War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0894 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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then of the act, or found not liable to military duty on account of alienage, unsuitableness of age, non- residence, &c. Those who are not liable to military duty and form no part of the national forces, and therefore have been erroneously enrolled, appear in the general reports of the boards among those exempted because their non-liability to serve could not be established until they came before the boards. The number of exemptions is thus made to appear much larger than it really is.

About 40 per cent. of the men examined have been held to service, and have either entered the Army in person, furnished substitutes, or paid commutation; of the remainder, about one- third have gone in person and two-thirds have furnished substitutes, and all, except a few in transit and a small proportion of deserters from among the earlier substitutes accepted, are in the ranks of their regiments in front of the enemy. It is fair to suppose that most of those who willfully fail to report and thus become deserters are physically fit for service. If they had been examined the proportion exempted for physical disability would have been reduced to about 25 per cent. The proportion of exemptions would be still further reduced by purging the enrollment lists before the draft of all cases of manifest unfitness and of aliens and others not liable to military duty, as may be done where this system of raising troops is well established.

The proportions above given are based upon the reports up to this time from the seventy-three Congressional districts where the draft has been completed, or has most nearly approached completion. Since the present rebellion began about 200,000 soldiers after entering service have been discharged on surgeon's certificate of disability. It is probable that at least one-half of them were unfit for service when received. It may be safely said that forty millions of money has been uselessly expended in bringing them into the field, to say nothing of their subsequent expense to the Government.

In Great Britain under the system of voluntary enlistments the rejections average over 27 per cent. In France, from 1831 to 1842, the average number of exemptions annually was 94,860, so that to secure the contingent of 80,000 men 174,860 conscripts were annually examined. Of the recruits who presented themselves for enlistment in our Regular Army in 1862 70 per cent. were rejected for physical infirmities, exclusive of age or stature. Between 1st of January and 1st of July last more than one-half were rejected. These were men who desired to be accepted. These proportions are of interest in connection with the fact that less than one-third of the drafted men who desired not to be accepted have been exempted on account of physical unfitness. There have been but few cases of incompetency, fraud, neglect, or abuse in the examination of drafted men. These men have, however, in many ways been swindled by rogues having no connection with the boards of enrollment, as, for example, the fact that certain drafted men were physically unfit for service has become known to these sharpers, when it was perhaps not known to the men themselves, and they have so far imposed upon the ignorance or credulity of the drafted men as to get from them sums of money to secure an exemption to which the rogues knew they were entitled and would surely receive, and the drafted men, finding themselves exempted as promised, have sometimes thought and given out that they secured exemption by bribery of drafting officers, whereas they were legally entitled to exemption and have themselves been swindled by sharpers.