OFFICE ACTG. ASST. PROV. March General OF WAR DEPT.,
New York, June 1, 1863.
Colonel JAMES B. FRY,
COLONEL: I saw Mr. Whiting, Solicitor of the War Department, at 1 o"clock to-day; he told me, after being informed of the facts in relation to the seven men arrested on Saturday for refusing to give their names to the enrolling officer, that in his opinion section 25, of the conscription act does not authorize the arrest of any person who refuses his name or otherwise embarrasses the enrolling officer; that the penalties provided apply only to the cases of men who resist the draft, and that the enrollment is not "a service relating thereto," i.e., to the draft.
Mr. Whiting advised that detectives in sufficient number be appointed to follow the enrolling officers and ascertain by inquiries privately made the names of parties who have refused information to the enrolling officer. On Saturday afternoon after I telegraphed to you a writ of habeas corpus was issued by Judge McCunn, of this city, requiring me to produce the men before him forthwith.
The writ was defective in form. Mr. Glassey attended before the judge and procured the dismissal of the writ. I paroled the men until to-day, and under advice of Mr. Whiting discharged them upon their furnishing the information reburied by the enrolling officer. I shall be pleased to receive any instructions you may send on this subject.
I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Sixty-ninth, Regiment, Act. Asst. Prov. March General
Lancaster, Pa., June 1, 1863.
Colonel JAMES B. FRY,
Provost-Marshal-General United States, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 30th ultimo in relation to arrest of men who were drafted last fall, and would respectfully report:
That the greatest dissatisfaction exists in this district on account of the non-arrest of those men who were drafted and never reported for duty, and in pursuance of section 7 of the act for enrolling, &c., I considered it my duty to arrest all persons called into service under this or any other act of Congress, and accordingly authorized several persons to make arrests of drafted, men and deserters in various parts of the district and expect a number to be in to-day.
On the receipt of your communication I immediately sent notice to those authorized to make no more arrests and to report to me at once. I most respectfully submit that I consider it important for the good of the service that those men be arrested before another draft is made, as their being left at liberty is one of the most odious features of the former draft, and creates in the public mind a feeling of disregard for the laws in regard to drafting.
I, therefore, would most respectfully request to be instructed to arrest such persons, and to make such disposition of them as to you may seem proper, believing, as I do, that it will materially decrease the difficulties which will attend the new draft.