Regulations for the government of the United States Navy (1865)

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Section 2.


770 Persons enlisted for the naval service, and serving on board vessels within the United States, may be discharged by order of the Commanding Officer of a vessel acting singly, squadron, or station, for either of the following reasons, but not otherwise, except by the authority of the Department : Expiration of service, sentence of a general or summary court-martial, or unfitness for service from causes ascertained by survey to have existed prior to enlistment.

771 Enlisted persons found by survey unfit for the naval service from causes originating subsequent to their enlistments may, at their own request, if judged expedient, be discharged in the United States by the authority of the Department, but not otherwise.

772 As a prerequisite for granting a discharge to any enlisted person in the naval service, under any circumstances, before the expiration of his time, a favorable recommendation from the Commanding Officer of the vessel or station to which the person belongs is indispensable, else no application to the Department on the subject will be entertained.

773 Persons claiming to be legally entitled to their discharge, on the score of being minors or aliens, must apply to the courts having cognizance of such cases.

774 No person enlisted for the naval service shall be discharged whilst absent from the United States, except by order of the Secretary of the Navy, or by the sentence of a general court-martial: Provided, however, that upon the expiration of the term of his enlistment, any person whose detention on board may not " be very essential to the public interests" may be discharged upon his own request in writing, by order of the Commander-in-Chief or of the senior officer present ; and the fact that the request was so made shall be stated on the face of the discharge. Whenever a discharge shall be given for any of the reasons above mentioned, a report of all the circumstances shall be made to the Navy Department, and information shall be given to the nearest Consul of the United States, that he may regulate his conduct towards the person so discharged, with a full knowledge of the facts.

775 Every discharge paper, whether honorable or otherwise, issued to a person of the Navy must contain upon its face or back (see forms 22 and 23) a full and complete descriptive list of the individual to whom it is given.

776 Petty officers appointed by the Commanding Officer, or with his approval, shall not be discharged before the expiration of the term for which they agreed to serve, except by sentence of a court-martial, by order of superior authority, or for good and sufficient reasons, of which the Commanding Officer will be the judge. The latter will never authorize such discharges for the purpose of avoiding a court-martial, nor until he is satisfied that the public interests will not be injured thereby. Hospital and Paymaster Stewards and Nurses are never to be discharged without the consent of the officers appointing them or their successors, except by sentence of a court-martial.

777 A Yeoman shall in no case be discharged during the continuance of the cruise for which he engaged to serve, until his accounts shall have been examined and the stores under his charge found correct.

778 A Yeoman is not to be discharged at the expiration of a cruise until his accounts have been audited and approved by the Commandant of the yard, as required by the Ordnance and other instructions. If found correct, the Commandant of the yard will then give him a discharge ; but if not so found, that officer is at once to make to the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting, or to the Bureau of Ordnance, as the case may require, a statement of deficiencies, covering their amounts, and of any circumstances which may have come to his knowledge attending them, for the decision of the Department.

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