As I have before reported, all the men furnished by New York up to the time of making up the quotas for draft June 11 were credited to the State and deducted from the quotas. The number of volunteers furnished by New York between January 1 and July 9 is 6,922, as shown by my report of August 10. Assuming the Governor's statement that "the State has paid bounties to about 9,000 volunteers between the 1st of January" at this time, say 21st of August, as proving that many had been mustered in, it will appear probable that so far as we are able to judge from the date at hand about 2,000 men have been furnished since the quotas were made up, and for this number, not a very large one, the State of New York cannot receive credit until the making up of quotas for the next draft. It is very plain that if a draft is to take place there must be some time adopted for closing up the account of volunteers to be credited, and the right and proper time is the time when quotas are made up.
I never received and never saw a letter from Governor Seymour of the 12th instant, a copy of which is appended to the Governor's letter of the 21st instant to the President.* Since reading the copy of said letter I have had special search made through my office, and find nothing to indicate that such a communication ever reached this department. The questions presented in that letter as understood from the copy are answered by the statements hereinbefore made, viz, that credits for volunteers are given to the State up to the time that quotas for draft are made up; that said credits are prepared in the War Department.
The letter of Inspector-General Miller, dated August 10 and addressed to me, depicting the "outrages," as he terms them, committed upon New York by agents from other States in the matter of procuring recruits and substitutes, asking that a general order be published to prevent the same, was duly received. It had never occurred to me that the practice complained of, which is general throughout the United States, was especially outraging New York. I knew, however, that the subject was one of interest and importance and I had for a long time had it under consideration. Immediately on receipt of Inspector-General Miller's letter it was referred to Colonel Holt, Judge-Advocate- General, for his opinion as to the legality and propriety of an order such as General Miller presented. The paper was returned to me on the 24th instant indorsed as follows:
August 24, 1863.
The position taken by the Governor of New York is not regarded as sustained either by the letter or spirit of the enrollment act. The State in which a drafted man is enrolled is necessarily credited with one soldier, whether such drafted man enters the service personally, or furnishes a substitute, or pays the communication money. If such person employs a substitute and that substitute chances to be from another State, then this latter State, according to the Governor's view, must also be credited with one soldier, so that the practical operation of the rule would be to debit the Government with two soldiers, when in fact it receives but one. Such an interpretation should not be allowed to prevail, since it has no foundation in reason and is in derogation of the leading object of the enrollment act, which is to provide an army for the public defense, an object that would be but illy accomplished if in the computation one soldier is to be counted to the Government as two.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES B. FRY,
* See inclosure Numbers 1, p. 705.