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Service Pensions

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Iq the course of an artlcle on pensions the Aun Arbor CouRiF.Rsays: 'It Is esllmated Ihai of tlie 2,778,301 soldiers of the war, uenrly one-half arestill allve." In thls statement the 1'oUKiKit, usually very rellable and accurate, has lallen luto a gruve error. Il has glven the number of enlTstmentfi Instead of Ihe number of soldiere. Ttiis Is a coinmon mlslake and nrikos our armies appear mach greater than they really were. Kor instance ifa man enllsted in the threemonlh's service Uien re-enllsted for three years and agaln reenlistvd at the close of hls second term, he would be coupted as three merabers. Kxcl ding re enl stmen s the nutnber of men In lüe Union army and navy is giveu by exCommlssloner Dudley and Mr. Blalne as 191, that Is there were 2,C3,391 diflerent individuáis eurolled as soldlers and sallors during the rebelllon. Ofthta nutnber, accordliiu t Michigan, In the war 2US.530 desertcd. The natlonal sovernment has a record of .■ö'.i.iHX) who lost tbelr lives in the south. Uut tliese flgures do uot teil the whole story. Many slaln wereleflon the battle flclds and entered In thegovernmeiit repons as missing, üthersdled in theprlsous of the soutli of whora uo record was kept. SU1I others came home to die during the contlnuauce of the war and of courso are nut included lu the government figures. U has been estlmated that there were 160,0 0 of tliis latter class alone. Taking all the facts lntoconslderat ion and lt Is safe to say that the total death losses on the Union slde during the war exceeded rather than feil below 50U.000. Thls would leave about 1,300,000 honorably discharged, living soldiere at the close of the contest. i lal statistics show that nearly two-tlfths of tliis number should navedled In the twenty-llve years since lntervenlng; but such statistlca are baeed on the deatli rate lor ordlnary persons and not thOBe wlio have been subjected to tlie hardships and exposures iucldental to campalgninK In an unooiigenlal and morblflc climate. These conülderatluns would lead to the inference that about 700,000 Is the number of honorably discharged Union soldierst and sallors allve today. Another fact points to the same conclusión. The G. A. l{. probably enrolls more tlian tliree-fourths of the enllsted survivors of the war and yet lts membershlp is ouly a trifle over 400,000. Vlewed in the llglil of all the facts attalnable and 700,100 seems to be as close an approximatlon as can be made to the uumber of surviving veterans. Thus the COUEIKB appears to be a long way from the truth in the secoud as weil as therirsl of lts statement, an error that probably aroae from ltscoinmiiting at the outset the apparently pardonable mlstake of confounding thenum Oer of cnlistmeüts wlth the number of soldiers.- St. Clair Republican. The Courier took its figures from tables in Congressman Cutcheon's speech of March I8tb, which were fouuded on a report made by the best expert on pensions in the country, Dr. F. E. Ainsworth, who Is at the head of the pension record división of tlio War Department. These were compiled with the fjreatest care and we would place far more reliance upon theoi than uponestimates from even Mr. Blalne or Michigan ín the War. They are later, more thorough, accurate, and by one who lias made it a special study. In bis explanatory remarks Dr. Ainsworth places the nuniber of men furnlshed during the war at 2.77S.304. He allows foi re-enlistments 543,393; for deserters (making allowance for those incorrectly reported as deserters) 117,247; for deaths 359,528. Taking these out, J.652,173 bonorably dicsharged soldiers survived: and of these our authority estimates thát the total nuniber of pensionable survivors of the war June 30, 1890, will be 1,285,471 . Therefoie the Codrieu was not far out of tlie way in stating that " nearly onelialf are still alive." Ouresteemed coternporary, the Republican, lias placed too much confidence in rough estiraates made ofl hand,and we recommend to hU careful persual the reports vvhich thechairinan of the House committce on Military Affairs has said are: "preparcd with ihe ifreatest elaboration and scientific care, and may be relied upon as correct as near as human skill and Science c;in niake them.'' It will be extremely difllcult to liml a botter authority, but our friend, the Jr. c;m try again.


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Ann Arbor Courier