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[430] over-prudent in the dispensation of this wise and humane relief. One of the selectmen wrote to ascertain the town to which a soldier was credited, without giving the number of the regiment in which the soldier was serving. The Adjutant-General wrote for this information. The question at issue was, which of two towns should pay the family the State aid. The law was clear upon the point, that the town in which the family resided should pay it, if the family needed it. Another letter came, the purport of which may be learned from the concluding paragraph of the Adjutant-General's answer:—

Instead of answering my question, and informing me of the number of the regiment to which the man belongs, you write to me, under date of April 1, in terms not over-courteous, “that it is my duty to decide whether this town shall look after this family.” With all due respect, permit me to say that it is no part of my duty to decide any such question. If it were, I should take good care that the wife and family of a poor soldier did not suffer from quarrels, or from an over desire to throw off the duty of paying the State aid by narrow points of dispute between town authorities.

Some of the nine months regiments had been absent from the State but a few months, when some of the officers and enlisted men began writing home to ascertain when their time would expire. Some of the companies had been mustered in several weeks before others; and the question raised was, did the time begin when the first company or the last company was mustered; or was each company to be mustered out in nine months from the date of muster-in. One of these letters came to J. H. Mitchell, a member of the Massachusetts Senate, who referred it to the Adjutant-General for his opinion, which was that the term of service began from the time that the regiment was completed and organized. This answer was sent to North Carolina; but it was not satisfactory to the officer who made the inquiry, who wrote again to Mr. Mitchell; this letter was also referred to the Adjutant-General, who answered it at length. He said,—

The officer thinks my rule is unjust, because some companies of the regiment have been mustered in sooner than others, and therefore the term should commence by companies, and not as a regiment. Such

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