The numerous applications made by various towns and other small organizations soon satisfied me that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find any principle of adjustment which would apply to all or even any great number of cases. I was under the impression that the scheme devised and suggested to Governor Seymour and others would be of some practical effect, which was to ascertain the names of men claimed to have been furnished, and compare them with muster-in rolls on file ion the War Department.
In one or two instances where this has been attempted it is found to be a very extensive labor, and no adequate results have been arrived at, and the time which would be taken up with the claims of all who choose to make then would cause so much delay as to defeat the object in view and also interfere seriously with other important business.
An earnest and faithful effort has been made to carry out the plan, but the very effort has brought out so many difficulty and complications which I did not foresee, and developed so many obstacles which cannot be overcome, that I am at last compelled to abandon the idea.
I wrote to Governor Andrew under the impression that the matter was one affecting only a limited section, and which could be quickly attended to, but it has so much increased that now, even if the claims of towns could all be adjusted and granted, it would almost neutralize the effect of the draft, and to raise men enough from the few towns which admit a deficiency would be impossible. While I thus frankly admit my inability to do what I contemplated, and give my reasons for it, I can at least ask and hope for acquiescence in a decision which has become unavoidable. The previous action of towns and counties in excess show that they posses a patriotic sense of the necessity, the absolute necessity, of pressing to a victory conclusion the war upon which we stand or fall as a nation, and of providing men and means for the purpose. I therefore rely upon their patriotism, their interest in a return of peace and prosperity, to abate a little their claims for previous generosity, and, if drafted, to assume cheerfully the honor which awaits them of being the winners of the last victory.
No one appreciates more than I do the propriety of making and even insisting upon having due credit allowed for the services already rendered and the sacrifices already endured, but in attempting this it will not do to yield the great point of providing means of making a sp 1,000 men now may save the necessity of calling for 10,000 in the future.
It is proper for me to inform you also that the Secretary of war has decided that he has no authority under the laws of Congress to deduct the overplus of volunteers which may have been furnished by towns from the quota now ordered by draft from those towns.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. FRY,
WASHINGTON, August 29, 1863.
Your dispatch of this date [28th] having been referred to the Secretary of War he directs me to say that enlistments authorized by yourself and Governor Johnson will be approved by the Department,
47 R R - SERIES II, VOL III