Title: Petition of Moses Kelly, 23 December 1862

Date: December 23, 1862

Source Text: A microfilm reproduction of the original document held at the National Archives and Records Administration, Microcopy 520, Reel 6. The original document is held in the Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury, 1775–1978, National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 217.6.5. Within the National Archives' Archival Description Catalog, see ARC Identifier 4644616 / MLR Number A1 347 (http://arcweb.archives.gov).

Civil War Washington ID: cww.01084

TEI/XML: cww.01084.xml



To the Commissioners under the act of Congress approved the 16th of April, 1862, entitled "An act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia."

Your Petitioner, Moses Kelly, administrator [WA?] of William W. Russell, late of the District of Columbia, deceased, by this his petition in writing, represents and states, that said Russell was is a person loyal to the United States, who, at the time of the passage of the said act of Congress, held a claim to service or labor against George Ross and Ellen Bumbra persons of African descent of the names of above given for and during the life of said George Ross and Ellen Bumbra and that by said act of Congress said George Ross and Ellen Bumbra were discharged and freed of and from all claim of your petitioner said Russell to such service or labor; that at the time of said discharge said George and Ellen were of the ages of sixty three and thirty five years, respectively, or thereabout, and of the personal description following:(1) George, dark colored, about five feet seven inches in heighth​ active and intelligent, and Ellen, a mulatto, about five feet and five inches in heighth​, large and strong


That your petitioner said Russell acquired his claim to the aforesaid service or labor of said George and Ellen in manner following:(2) by marriage his wife, having inherited the same from her parents

That your petitioner's said Russell's claim to the service or labor of said George and Ellen was, at the time of said discharge therefrom, of the value of twelve hundred dollars in money.(3)George being valued at $300 and Ellen, who is a good cook and house servant at $900

Your petitioner hereby declares that said Russell bore bears true and faithful allegiance to the Government of the United States, and that he has not borne arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid or comfort thereto.

And your petitioner further states and alleges, that said Russell has not brought said George and Ellen into the District of Columbia since the passage of said act of Congress; and that, at the time of the passage thereof, said George and Ellen were was held to service or labor therein under and by virtue of your petitioner's claim to such service or labor.

Your petitioner further states and alleges, that the said claim to the service or labor of said George and Ellen does not originate in or by virtue of any transfer heretofore made by any person who has in any manner aided or sustained the present rebellion against the Government of the United States.

And your petitioner prays the said Commissioners to investigate and determine the validity of the said claim to the service or labor of said George and Ellen herein above set forth; and if the same be found to be valid, that they appraise and apportion the value of said claim in money, and report the same to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, in conformity to the provisions of said act of Congress.

(Signed by)
Moses Kelly, administrator W. A. of William W. Russell.
  • George Ross—$250—
  • Ellen Bumbra—800—

[Form of the Oath for the Verification of the Petition.]

I, Moses Kelly, administrator W. A. of William W. Russell being duly sworn, do depose and say, that all the several matters and things which are set forth and stated in the foregoing petition, as of my own knowledge, are true in substance and in fact; and that all the several other matters and things therein set forth and stated, as from the information of others, I believe to be true in substance and in fact.

(Signed by)
Moses Kelly, administrator W. A. of William W. Russell, decd

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 18th day of December A. D. 1862.

(Signed by)
Wm R. Woodward Clk​.
Moses Kelly admin
William W. Russell
18 Dec 186—
Filed Decr 23, 1862.

On the 18th inst​ you allowed me to present a claim for compensation for services due by George Ross, and Ellen Bumbra, persons of African descent, to late Paymaster William W. Russel, of the Marine Corps. (said George and Ellen having been discharged therefrom by Act of Congress approved 16th April last.) estimating the value of those services at twelve hundred dollars.

The Second Section of the act under which this claim arises provided "that all persons loyal to the United States, holding claims to service or labor against persons discharged therefrom by this act, may, within ninety days from the passage thereof, but not thereafter, present to the Commissioners hereinafter mentioned their respective statements or petitions in writing" respecting such claims. These "statements or petitions" were also required to be supported by the personal affidavit of the claimant in such case, and as Major Russell was actively engaged in the Army near Richmond at the date of the passage of the Act and continued so to be for more than three months thereafter, it was impossible for him to present his claim within the time prescribed by it.

