Thus baffled, one testy Congressman
lost his temper and used a more peremptory tone, whereupon Mr. Stanton
, rising and giving way to his wrath, threatened to put the member in the Old Capitol if he said another word, and the stormy interview was abruptly terminated.
I have the story from the lips of the Assistant Secretary of War
, who was present.
In the case of a contractor for transporting wounded soldiers through the city of New York
, it was found that the government had been defrauded in both transportation and the cooked rations supplied, but on each of a pile of uncollected vouchers found in his desk when he was arrested by the general commanding, was the official certificate of the medical director
that “this account is correct and just, and that the services were rendered by my order, and that they were necessary for the public service.”
Comparison of them with the medical director
's own books showed at a glance the fraud.
For instance, on May 30th, 1863, a charge was made by the contractor “for nursing and subsisting three hundred and fifty men from the steamer Cosmopolitan
and delivering them at David's Island
But the hospital books in the office of the medical director
, who certified to the correctness of the account, showed that on that day only ninety-seven men arrived at the island!
The scamp was found guilty before a court-martial, after several hundred witnesses had been examined, and was sent to the penitentiary for a term of ten years. A radical reform in this branch of service was, of course, the most substantial fruit of.the department's investigation.
The responsible officers of the War Department were all overworked.
From the Secretary
down there was no exception.
Each crowded at least three years proper work into one year, and some of us four or five.
It was all I could do, though working night and day, Sundays and all, and with one, two, and at times three and four stenographers to help me, to keep ahead of my work.
Again and again I urged the organization of a special bureau to have charge of