Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

May 24, 1886

To the Senate of the United States:

A bill which originated in the Senate, entitled "An act granting a pension to Edward Ayers," and numbered 363, is herewith returned without approval.

The person named in this bill enlisted October 3, 1861, in an Indiana regiment and was mustered out of the service December 13, 1865. He represents that he was injured in the hip at the battle of Days Gap, April 30, 1863, and for this a pension is provided for him by the bill under consideration. His application for pension has been rejected by the Pension Bureau on the ground that it was proved on a special examination of the case that the claimant was injured by a fall when a boy, and that the injury complained of existed prior to his enlistment.

There is not a particle of proof or a fact stated either in the committee's report or the records in the Pension Bureau, so far as they are brought to my notice, tending to show that the claimant was in hospital or under medical care a single day during the whole term of his enlistment.

The report of the committee contains the following statement:

The record evidence proves that he was in this engagement, but there is no proof from this source that he was wounded. By numerous comrades who were present it is proven that he was hurt, by the explosion of a shell as claimed. It is also shown that he has been disabled ever since; and the examining surgeon specifically describes the wound, and twice verities that he is permanently disabled. From the fact that a man was exceedingly liable to injury under the circumstances in which he was placed, and from the evidence of eyewitnesses, the committee are of opinion that he was wounded as alleged.

A wound from a shell causing the person injured to be "disabled ever since" usually results in hospital or medical treatment. Not only is there no such claim made in this case, but, on the contrary, it appears that the claimant served in his regiment two years and nearly eight months after the alleged injury, and until he was mustered out.

It is represented to me by a report from the Pension Bureau that after his alleged wound, and in May or June, 1863, the claimant deserted, and in July of that year was arrested in the State of Indiana and returned to duty without trial. If this report is correct, the party now seeking a pension at the hands of the Government for disability incurred in the service seems to have been capable of considerable physical exertion, though not very creditable, within a few weeks after he claims to have received the injury upon which his application is based.


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

Simple Search of Our Archives