War of the Rebellion: Serial 065 Page 0627 Chapter XLVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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enforce conscription. I fully appreciate the necessity of adding every attainable man to the army. My material for executing the law is not such as I would select for efficient service. I endeavor to supply the defects by unremitted effort to enlighten, inspirit, and direct my officers. There are many grave impediments which I cannot overcome and which the law has failed to remove. State, executive, and judicial authority, popular disaffection, incomplete and indefinite classification, the want of authority for efficient organization, incompetent officers, all combine to render the service less productive than could be desired. In some of the State I have recently found a condition of chaotic confusion which renders the law utterly valueless for the supply of men to the army. I trust Congress will at an early day do something to remedy such evils as are within reach of law, and remove such impediments as prevent the due administration of the law. It this is done I think I can promise for the field, in time for the next campaign, every man the law provides for being sent there.

The privilege of volunteering has been and is greatly abused, especially in the State of South Carolina. For more than a year I have endeavored, without remission, to prevent this abuse and to remedy it. My protests, both as commandant and superintendent, have amounted almost to insolence to my superiors. I could send you a dozen documents in proof of my resistance to the injustice. I beg you to read the one I send, dated in April last, and referring to others of anterior date. I have continued making the like representations up to this time. You were present when I earnestly pressed the matter on the President. I venture to suggest that you would do much for the public service and for impartial justice if you could procure an order that no conscript should be assigned to, and no volunteer admitted into, a regiment which was in service in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida on the 1st day of June, 1863.

In a few days I will have the honor to communicate to you whether it will be needful for me to accept your offer to send me officers to "aid the enrolling officers in the different States."

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

JNO. S. PRESTON,

Colonel and Superintendent.

BUREAU OF CONSCRIPTION,

Richmond, January 22, 1864.

His Excellency President DAVIS:

SIR: In connection with the matter of General Lee's letter which you read to me, concerning the abuse of volunteering and assignment in South Carolina, I have the honor to submit the inclosed papers.

By these you will be informed that I have resorted to every prescribed means to prevent the evil, and have also, with the same view, exercised a large discretion. The remedy is not within the competency of the conscription authorities. On my recommendation the Secretary of War has sent a special inspector to examine and report on the subject. I venture to express the hope that General Lee's suggestion may be adopted.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. S. PRESTON,

Colonel and Superintendent.