Author: Southern Claims Commission


“Standing Interrogatories,” Southern Claims Commission (1874)

In this version of its “Standing Interrogatories,” dated 1874, the Southern Claims Commission establishes the questions to be asked of claimants and witnesses attempting to receive reimbursement for the appropriation of property by Union armies during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Only southern Unionists were eligible, and the questionnaire was designed, in part, to establish a claimant’s loyalty. This is the third and final version of the commission’s interrogatories, expanded to more fully reflect the wide variety of Unionists the commissioners encountered.


Depositions for the Claim of Benjamin Summers (February 6, 1872)

In these depositions before an agent of the Southern Claims Commission, dated February 6, 1872, Benjamin Summers and two acquaintances report the loss of a horse to Union cavalry during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Summers was a free black during the war and needed to prove to the commission both that he supported the Union and that he owned the property that was taken. His responses to certain questions refer to the commission’s so-called Standing Interrogatories. James’s claim was approved.