War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0709 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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WASHINGTON, D. C., August 22, 1863.

Major-General COUCH,

Chambersburg, Pa.:

The orders already sent to you are not to muster out nor consent to the mustering out of ninety-days" men until their term of service expires. If the Government musters them out he assumes the responsibility.

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief.

CIRCULAR

WAR DEPT., PROV. March GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 77.

Washington, D. C., August 24, 1863.

The following opinions of Colonel Joseph Holt, Judge-Advocate- General, are published for the information and guidance of all officers of this Bureau:

In the case where the father of motherless children under twelve years of age has married again.

Opinion. - The father of motherless children under twelve years of age dependent on his labor for their support is exempt, notwithstanding he may have married a second time and his wife be living. A stepmother is not believed to be a mother in the sense of the act.

In the case of a widow having two sons, one of whom is a cripple or invalid.

Opinion. - A widow having two sons, one of whom is a cripple or a hopeless invalid, disabled from disease for the military service, the other is exempt provided his mother is dependent on his labor for her support. The condition, however, of the invalid son must be no a temporary disability, but one chronic in its character.

In cases where deserters are offered as substitutes.

Opinion. - The Board of Enrollment is charged with the duty of determining whether a substitute offered is "acceptable" or not. The Board must necessarily have the power of ascertaining and whether he is a deserter, or whether he is under a present obligation to perform military service on his own account, which of course would disqualify him from serving as a substitute. Over this question they have an original jurisdiction and are not bound to await its solution by any other tribunal, civil or military. It is not necessary that the substitute presented should have been found or decided to be a deserter by a military court to justify the Board of Enrollment in declaring that he is not "acceptable." If he is proved before the Board to be a deserter, or if the testimony furnishes reasonable ground for the belief that he is so, he should be rejected. The obligations of the principal is certain and absolute, and cannot be canceled by a substitute of doubtful qualifications.

In the case where one son of aged or infirm parents is in the first class, and two or more in the second class.

Opinion. - Where there is one son in the first, and two or more in the second class, subject to draft, the latter are within the meaning of the fourth provision of the second section of the act as liable to draft.

In the case where only one of the parents is aged or infirm.

Opinion. - The only son of parents dependent in his labor for their support is not exempt, if but one of the parents is aged or infirm. The supposed disability which gives rise to the exemption must apply to both.

In the case where one son is in the service and another has furnished a substitute.

Opinion. - A son who has furnished a substitute should be treated as in the service for all the purposes of the exemption secured by the seventh clause of the second section of the act. It is the amount of contribution to the military service made