This scheme of fraud has certainly been conceived and prosecuted without the knowledge of the Provost-Marshal-General. I found that gentleman not only ready to supply the fullest information, but also anxious to obtain a knowledge of every wrong or injustice. The President also was decided in the expression of his views to the same effect, and was earnest and emphatic in the assurances he desired me to convey to you that every substantial wrong or error pointed out to him should be corrected. We must look to the irresponsible cabal outside, which has often perverted the present contest to uses worse than partisan, for the source of this iniquity. It is now fully exposed. If justice is done it will be corrected. If not, whether it is carried out with more or less success, it will remain in history as a gigantic political fraud.
How shall the wrong be corrected? The conscription act evidently intended that the enrollment should be purged before the draft, but this course has into been pursued. Without it a new enrollment would not be effective to remedy the wrong. Colonel Fry, upon my pointing out the over-enrollment, immediately suggested the remedy which he has expressed in his letter, and has since carried out, partially, in a circular to his subordinates. In his letter he says that non-residents and aliens "if drawn in the draft will be discharged and their places are not to be filled by the district, the 50 per cent. additional to the quota being called for only to supply vacancies caused by exemptions granted under the law to residents of the districts."
I understand this rule to be founded on the principle that the place of no person wrongly enrolled and drawn is to be supplied, and that the 50 per cent. additional is only to make good the exemptions allowed by the second section of the conscription act. If so, the draft of persons of the following classes will be a nullity and their places will not be supplied, viz:
First. Persons not residing in the districts in which they are drawn.
Second. Aliens who have not declared their intentions to become citizens.
Third. Persons under twenty or over forty-five years of age, or if unmarried, over thirty-five.
Fourth. Persons in the military service of the United States on the 3rd of March, 1863.
Fifth. Unknown persons. If the enrollment was fictitious, of course it should amount to nothing; if it was not, the law makes the enrolled person a deserter and puts upon the Government the duty of obtaining his services.
I further understand that by Colonel Fry's rule the 50 per cent. additional draft is to be used only to supply vacancies caused by the drawing of persons not embraced in either of the above classes, but who are exempted under the second section of the conscription act, such persons being of the following classes, and none other, viz:
First. Those physically or mentally unfit.
Second. The only sons, or one of the sons if there be more than one, of aged, infirm, or widowed parents, and the only brothers of orphan and the fathers of motherless children, in the cases specified in the act.
Third. Two persons from every familia and household of father and sons, from which two persons have already been supplied to the military service of the United States.
The distinction between the classes of places to be supplied, and of places not to be supplied, should be clearly and fully understood, and