War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0104 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL'S OFFICE, Washington, March 28, 1863.


Secretary of War:

SIR: I have the honor to ask your attention to the following suggestions in reference to the enrollment act of March 3, 1863:

First. After establishing a good general basis upon which to found a complete system of enrollment and draft and to apprehend deserters an spies, the force to carry it out is not provided, nor is there specific authority conferred on the Provost-Marshal- General to provide the means.

Second. There is no money specially appropriated for the purposes of the act.

In regard to the first point, it is recommended that a selected old regiment be ordered to the State capital, or some more central point, in each State in which there is not now a reliable military force available, and that these regiments be under the control of the Provost-Marshal-General. It is also recommended that a gradual system be adopted and commenced at once of supplying the provost-marshals with detachments of that class of soldiers who, being unfit for the field, though fit for light duty, are now discharged from the service.

It is absolutely necessary for the provost-marshals to have deputies, clerks, agents, and other employed, and it is recommended that the Provost-Marshal-General be empowered to appoint, or authorize the appointment of such of these persons as may be deemed necessary in each case and to fix the rate of their compensation. In regard to the second point above, that there is no money especially appropriated, it is recommenced that the appropriation of ten millions for collecting, drilling, and organizing volunteers be transferred in whole or part to the Provost-Marshal-General's Department. This transfer it is all probability take the place of collecting volunteers, and the object-getting new troops into the field-is the same in both cases. There is still a million of dollars left of the dollars left of the old appropriation for collecting and drilling volunteers, which will probably be enough to wind up that business.

Section 16 provides that "all expenses connected with the arrest and return of deserters to their regiments, or such other duties as the provost-marshal shall be called upon to perform, shall be paid form the appropriation for arresting deserters, under such regulations as the President of the United States shall prescribe." Part of at these expenses will be incurred under the direction of the Provost-Marshal-General be authorized to employ as many clerks as may be found absolutely necessary and allow them the same rates of pay as allowed in the Adjutant-General's Department. By section 9 of the all act, the board of enrollment is authorized to divide the district into sub-districts, not exceeding two, without the direction of the Secretary