[Inclosure Numbers 2.] AUDITOR'S OFFICE, Wheeling, May 27, 1863.
Major JOSEPH DARR,
DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 25th instant, requesting my opinion (in writing) upon the propriety of enforcing the late act of Congress providing for the calling into active service as much of the militia of the several States of the Union as in the opinion of the President the public exigency may require, is before me.
In reply I would most respectfully suggest that such a thing at this time would tend greatly to injure the Union cause in West Virginia. There is throughout the State an almost universal opinion that West Virginia has up to this time furnished more than her just proportion of the Union soldiers now in the field, and until the impression is removed (if false) the people of the State would not willingly respond to a call for more of her men. But if the fact stated be not true, and the people could be made to so understand it, it would be unnecessary or the Government to do more than to make the fact known and the loyal men of West Virginia would see that the State did her whole duty to the Union.
When all the loyal States of the Union are placed upon the same footing in this respect and more men are needed to put down the rebellion, West Virginia, will, without legal process, furnish the Government her just proportion of all, the men required.
West Virginia has no nine-months" or one-year's soldiers in the field. All of her sons entered for three years or during the war, and if more is required of her, she will give them also for the end of the war, but I know her proud sons will never submit to the disgrace of conscription.
Another fact not generally known is that in almost every county in the State there are volunteer companies raised and equipped by the State to defend themselves against the attack of guerrilla parties who constantly infest our borders, and these men could not be spared from their counties without depopulating the whole country. The Western and Northern States are free from this pestilence-their citizens when called into the service of the United States can leave their families and homes free from this danger.
Under the impression that she has furnished more than her just quota of Federal soldiers, and for the reason that to call them into the service away from home would endanger the safety of their families and property, I am of the opinion that any attempt arbitrarily to force the men of the State into the service at this time would be regarded by the people generally as highly injurious. Many I know who would if necessary go voluntarily would not submit to be drafted or conscripted.
We have also lately been raided upon by a large force of rebels and the Union men have been compelled to fly for safety to the Federal Army leaving their families, to the mercy of the rebels, and the Union sentiment is somewhat demoralized by this circumstance. I am, therefore, of the opinion that no attempt at this time should be made to execute this law in West Virginia.