Any soldier, or any army unit, was responsible to the Government for any equipment lost or destroyed. If a soldier lost any equipment, his pay would be docked for the value of the equipment.
Many times, the soldier would have to pay for the equipment when he mustered out of the service. Often, at muster out, he would be paid any bounty or bonus due him. Often, the "stop" would be taken out of this money.
One of my ancestors spent 8 months in Andersonville (during the Civil War). When he was released, the Army docked him for the equipment lost when he was captured.
When Pershing entered Mexico to chase Pancho Villa, an often-told story was of the Regimental Quartermaster reporting that a mule had fallen into a canyon and killed. He had been carrying at least 10 tons of equipment issued to the Regiment; equipment lost and never reported since the Civil War.
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