Black v. United StatesAnnotate this Case
91 U.S. 267 (1875)
U.S. Supreme Court
Black v. United States, 91 U.S. 267 (1875)
Black v. United States
91 U.S. 267
Where a contract provides for the transportation of military stores and supplies from certain posts, depots, or stations, or from and to any other posts, depots, or stations, that might be established within a described district or from one point to another within the route, held that Fort Phil. Kearney, being a military post, although not specifically named in the contract nor established after the date thereof, was "a point" where the contractor was required to receive military stores and supplies for transportation to another point within the route, and that he was entitled to payment under the contract and at the rates therein mentioned for the distance they were actually carried, but not to additional compensation for the travel of his unloaded teams in reaching that fort.
A contract was entered into between the United States and the claimants for the transportation of military stores and supplies on Route No. 1, west of the Missouri River, the material provisions of which are as follows:
"ARTICLE 1. That the said Black Kitchen & Martin shall receive at any time, in any of the months from April 1, 1868, to March 31, 1869, inclusive, from the officers or agents of the quartermaster's department at Fort D. A. Russell, in the Territory of Dakota, or such point as may be determined upon during the year on the Omaha branch of the Union Pacific Railroad, west of Fort D. A. Russell, or at Fort Laramie, Dakota Territory, all such military stores and supplies as may be offered or turned over to them for transportation, in good order and condition, by the officer or agent of the quartermaster's department at any or all of the above points or places and transport the same with dispatch, and deliver them in like good order and condition to the officer or agent of the quartermaster's department on duty or designated to receive them at any of the posts or depots that are now or may be established in the State of Nebraska, west of longitude 102 degrees; in the Territory of Montana, south of latitude 47 degrees; in the Territory of Dakota, west of longitude 104 degrees; in the Territory of Idaho,
east of longitude 114 degrees; and in the Territories of Utah and Colorado, north of latitude 40 degrees, including, if necessary, Denver City, or at any other points or posts on the route, agreeably to the instructions they may receive from the officer or other authorized agent of the quartermaster's department charged with the duty of forwarding the stores and supplies at Fort D. A. Russell or other place of departure; and for the faithful performance of such service they shall be paid in the manner hereinafter provided for in Art. XVII of this agreement, and at the rates specified and shown in the tabular statement hereto annexed and signed by the parties to this agreement, which statement is considered as part hereof."
"ART. II. That the said Black Kitchen & Martin agree and bind themselves, their heirs, executors, and administrators, to transport under this agreement, from the posts, depots, or stations named in Art. I, or from and to any other posts, depots, or stations that may be established within the district described in said article, any number of pounds of military stores and supplies from and between one hundred thousand pounds and twenty-five millions of pounds in the aggregate."
"ART. XIV. It is understood that if at any time stores or supplies are required to be transported back to any point on the road, or to any of the original points of departure, or from one point to another within the route, they shall be carried upon the same terms and conditions as herein provided."
"ART. XVII. For and in consideration of faithful performance of the stipulations of this agreement, the said Black Kitchen & Martin shall be paid at the office of the quartermaster's department at Omaha, Nebraska, in the legal currency of the United States, according to the distance supplies are transported, and agreeably to the rates specified in the tabular statement hereto annexed, signed by the parties to this agreement."
In order to execute a requirement of the quartermaster's department for the removal of stores from Fort Phil. Kearney, the claimants, having no teams at that post, were obliged to send them there from Fort D. A. Russell and Fort Fetterman. To recover $55,530 as compensation for the distance thus traveled this action was brought.
The petition was dismissed by the court below.