United States v. Pugh
APPEAL from the Court of Claims.
This was an action, broght by Walter Pugh against the United States, to recover the proceeds of certain property. The Court of Claims found the following facts:--1. In December, 1862, the claimant was in possession as owner of a plantation in Louisiana. The sugar and molasses described in the petition were a part of the products of such plantation, and were stored thereon, and in the possession of the claimant's agents.
2. In December, 1862, this said sugar and molasses were seized by the military forces of the United States, and turned over to a military commission, known as the sequestration commission, on the 12th of January, 1863. The commission was directed by general order No. 8, Department of the Gulf, 'to sell at public auction all property in its possession that has not been or may not be claimed or released, except such as may be required for the use of the army, and turn over the proceeds thereof to the chief quartermaster.' The said sugar and molasses were then in the possession of the commission. On the 4th of February, 1863, the commission caused the same to be sold, with other property, at public auction in New Orleans. By the accounts kept by the commission, it appears that the net proceeds of the sugar and molasses amounted to $4,362.23. It does not appear specifically that the proceeds were paid over to the chief quartermaster of the Department of the Gulf; but it appears, and the court find the fact to be, that he received money at various times in the year 1863 from the sales of sugar and molasses in New Orleans, to the amount of $33,796.02. For this amount the chief quartermaster accounted on the final settlement of his accounts, and the same was credited by the Secretary of the Treasury to the abandoned and captured property fund in the treasury.
3. That, as appears from the accounts of the chief quartermaster, the said amount of $33,796.02 was received by him as the net proceeds of sales of sugar and molasses in New Orleans, and the whole of said amount was received in and subsequent to the month of February, 1863. That it does not appear what became of the fund resulting from the said sale of claimant's sugar and molasses, unless the same was paid over to the chief quartermaster of the Department of the Gulf, in pursuance of said order of General Banks, and was included in said sum of $33,796.02.
4. On June 13, 1863, the said commission notified the agent of Mrs. Walter Pugh, wife of the claimant, who had applied for the release of a portion of the said proceeds, that the application was denied.
Upon these facts the claimant had judgment for $4,362.23. The United States thereupon appealed to this court.
Mr. Assistant Attorney-General Smith for the appellant.
Mr. Edward Janin, contra.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE delivered the opinion of the court