The distribution of prize money, or of the proceeds of the sale of ships or goods adjudged by courts of admiralty to be good prize, is carefully regulated by statutes of the United States. The 10th section of the act of June 30, 1864, provides as follows: "The net proceeds of all property condemned as prize shall, when the prize was of superior or of equal force to the vessel or vessels making the capture, be decreed to the captors; and when of inferior force, one half shall be decreed to the United States and the other half to the captors: provided that, in case of privateers and letters of marque, the whole shall be decreed to the captors, unless it shall be otherwise provided in the commissions issued to such vessels. All prize money adjudged to the captors shall be distributed in the following proportions, namely: 1. To the commanding officer of a fleet or squadron, one twentieth part of all prize money awarded to any vessel under his immediate command. 2. To the commanding officer of a division of a fleet or squadron, on duty under the orders of the commander-in-chief of such fleet or squadron, a sum equal to one fiftieth part of any prize money awarded to a vessel of such division for a capture made while under his command, the said fiftieth part to be deducted from the moiety due to the United States, if there be such moiety, otherwise from the amount awarded to the captors: provided that such fiftieth part shall not be in addition to any share which may be due to the commander of the division, and which he may elect to receive as commander of a single ship making or assisting in the capture. 3. To the fleet captain, one hundredth part of all prize money awarded to any vessel or vessels of the fleet or squadron in which he is serving, except in case where the capture is made by the vessel on board of which he is serving at the time of such capture, and in such case he shall share in proportion to his pay with the other officers and men on board such vessel, as is hereinafter provided. 4. To the commander of a single ship, one tenth part of all the prize money awarded to the ship under his command, if such ship at the time of the capture was under the command of the commanding officer of a fleet or squadron, or a division, and three twentieths if his ship was acting independently of such superior officer. 5. After the foregoing deductions, the residue shall be distributed and proportioned among all others doing duty on board (including the fleet captain), and borne upon the books of the ship, in proportion to their respective rates of pay in the service.
No commanding officer of a fleet or squadron shall be entitled to receive any share of prizes captured by any vessel or vessels not under his command, nor of such prizes as may have been captured by any ships or vessels intended to be placed under his command, before they have acted under his orders; nor shall the commanding officer of a fleet or squadron, leaving the station where he had command, have any share in the prize's taken by ships left on such station after he has gone out of the limits of his said command, nor after he has transferred his command to his successor. No officer or other person who shall have been temporarily absent on duty from a vessel on the books of which he continued to be borne, while so absent, shall be deprived, in consequence of such absence, of any prize money to which he would otherwise be entitled. And he shall continue to share in the captures of the vessel to which he is attached until regularly discharged therefrom."