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Pensions
Desertion
Section 4749 Revised Statutes (1917)
May 24, 1900

U. S. Statutes
CERTAIN SOLDIERS AND SAILORS NOT DEEMED DESERTERS.

SECTION 4749, REVISED STATUTES.
No soldier or sailor shall be taken or held to be a deserter from the Army or Navy who faithfully served according to
his enlistment until the nineteenth day of April, eighteen hundred and sixty-five, and who, without proper authority or
leave first obtained, quit his command or refused to serve after that date; but nothing herein contained shall operate
as a remission of any forfeiture incurred by any such soldier or sailor of his pension; but this section shall be
construed solely as a removal of any disability such soldier or sailor may have incurred by the loss of his citizenship
in consequence of his desertion.

[
Editor's note: Do not know why the date of April 19th was selected. It was the beginning date of the truce between
Johnson and Sherman where details of his surrender were being worked out. This is not the end date of the War of
the Rebellion (See
Johnson's Proclamation ending war)]

REMOVAL OF CHARGE OF DESERTION; NAVY AND MARINE CORPS.

ACT AUGUST 14, 1888 (25 STAT. L., 442).

Section 1. That the charge of desertion now standing on the rolls and records of the Navy or Marine Corps against
any appointed or enlisted men of the Navy or Marine Corps who served in the late war may, in the discretion of the
Secretary of the Navy, be removed in all cases where it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of the Secretary
of the Navy, from such rolls and records or from other satisfactory evidence, that any such appointed or enlisted
man served faithfully until the expiration of his term of enlistment, or until the first day of May Anno Domini eighteen
hundred and sixty-five, having previously served six months or more, or was prevented from completing his term of
service by reason of wounds received or disease contracted in the line of duty, but who, by reason of absence from
his command at the time he became entitled to his discharge, failed to be mustered out and to receive a discharge
from the service: Provided, That no such appointed or enlisted man shall be relieved under this section who, not
being sick or wounded, left his command, without proper authority, while the same was in presence of the enemy.

[
Editor's Note: May 1, 1865 - After Johnson's surrender but no known reason.

Sec. 2. That the Secretary of the Navy is hereby authorized to remove the charge of desertion standing on the rolls
or records of the Navy or Marine Corps against any appointed or enlisted man of the Navy or Marine Corps who
served in the late war, in all cases where it shall be made to appear, to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Navy,
from such rolls or from other satisfactory evidence, that such appointed or enlisted man charged with desertion or
with absence without leave, after such charge of desertion or absence without leave, and within a reasonable time
thereafter, voluntarily returned to and served in the line of his duty until he was mustered out of the service, and
received a certificate of discharge therefrom, or, while so absent, and before the expiration of his term of enlistment,
died from wounds, injury, or disease received or contracted in the service and in the line of duty.

Sec. 3. That the charge of desertion now standing on the rolls or records of the Navy or Marine Corps against any
appointed or enlisted man of the Navy or Marine Corps who served in the late war, by reason of his having enlisted
at any station or on board of any vessel of the Navy without having first received a discharge from the station or
vessel in which he had previously served, shall be removed in all cases wherein it shall be made to appear to the
satisfaction of the Secretary of the Navy from such rolls and records, or from other satisfactory testimony, that such
reenlistment was not made for the purpose of securing bounty or other gratuity that he would not have been entitled
to had he remained under his original term of enlistment: Provided, That no appointed or enlisted man shall be
relieved under this act who, not being sick or wounded, left his command without proper authority while the same
was in presence of the enemy, or who, at the time of leaving his command, was in arrest or under charges, or in
whose case the period of absence from the service exceeded three months.

Sec. 4. That in all cases where the charge of desertion shall be removed under the provisions of this act from the
record of any appointed or enlisted man of the Navy or Marine Corps who has not received a certificate of discharge
it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Navy to issue to such appointed or enlisted man. or in case of his death,
to his heirs or legal representatives, a certificate of discharge.

Sec. 5. That when the charge of desertion shall be removed under the provisions of this act from the record of any
appointed or enlisted man of the Navy or Marine Corps, such man, or, in case of his death, the heirs or legal
representatives of such man, shall receive all pay and bounty which may have been withheld on account of such
charge of desertion or absence without leave: Provided, however, That this act shall not be so construed as to give
to any such man as may be entitled to relief under the provisions of this act, or, in case of his death, to the heirs or
legal representatives of any such man, the right to receive pay and bounty for any period of time during which such
man was absent from his command without leave of absence: And provided further, That no appointed or enlisted
man, nor the heirs or legal representatives of any such man, who served in the Navy or Marine Corps a period of
less than six months' shall be entitled to the benefit of the provisions of this act: And provided further. That all
applications for relief under this act shall be made to and filed with the Secretary of the Navy within the period of five
years from and after its passage, and all applications not so made and filed within the said term of five years shall be
forever barred, and shall not be received or considered.

Sec. 6. That all acts and parts of acts inconsistent with the provisions of this act are hereby repealed.

CHARGE OF DESERTION; NAVY AND MARINE CORPS: LIMITATION REMOVED. ACT MAY 24, 1900 (31 STAT. L.,
183).

Section 1. That chapter eight hundred and ninety, volume twenty-five, of the United States Statutes at Large, entitled
"An act to relieve certain appointed or enlisted men of the Navy and Marine Corps from the charge of desertion,"
approved August fourteenth, eighteen hundred and eighty-eight, be, and the same is hereby, revived and reenacted.

Sec. 2. That section five of the said act be, and is hereby, so amended as to remove the limitation of time within
which applications for relief may be received and acted upon under the provisions of said act.

REMOVAL OF CHARGE OF DESERTION: ARMY.

