avoiding this disgrace to the Government. I do not think, however, that crime is as universal in this matter as would be inferred from your letter, and, as a general think, I am satisfied that the laws as it exists has been administered fairly toward the Government and individuals.
Up too this time 127,000 men have been examined and 53,000 exempted as not able-bodied. The proportion thus rejected is not near so large as that rejected for like cause in the ordinary recruiting service of the Army.
I have no disposition in this matter to criminate or recriminate, but I must say, with a view to future legislation, that so far as I can see there was quite as much to find fault with in the construction of the law as in its administration. It is essentially a law not to secure military service, but to exempt men from it.
I do not say this, however, as condemning the law; on the contrary, I think, considering the circumstances, the experiment tried by this act was perhaps as rigid as was best at the time. In the attempt by Congress to make the law humane and palatable there are so many conditions presented that it is very difficult to find a man who fulfills them all. The drafted man must be "able-bodied;" he must be between twenty and thirty-five (or forty five if unmarried); he must be mentally fit; he must not be Vice-President or U. S. judge, or the head of a Department or Governor of a State; he must not be the only son of a widow, &c., nor the only son of aged or infirm parents, nor one of two sons of aged or infirm parents, &c., nor the only brother of little children, &c., nor the father of motherless children, &c., nor one in a family where are already two in service, nor an alien; nor(by construction of law) must he have been in service himself on 3rd of March; nor must he have been either a principal or substitute under the draft of last year, even though the term of service had expired before the present draft; nor must he be a man improperly enrolled. All of this makes the man to be accepted a very peculiar individual and one not so readily found. In conclusion, I would remark that the law itself is not perfect, and there is, doubtless, to some extent, inefficiency and abuse in its execution; but I think the measure is a good one, and that it will eventually, after the improvements resulting from experience, prove useful to the country, and I should be sorry to see it abandoned without a more extended trial than it has yet had.
I am, sir very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. FRY,
Augusta, September 16, 1863.
Statement regarding the number of men furnished by Maine to the General Government since the commencement of the rebellion, exclusive of three-months" troops, to May 26, 1863. (See also exhibit.)
Number claimed by War Department as quota of Maine, calls of 1861, by exhibit transmitted September 5, 1863, from the Adjutant-General's Office, Washington, to the Governor
of Maine.................................... 17,560
Quota under call July 2, 1862............... 9,609
Total three -years" men claimed.............. 27,169
51 R R-SERIES III, VOL III