Moser (plaintiff) was a cadet at the Naval Academy during the Civil War. Upon retirement as a captain, he sued the United States (defendant) in the Court of Claims for the difference between the pay of a captain and a rear admiral pursuant to a United States statute. The statute provided that any retired officer of the Navy who served during the Civil War would receive the pay of the next higher rank. The United States argued that Moser’s service at the Naval Academy did not constitute service during the Civil War, and thus, the statute did not apply. However, the court entered judgment in favor of Moser. Thereafter, in a suit by Jasper, a similarly situated plaintiff, the Court of Claims considered a statute it had ignored in Moser’s case and denied Jasper recovery. In three subsequent actions by Moser, including this action, for later installments of salary, the Court of Claims declined to follow the Jasper case on the grounds that its judgment in Moser’s original action concluded the question as to the application of the statute to Moser. The United States appealed.