WAR DEPT., PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL'S OFFICE, Washington, D. C., September 13, 1863.
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: I would respectfully ask for instruction in the following case:
One Antrim was duly enrolled and drafted in Philadelphia. He claimed exemption on the ground of being the only son of a widow dependent on his labor for support. The claim was rejected by the Board of Enrollment, and under the enrollment act he was held as a soldier in the military service of the United States. A writ of habes corpus was issued in his case by Judge Cadwalader, of the district court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Judge Cadwalader has delivered an extended opinion in this case declaring the enrollment act to be constitutional, but deciding that the clause of the enrollment act which says that the decision of the boards of enrollment as to the liability of drafted men to be held for service shall be final, means that the decision shall be final only as far as revision by military authorities is concerned, and that such cases may be appealed to the civil tribunals whenever the decision of the Board is adverse to the claim made for exemption. He also gives decisions on other minor points, which I think will prove injurious to the military service.
The necessity for having no appeal from the decision of the Board of Enrollment in questions of exemption is of the first importance to the military service and the word final used by the lawmakers in this instance seems to me to have been expressly intended to prevent the mischief arising from such appeal.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES B. FRY,
Unites States District Court, Judge Cadwalader.
The court was engaged yesterday with habeas corpus cases of drafted men where claims for exemption have been disallowed by the Board of Enrollment in their respective districts. These cases have multiplied greatly lately, and bid fair to occupy much the greater portion of the time of the court. They present the same general features as those already reported, and hardly merit the time spent on them.
WAR DEPT., PROV. March GENERAL'S OFFICE, No. 83.
Washington, D. C., September 14, 1863.
Men whose names were drawn in the draft ordered from the War Department August 9, 1862, and who on the 3rd of March, 1863, had substitutes in the service of the United States, are to be held as exempted from liability to service under the present draft.
JAMES B. FRY,