In reply thereto I beg leave to invite your attention to Department letter of July 27 addressed to Your Excellency, which letter was written at the request of Honorable J. B. Grinnell, M. C.
The letter above referred to will supply nearly all the information called for in your letter of the 24th, and it only remains to reply to such questions as are no provided for there.
Any number of companies less than a regiment that you can raise, will be accepted.
The troops raised under the authority given you in Department letter of the 27th instant will be credited to the State against any future draft.
The pay of the commissioned officers will be the same as that of other officers in the volunteers service.
I have the honor, &c.,
C. W. FOSTER,
Washington City, July 30, 1863.
His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW,
Governor of Massachusetts, Boston:
DEAR SIR: Your letter of 27th instant has been received and carefully considered. The subject referred to has been as maturely and anxiously reflected upon as any other question arising under the act to call out the national forces. The re- examination of the question has been influenced by my desire to conform to the views of one in whose patriotism and judgment I have great confidence. I am unable, however, to arrive at the conclusion which you desire. While I feel the force of your wish to increase the bounty, and thus render the law acceptable, as far as possible, allow me to suggest that this consideration may have induced you to lose sight of other considerations affecting the law that might hazard the general interests of the service.
You are aware that in the present condition of our armies it is absolutely necessary to fill up the old regiments. There is no question upon which the minds of all acquainted with the service are more fully agreed than upon this point. The draft now being made is only for the number estimated to be required for that purpose. The law has given to the President the power to assign the drafted meant to such regiments in their respective States as he may deem proper. The volunteer principle and the principle of the draft are different in this-that the volunteer hoses his position; whereas under the draft it is assigned to him by the national will, speaking through the Executive. If the volunteer principle is ingrafted into the act of Congress, it is incorporating a feature into the act which is not authorized by Congress. I think it the duty of the Department simply to execute the law. If drafted men may be becoming volunteers change their position in one particular, it may lead to fresh demands in others. They may require to be organized into new regiments, and thus leave the old regiments unfilled. I see no safety but to adhere to the law and not open the door to an infinite variety of consequences, the disturbing influences of which may not be readily controlled. While, therefore, I duly appreciate your feelings, I am