The Act of 16th April was so amended by Act of 12th July last, as to allow "resident absentees" to present their claims by Attorneys or Agents, and "persons in the Military   or Naval Service of the United States" to verify their statements before "any commander of any military post, or of any Officer having a separate command of any military force in the field, or before any Captain, Commander, or Lieutenant commanding in the Navy." It did not, however, extend the time for presenting claims beyond the ninety days originally allowed, and hence it afforded no relief to Major Russell, as he could not by any possibility have heard of its passage until after the expiration of that period

Thomas Hutchingson Esq.​ who was a clerk to Major Russell, has furnished me the following statement in relation to the absence of that Officer from Washington, and he will no doubt verify the same by his affidavit if requested to do so.

"In regard to the absence of Major Russell, about which you inquired yesterday, I would state that on the 10th March 1862, he was attached to the Army as Aid to Genl​ McClellan, and left Washington with the troops on that day. The army being near Alexandria, he occasionally visited Washington up to the 28th March, which is the last day he was at this Office within that month. He left the City on the 29th or 30th of that month, and did not return until the 23d or 24th of July '62, being constantly present at the Head Qrs.​ of Genl​ McClellan's Army, during the entire period of his absence. He left this City again on the 3d of August on business at the north, and returned on or about the 20th   August, very sick, and remained in his rooms from that time until the 10th September, 1862, when he resumed the duties of his Office."

When it is remembered that Major Russell was a Paymaster in the Marine Corps, whose entire time could have been well employed in the discharge of his own appropriate duties, and, that, notwithstanding this, his zeal in behalf of his country led him to exchange the quiet office for the field of battle, I cannot doubt that you will regard his case a particularly meritorious, and the claim presented on behalf of his estate as justly entitled to your most favorable consideration.

Requesting this statement to be filed, and considered part of my petition in the case

I have the honor to remain Very respectfully Your Ob'tServ't
Moses Kelly
Administrator W. A. of William W. Russell.
To the Board of Commissioners of Emancipation for the District of Columbia

United States of America,

To all to whom these Presents shall Come, Greeting:

Know ye, That on the 16th day of December in the year of our Lord 1862, Letters of Administration W. A. of all and singular the goods, chattels, and credits, which were of Maj.William W. Russell late of the U. S. Marine Corps deceased, was, by the Orphans' Court of Washington County aforesaid, granted committed unto Moses Kelly of Washington D.C. the said Moses Kelly having first entered into bond, with approved securities, for the faithful performance of the duties thereof.

William F. Purcell Esq
Judge of the Orphans' Court of Washington County, District of Columbia, this 23rd day of December Anno Domini 1862
Z. C. Robbins
Register of Wills.
Moses Kelly adr​ of Russell
Ellen dont know age—hired her 3 years bad teeth. Cook worth $7—health good—strong no children ([can say?] 35 years)
Andrew Mcheffy I recognize servant as Major Russels servant title through wife. Major Russel was I believe loyal—[children all valued?]
George Rose, 62 or 63 Saw wood &c paid master $8 a month & clothed & supported myself rheumatism.
Major Geo Bender. Recognize property of [May Bowie?] then Mrs [Flitch?] then Major Russel by his wife— Major Russel was loyal $259

 Note (1.)-- Here describe the person, so as to identify him or her; and if there be more than one slave, describe each one separately.

 Note (2.)-- Here state how the claim was acquired, when, from whom, and for what price or consideration; and, if held under any written evidence of title, make exhibit thereof, or refer to the public record where the same may be found.

 Note (3.)-- Here state such facts, if any there be, touching the value of the petitioner's claim to the service or labor of the person, as may enhance the same, and also such facts, if any, touching the moral, mental, and bodily infirmities or defects of said person, as impair the value of the petitioner's claim to such service or labor, and conclude such statement with an averment that the petitioner knows of no other infirmities or defects of said person which impair the value of petitioner's claim to such service or labor, and that he believes none other to exist. If the petitioner specify no such infirmity or defect, then his statement touching the value of his claim should conclude with an averment that he has no knowledge of any such infirmity or defect.

Transcription and encoding: Janel Cayer, Elizabeth Lorang, and Kenneth J. Winkle.