Title: Amos T. Akerman to William W. Belknap, 28 December 1871
Date: December 28, 1871
Source: Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: National Archives and Records Administration
Whitman Archive ID: nar.03593
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, John Schwaninger, Anthony Dreesen, and Melanie Krupa
Dec. 28, 1871.
Hon. Wm. W. Belknap,
Secretary of War.
Referring to your letters of November 1st and 18th, on the subject of the am?ccount of Benjamin F. Tracy, Esq. District Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, for professional services rendered in the injunction suit to restrain the Government from prosecuting its work at Hallett's Point, East River, in New York, I have the honor to say that the only difficulty in the case grows out of the fact that the service of Mr. Tracy does not appear to have been rendered at the direction of the Department of Justice. The seventeenth section of the Act to establish the Department of Justice, (16 U.S. Stats. 164,) prohibits the Heads of other Departments from employing counsel at the expense of the United States. If Mr. Tracy was employed by the War Department after that Act took effect, the employment seems to have been irregular.
But if you are satisfied that the services of counsel in the case were necessary to the Government, I feel willing to treat it as an exceptional case, and to ratify the employment and pay him.
Very respectfully, &c.
A. T. Akerman,
acc't of B. F. Tracy, N. Y.