Name: Joseph Nunes ,
Enlistment Date: 1 Jun 1861
Side Served: Union
State Served: U.S. Volunteers
Service Record: Enlisted as a Major on 1 June 1861.
Commission in Paymaster's Dept Regiment U.S. Volunteers on 1 Jun 1861.
Promoted to Full Major (Major & Additional Paymaster) on 1 Jun 1861.
Promoted to Brevet Lieutenant Colonel on 1 Nov 1865.
Mustered Out Paymaster's Dept Regiment U.S. Volunteers on 15 Nov 1865.
All about the duties of PAYMASTERS and what they did
In 1816, the Pay Department became a separate department. Paymasters usually with the rank of Major, had the principal duty of paying soldiers in the regiments. The Paymaster at Army headquarters computed monthly payrolls in his office and went to the field with his "box" of gold and a military guard. Obviously, payday was not the last day of each month at every site, but once a routine was established, the soldiers could expect payday to fall on approximately the same day each pay period.The Pay Department remained unchanged until 1912, when, in a major reorganization, it joined the Quartermaster Corps.
Col. Benjamin Franklin Larned Paymaster-General Col. was the one in command during the War between the States.
Dollars were hard in 1861. Average incomes ranged from $300.00 to $1,000.00 per year. From April 15, 1861 to April 14, 1865 there was a total of men in armed forces of 2,656,553. Total pay disbursed July, 1861 to October 1865 was $1,029,239,000.00. Keep in mind that the bounties by the states and extra federal grants and the payroll amounts to quite a sum. Paymasters were under the command of a paymaster general with the rank of Colonel. Under him would be two deputy paymasters with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Under these would be deputies, totaling 25, with the rank of major. This then, was the paymaster department. According to all reports and diaries, the paymaster department was a mass of inefficiencies. There is not too much on the record. We know that a Colonel Benjamin F. Larned was paymaster at the beginning of the war and had served since July, 1854. He died September 6, 1862 and was succeeded by Timothy B. Andrews, who served to November 29, 1864. Colonel Benjamin W. Brice finished the job. Regulations required that troops were to be paid in such a manner that arrears at no time were to exceed two months unless circumstances made longer interims unavoidable, in which case, the paymaster involved was to report the situation and details to the paymaster general.
Further, troops were to be paid on the last day of February, April, June, August, October and December.
About the article on delay in paying soldiers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania it seems that the commanding officers of the various companies had not done their job of preparing the payroll before they left Harper's Ferry. If the commanding officers had prepared the payroll the soldiers would have been paid when they arrived at Harrisburg.
Twenty-two regiments were mustered out of the service but without the customary precaution of making out their pay rolls. When the paymasters arrived on Thursday to pay them off the requisite vouchers were not forthcoming. The men became excited but were unwilling to listen to reason and threatened violence to the paymasters. Major Cameron tried to appeal to the men but in vain and he returned to his residence at Middletown. Major Nunes of California became alarmed and fled along the Reading Railroad track, in double Bull Run time leaving behind him $100,000 in gold in thehands of the Express Company. The Express agent not knowing of Nunes flight, carted the money all over town and was about to send it back to Philadelphia but was persuaded to retain it until the arrival of the Paymaster-General Col. Larned who came up from Washington.
The flight of Nunes is rendered conspicuous from his frequent assertions in this city that he never would have retired from the field at Bull Run, but "would have left his bones on the ground." Alas! poor Nunes! He is by no means the first man, who failed to fulfill the high sounding professions of the opening of the campaign.