War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0893 UNION AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records



Washington, October 19, 1863.

The attention of provost-marshals is especially called to the provisions of paragraph 37, Regulations for the Government of the Bureau of the Provost-Marshal-General of the United States.

When a man, arrested as a deserter by the officers or employes of this Bureau, claims that he is not a deserter, by reason of having been discharged from the service, or of never having been in the army, he shall not be forwarded from the provost-marshal's headquarters to any military post until he shall have been afforded a fair and ample opportunity to present proof in support of his claim.

It is made the special duty of provost-marshals to investigate all such cases carefully, thoroughly, and promptly. Evidence with regard to them can usually be obtained from official records, upon application direct to the Provost-Marshal-General.

In all doubtful cases the matter shall be at once reported to the acting assistant provost-marshal-general of the State for his orders as to holding or discharging the man.




Washington, D. C., October 19, 1863.


Secretary of War:

SIR: I have the honor to report for your information certain general facts connected with the draft as shown by reports made up to this time.

The machinery for executing the enrollment act is in complete working order. The law as it stands cannot be made to develop the entire military strength of the Nation, and the execution of it has been rendered exceedingly difficult by the efforts made in various ways to resist or evade it or to escape from its operation. Its fruits, therefore, are not as abundant as they will be from a perfected law and more thoroughly established system of executing it. All the advantages, however, which could reasonably have been expected from the law are accruing.

Its general principles distribute the burdens of military service fairly among those liable to bear them, but there is perhaps more generosity than justness in some of its humane provisions. With certain modifications, which can readily be made by Congress, the military strength of the country may be the direct and indirect operation of this act be surely and cheaply brought into the field.

Several of the Western States have not been subjected to the present draft on account of the excess of volunteers heretofore furnished, and from the same cause the quotas in other Western States are rendered quite small; the present draft is therefore but a partial one, and no specific total was established as the quota for it.

Of those drawn in the present draft, including the 50 per cent. additional, over 80 per cent. have reported in accordance with the orders of the boards. Of the 20 per cent. who have not reported many are not willful deserters, being unavoidably absent, at sea, and the like. The deserters are being arrested.

Of all examined, about 30 per cent. have been exempted on account of physical disability; about 30 per cent. have been exempted under