Dear Ms. Wright,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
U.S. Army pay scales for 1853 are located on pages 196 though 199 of the 1853 Official Register of the United States. Monthly salaries are expressed in dollars. No particular type of coinage is specified. According to The US Army and the Texas Frontier Economy: 1845 - 1900, in the antebellum army “... the medium of army payment was hard specie - either gold or silver coin…” and it also includes references of theft of both gold and silver from Army paymasters. You also may be interested in The History of U.S. Circulating Coins by the U.S. Mint and the U.S. Coin List for information about the types of coinage in circulation at the time.
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Letters Sent, 1808 - 1889; Letters Received, 1799 - 1912; Decision Books, 1817 - 1904; and Registers of Payments to Troops, 1841 - 1913 in the Records of the Office of the Paymaster General, 1791 - 1917 (Record Group 99) that may have further information on this topic. For more information about these records please email the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at Archives1reference@nara.gov.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!