Liveblogging the Civil War False Claims Act: the Army struggles with defective uniforms

by Ben Vernia | February 21st, 2012

Poor quality uniforms plagued the Union Army during the early years of the war. On February 21, 1862, Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs issued an order admonishing officers receiving clothing to inspect it carefully:

By command of Major-General MCCLELLAN. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General. ORDER RELATING TO CLOTHING OF BAD QUALITY. QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL’s OFFICE, WASHINGTON CITY, Feb. 20, 1862. Complaints having been made of the quality of a portion of the clothing issued to the troops, with a request for some relief to the soldiers who are charged with the clothing, the attention of the officers of the Quartermaster’s Department is called to paragraphs 1,019 and 1,022 of the Revised Regulations, pages 150 and 151. Boards of Survey, under paragraph 1,019, have the power to assess the prices at which damaged clothing may be issued to the troops, and to recommend the condemnation or such clothing as is entirely unfit for use. Under this resolution, the value of clothing which is inferior to the regulation material, may be considered by the boards of survey, and upon the approval of the reports of such boards by the commanding officer of an army, or a department, and by the Quartermaster-General, the proper directions will be given for the relief the soldiers. Paragraph 1,022 “requires every officer, on receiving public property, to make a careful examination to ascertain its quality and conditions.” Had this been done in all cases it would have enabled the Department earlier to detect any frauds attempted by inspectors or contractors. It should be strictly observed. M.C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General.

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