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Message to the Senate

January 06, 1858

To the Senate of the United States:

I nominate Alexander W. Reynolds, late of the Quartermaster's Department of the Army, to be assistant quartermaster with the rank of captain, to date from August 5, 1847, and to take place on the Army Register next below Captain S. Van Vliet, agreeably to the recommendation of the Secretary of War.


WAR DEPARTMENT, January 6, 1858.


SIR: Under date of October 9, 1855, Captain A. W. Reynolds, assistant quartermaster, was dismissed from the public service in virtue of the third section of the act approved January 31, 1823 .

Shortly afterwards suit was brought in the United States district court for the eastern district of Pennsylvania for the purpose of recovering the amounts alleged to be due the United States from Captain Reynolds, and which were stated at $126,307.20. At the suggestion of the United States district attorney, and with the consent of the Secretary of the Treasury, the matter was referred for a full and careful reexamination to three gentlemen, of whom one is understood to have been an experienced clerk of the Treasury Department of the United States. The verdict of the referees, fully concurred in by the United States district attorney, subsequently confirmed by a jury, and according to which judgment was rendered by the court, is that the United States are, on the contrary, indebted to Captain Reynolds in the sum of $430.63.

In addition to this high judicial award in Captain Reynolds's favor, numerous petitions have been received--from the district attorney, from the referees who examined the case, from his brother officers of the Army--all testifying to their assured belief in his perfect integrity, no less than in his high character as a gentleman and a soldier, and earnestly requesting of the President of the United States that he would be pleased to reinstate him in the position which he formerly held in the Quartermaster's Department of the Army.

Among the last description of petitions are many of the highest officers, in rank as well as reputation, who served with Captain Reynolds in New Mexico, the theater of his difficulties, and they respectfully urge their conviction that were the President "cognizant," as many of them declare themselves to be, of the circumstances "under which Captain Reynolds was made responsible for public property over which he had no control," that he could feel no hesitation about restoring him to the service.

In view of all which facts I have the honor to submit his case for your consideration, and respectfully recommend that he be nominated for restoration to his original rank and place in the Army.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.

James Buchanan, Message to the Senate Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/202501

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