I wish you would do all you can to facilitate the creation of this corps. It is the intention to put into it only those who are unfit for field service; thus the rolls of troops in the field will be relieved of these absentees and their places can be filled with drafted men. All men now necessarily kept about hospitals will thus come on the rolls of Invalid Corps instead of being on detached service from their various companies.
Those required as attendants, &c., about general hospitals should be put into companies together and kept were they are under their new company officers, and all others sent to Colonel Alexander to be organized into companies for provost-guards in the different Congressional districts. The board I asked you to detail was to hurry the organization of those now at hospitals and convalescent camps in your department. I want to make up all the available companies I can to send to those Congressional districts which are likely to be troublesome in the draft. Can"t you help me in it? I know you have your own troubles and labors, but you can bear"em.
JAMES B. FRY.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Near Vicksburg, June 19, 1863.
Honorable A. LINCOLN,
President of the United States:
SIR: I beg leave very respectfully to call your particular attention to the inclosed letter from Major General W. T. Sherman to me on the subject of filling the old regiments of the Army from the contemplated draft. I would add that our old regiments, all that remains of them, are veterans equaling regulars in discipline, and far superior to them in the material of which they are composed. A recruit added to them would become an old soldier, from the very contact, before he was aware of it.
Company and regimental officers, camp and garrison equipage, transportation and everything are already provided. He would cost Government nothing but his pay and allowances, and would render efficient services from the start. Placed in a new organization all these things are to be provided. Officers and men have to go through months of schooling, and, from ignorance of how to cook and provide for themselves, the ranks become depleted one-third before valuable services can be expected.
Taken in an economic point of view, one drafted man in an old regiment is worth three in a new one.
I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Walnut Hill, June 2, 1863.
DEAR GENERAL: I would most respectfully suggest that you use your personal influence with President Lincoln to accomplish a result on which it may be the ultimate peace and security of our country depends. I mean to his use of the draft to fill up our old regiments.