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January 24, 1863: Two Months Pay

Diary Entry:
Troops still passing to the let to return to their old positions, yesterday the Rebs across the river stuck up a board with the words “Burnside Stuck in Mud” in large letters. The storm that caused the mud prolonged the lives of many of them as well as many of our own men.

This afternoon our Paymaster Major Potter paid us two months pay from the 31st of August to the 31st of October 1862.

I received $34.00.

The mails have been very irregular. I have not received any letters since the 1st inst. and do not know whether the letters I have sent lately reached their destination or not and there being no other means of sending money home that I know of now, I do not think it will be safe to send it at all.

See the scanned diary pages 47 and 48.

More Information:

On January 17, 1863, President Lincoln signed a joint resolution to “provide for the immediate payment of the army and navy of the United States.” The joint resolution stated:

My approval is given in order that every possible facility may be afforded for the prompt discharge of all arrears of pay due to our soldiers and our sailors. While giving this approval, however, I think it is my duty to express my sincere regret that it has been found necessary so large an additional issue of United States notes, when the circulation, and that of the suspended banks together, have become already so redundant as to increase prices beyond real value, thereby augmenting the cost of living to the injury of labor and the cost of supplies to the injury of the whole country. . . . By such measures, in my opinion, will payment be most certainly secured, not only to the army and navy but to all honest creditors of the Government, and satisfactory provisions made for future demands on the Treasury.

The Delaware State Journal and Statesman printed the president’s message to Congress in its January 23 issue.