Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

August 04, 1886

To the House of Representatives:

I herewith return without approval House bill No. 3551, entitled "An act granting a pension to George W. Cutler, late a private in Company B, Ninth New Hampshire Volunteers."

This claimant enlisted July 12, 1862, and was discharged June 22, 1863, for disability resulting from "scrofulous ulceration of the tibia and fibula of right leg; loss of sight of left eye."

He made a claim for pension in 1865, alleging an injury while loading commissary stores, resulting in spitting of blood, injury to lungs, and heart disease.

This claim was rejected August 31, 1865.

In 1867 he again enlisted in the United States infantry, and was discharged from that enlistment March 29, 1869, for disability, the certificate stating that--

He is unfit for military service by reason of being subject to bleeding of the lungs. He was wounded, while in the line of his duty in the United States Army, at Fredericksburg, Va., December 13, 1862. Said wound is not the cause of his disability.

Afterwards, and in the year 1879, he filed affidavits claiming that he was wounded by a minie ball at the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, and was injured by falling down an embankment.

In 1883 he filed an affidavit in which he stated that the disability for which he claims a pension arose from injuries received in falling down a bank at Fredericksburg and being tramped on by troops, causing a complication of diseases resulting in general debility.

The statement in the certificate of discharge from his second enlistment as to the wound he received by a minie ball at Fredericksburg was of course derived from his own statement, as it was related to a prior term of service.

The records of the Adjutant-General's Office furnish no evidence of wounds or injury at Fredericksburg.

The injury alleged at first as a consequence of loading commissary stores seems to have been abandoned by the claimant for the adoption of a wound at Fredericksburg, which in its turn seems to have been abandoned and a fall down a bank and trampling upon by troops substituted.

Whatever injuries he may have suffered during his first enlistment, and to whatever cause he chooses at last to attribute them, they did not prevent his reenlistment and passing the physical examination necessary before acceptance.

The surgeon of the Ninth New Hampshire Volunteers, in which he first enlisted, states that he remembers the claimant well; that he was mustered and accepted as a recruit in spite of his (the surgeon's) protest; that he was physically unfit for duty; that he had the appearance of impaired health, and that his face and neck were marked by one or more deep scars, the result, as the claimant himself alleged, of scrofulous abscesses in early youth. He expresses the opinion that he is attempting to palm off these old scars as evidence of wounds received, and that if he had been wounded as he claimed he (the surgeon) would have known it and remembered it.

It is true that whenever in this case a wound is described it is located in the jaw, while some of the medical testimony negatives the existence of any wound.

The contrariety of the claimant's statements and the testimony and circumstances tend so strongly to impeach his claim that I do not think the decision of the Pension Bureau should be reversed and the claimant pensioned.


Grover Cleveland, Veto Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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