ACT MARCH 2, 1889 (25 STAT. L., 869).

Section 1. That the charge of desertion now standing on the rolls and records in the office of the Adjutant General of
the United States Army against any soldier who served in the late war in the volunteer service shall be removed in all
cases where it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of the Secretary of War, from such rolls and records, or
from other satisfactory testimony, that such soldier served faithfully until the expiration of his term of enlistment, or
imtil the first day of May, anno domini eighteen hundred and sixtyfive, having previously served six months or more,
and, by reason of absence from his command at the time the same was mustered out, failed to be mustered out and
to receive an honorable discharge, or that such soldier absented himself from his command, or from hospital while
suffering from wounds, injuries, or disease received or contracted in the line of duty and was prevented from
completing his term of enlistment by reason of such wounds, injuries, or disease.

Sec. 2. That the Secretary of War is hereby authorized to remove the charge of desertion from the record of any
regular or volunteer soldier in the late war upon proper application therefor, and satisfactory proof in the following
cases:

First. That such soldier, after such charge of desertion was made, and within a reasonable time thereafter,
voluntarily returned to his command and served faithfully to the end of his term of service, or until discharged.

Second. That such soldier absented himself from his command or from hospital while suffering from wounds, injuries,
or disease received or contracted in the line of duty, and upon recovery voluntarily returned to his command and
served faithfully thereafter, or died from such wounds, injuries, or disease while so absent, and before the date of
muster out of his command, or expiration of his term of service, or was prevented from so returning by reason of
such wounds, injuries, or diseases before such muster out or expiration of service.

Third. That such soldier was a minor, and was enlisted without the consent of his parent or guardian, and was
released or discharged from such service by the order or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction on habeas
corpus or other proper judicial proceedings; and in any such case no pay, allowance, bounty, or pension shall be
allowed or granted.

Sec. 3. That the charge of desertion now standing on the rolls and records in the office of the Adjutant General of
the Army against any regular or volunteer soldier who served in the late war of the rebellion by reason of his having
enlisted in any regiment, troop, or company, or in the United States Navy or Marine Corps, without having first
received a discharge from the regiment, troop, or company in which he had previously served, shall be removed in
all cases wherein it shall be made to appear to the satisfaction of the Secretary of War, from such rolls and records,
or from other satisfactory testimony, that such reenlistment was not made for the purpose of securing bounty or
other gratuity that he would not have been entitled to, had he remained under his original term of enlistment: that the
absence from the service did not exceed four months; and that such soldier served faithfully under his reenlistment.

Sec. 4. That whenever it shall appear from the official records in the office of the Adjutant General, United States
Army, that any regular or volunteer soldier of the late war was formally restored to duty from desertion by the
Commander competent to order his trial for the offense, or, having deserted and being charged with desertion, was,
on return to the service, suffered, without such formal restoration, to resume his place in the ranks of his command,
serving faithfully thereafter until the expiration of his term, such soldier shall not be deemed to rest under any
disability because of such desertion in the prosecution of any claim for pension on account of disease contracted or
wounds or injuries received in the line of his duty as a soldier.

Sec. 5. That when the charge of desertion shall be removed under the provisions of this act from the record of any
soldier, such soldier, or, in case of his death, the heirs or legal representatives of such soldier, shall receive the pay
and bounty due to such soldier: Provided, however, That this act shall not be so construed as to give to any such
soldier, or, in case of his death, to the heirs or legal representatives of any such soldier, any pay, bounty, or
allowance for any time during which such soldier was absent from his command without proper authority; nor shall it
be so construed as to give any pay, bounty, or allowance to any soldier, his heirs or legal representatives, who
served in the Army a period of less than six months.

Sec. 6. That the Secretary of War be, and he hereby is, authorized and directed to amend the military record of any
soldier who enlisted for the war with Mexico, upon proper application, where the rolls and records of the Adjutant
General's office show the charge of desertion against him, when such rolls and records show the facts set out in the
following cases:

First: That said soldier served faithfully the full term of his enlistment, or having served faithfully for six months or
more, and until the fourth day of July anno domini eighteen hundred and forty-eight, left his command without having
received a discharge.

[
Editors note: Another unknown selection of a date although this time for Mexican War]

Second. That such soldier, after said charge of desertion was entered on the rolls, voluntarily returned to his
command within a reasonable time and served faithfully until discharged.

Sec. 7. That the provisions of this act shall not be so construed as to relieve any soldier from the charge of
desertion who left his command from disaffection or disloyalty to the Government, or to evade *^e dangers and
hardships of the service, or whilst in the presence of the enemy (not being sick or wounded), or while in arrest or
under charges for breach of military duty, or in case of a soldier of the Mexican War, who did not actually reach the
seat of war.

Sec. 8. That when such charge of desertion is removed under the provisions of this act, the soldier shall be restored
to a status of honorable service, his military record shall be corrected as the facts may require, and an honorable
discharge shall be issued in those cases where the soldier has received none; and he shall be restored to all his
rights as to pension, pay, or allowances as if the charge of desertion had never been made; and in case of the
death of said soldier, his widow or other legal heir shall be entitled to the same rights as in case of other deceased
honorably discharged soldiers: Provided, That this act shall not be construed to give to any soldier, or his legal
representatives or heir, any pay or allowance for any period of time he was absent without leave, and not in the
performance of military duty.

Sec. 9. That all applications for relief under this act shall be made to and filed with the Secretary of War within the
period of three years from and after July first, eighteen hundred and eighty-nine, and all applications not so made
and filed within said term of three years shall be forever barred, and shall not be received or considered.

Sec. 10. That all acts and parts of acts inconsistent with the provisions of this act are hereby repealed.
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