Another assist to Southern Unionists, under the Bowman and Tucker Acts

Posted on September 13, 2013 by

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I’ll get back to my current run on the discussion of literacy and literature in the antebellum Shenandoah Valley, but, as I promised… still having a deep and dedicated interest in Southern Unionism… 

I know I’ve mentioned it before, that though a Southern Loyalist Claim might be barred or disallowed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was the end of the road in the claims process. I’m convinced that some of those claims which are absent (what I call the “empty envelope syndrome”, when perusing the claims records) are often absent because the claimant and/or his/her estate continued in the battle to obtain compensation. The files had been pulled, and ended-up in another stack of government papers, elsewhere.

It’s not the answer to all those barred and disallowed claims, but… there were two Acts that came about because of the number of disputed rejections.

The following is from the Guide to the Records of the U.S. Senate at the National Archives (Record Group 46):

Under the Bowman Act and the Tucker Act, claims that had been barred or disallowed previously could be referred by Congress to the Court of Claims for its review and recommendation. Consequently there is an interrelationship among the records of the congressional committees, the Department of the Treasury, and the Court of Claims. While many of the claims considered by the committee relate to the confiscation, use, or destruction of property of southern citizens during the Civil War, the barred and disallowed case files of the Southern Claims Commission, which adjudicated claims of those southerners who maintained their loyalty during the war, are located among the Records of the United States House of Representatives (Record Group 233).

FYI, the Bowman Act came about in 1883, and the Tucker Act followed in 1887.

Now, here’s the kicker…

Try looking for Marylanders in the Fold3 Southern Claims option.

You won’t find them.

In fact, just because I happened to Google a couple of names… I ran across two Marylanders who benefitted from the Bowman Act. Prior to finding their names in various published Congressional books online, I didn’t even know they filed claims. One (Hamilton Alexander Moore) claimant was my third great grandfather’s half-brother, and the other (James Warren Jackson Moore) was my fourth great grandfather’s nephew. One claim made perfect sense to me, while the other still leaves me scratching my head.

Hamilton Alexander Moore was the father of James Draper Moore… one of a couple Southern cavalryman in blue (Cole’s Potomac Home Brigade) in my family tree. You may or may not recall, I’ve mentioned before James being captured by Mosby’s men (and subsequent death in Andersonville, in August 1864). Anyway, it appears Hamilton filed a claim at some point, for property taken by Federal troops in early June 1865. The earliest record that I’ve found (so far), dates to 1891:

52nd Congress, 1st Session, House of Representatives. Letter from the Chief Clerk of the Court of Claims…

This case being a claim for supplies or stores alleged to have been taken by or furnished to the military forces of the United States for their use during the late war for the suppression of the rebellion, the court, on a preliminary inquiry, finds that said Hamilton A. Moore, the person alleged to have furnished such supplies or stores, or from whom the same are alleged to habe been taken, was loyal to the Government of the United States throughout said war. Filed June 8, 1891.

It was almost a year later before action was taken…

The case was brought to a hearing on its merits on the 3d day of March, 1892. The claimant in his petition makes the following allegations:

That he has a claim against the United States for stores and supplies furnished to or taken by the United States for army use, at or near Indian Spring, Washington County, Md., at the times hereinacfter stated, and by the officers named, said property being reasonably worth at the time and place the valie here given, that is to say:

Item 1. 7 tons hay (furnished Capt. Whitsel, commanding wagon train on way to Fort Leavenworth, June 5, 1865), at $12 per ton…. $84.00

Item 2. 8 tons hay (furnished Capt. Skinner, commanding wagon train on way to Fort Leavenworth, June 6, 1865), at $12 per ton…… $96.00

Total…. 180.00

The court, upon the evidence and after considering the briefs and arguments of counsel on both sides, makes the following

FINDINGS OF FACT.In 1865 there was taken from the claimant’s farm, near Indian Springs, Washington county, Md., by the military authorities for the use of the Army, quartermaster stores described in the petition, the fair and reasonable value of which at the time and place of taking was $180. Filed May 23, 1892.

By no means did Hamilton get rich because of his claim, but he did get compensation for his loss.

Then we have the James Warren Jackson Moore, of Leonardtown, St. Mary’s County, Maryland. I’ve written about him before and was always under the impression… because of his sons and because of the local historical memory (apparently)… that he was Confederate-leaning. I may need to reconsider that… maybe. It’s also interesting to note that like Hamilton, J.W.J. Moore also lost a son in the war… and I mentioned that son again recently, in another post.  

Nonetheless, having filed the claim much earlier (it had been forwarded to the court by the Committee on War Claims of the House of Representatives, on February 16, 1888… though, he died in 1868), J.W.J. Moore’s claim didn’t make it to the top of the stack until 1894…

Court of Claims. Congressional No. 2441. William A. Fenwick and Mary J. Moore, administrators of James W.J. Moore deceased vs. The United States

This case, being a claim for supplies or stores alleged to have been taken by or furnished to the military forces of the United States for their use during hre late war for the suppression of the rebellion, the court, on a preliminary inquiry, finds that James W.J. Moore, deceased, the person alleged to have been taken, was loyal to the Government of the United States throughout said war. BY THE COURT Filed May 14, 1894.

J.W.J. Moore’s claim (actually, it was more his wife’s claim) was finally forwarded approved. Though the actual items aren’t detailed (which is really too bad, considering his hotel and property were in the area which saw considerable activity when John Wilkes Booth was being pursued), the claim resulted in a payment of $1,040.00.

I find it interesting that J.W.J. Moore who is touted for his Confederate-leanings… at least according to Leonardtown lore… actually landed the larger claim. I have to say, however, considering J.W.J. Moore’s status of a Southern veteran of the War of 1812 (one of the factors that I see in those who are among the older Southern men who were often considered legitimate loyal citizens), I guess it should be too surprising. Is this a case of local (Leonardtown) “historical memory” trumping the truth?  

Incidentally, for both claims, the man sitting then, as Speaker of the House, was Charles Frederick Crisp. Crisp was a Confederate veteran (and… one of the “Immortal 600″) who served in a unit from Page County, Virginia… where I have most of my Confederate ancestry. Did Crisp actually review these claims? Highly unlikely. It’s purely coincidence, but I can’t help being fascinated… just a little… by the irony.