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[355]

2. Any agent or attorney, if he had prosecuted the claim, was to be paid by me his lawful fee.

3. The claimant was to be discovered, identified, and settled with through my officers and myself, not in checks or drafts but in current funds.

4. I was responsible for the safe custody and faithful disbursement of all the funds involved. Probably at that time there were over 50,000 colored soldiers and sailors who had not yet been fully paid.

5. All this disbursement was to be done under the same regulations as those which governed other disbursing officers of the army.

Fortunately, well-disposed agents and attorneys became my friends; but the others, not well disposed, made indescribable trouble for my officers and agents, and finally involved me, myself, in the meshes of accusation, personal expense, and Congressional and military investigations very prolonged, and which have become historic. There were two points of attack that worried me most: one was to work carefully through political influence to get a dishonest field agent appointed who probably would not only defraud the Government, but would delude the poor claimant. Glad to get even a small sum, the soldier would go off without objection or complaint, having in some instances received less than half his due. By the most thorough care and inspection the fraudulent were caught. We had, all told, but a very limited number of such cases. The second point of attack was to deceive the honest field agent, by palming off upon him frauds, i. e., wrong men, who had been coached enough to prove themselves the genuine claimants, and so carry off the currency and divide with the dishonest attorneys. These cases were more frequent than the first; but the

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