to. But while the rebel authorities suffer this Government to feed and clothe our troops held as prisoners, we shall be content to continue to their prisoners in our hands the humane treatment they have uniformly enjoyed.
The operation of the act of Congress for enrolling and calling out the national forces is exhibited in the accompanying report of the Provost-Marshal-General.* At the time that law was enacted it was knows to be very imperfect, many intelligent persons considering its execution wholly impracticable while few dared to hope for any important benefit. The law has been enforced in twelve States. It has brought from these States 50,000 soldiers, and has raised a fund of over $10,000,000 for procuring substitutes. With all its imperfection it is demonstrated that the act can be made an efficient means for recruiting our armies and calling out the national forces. The principal imperfection and the required amendments will be submitted to Congress through the appropriate committees. The most important to be considered is what is called the $300 commutation. This feature of the act has been much discussed, and opposing opinions are nearly balanced as to the operation and effect of this provision. While some claim that it is oppressive upon poor men and favors the rich, others contend that it places rich and poor on an equal footing, and enables the poor man to obtain exemption from military duty for a sum within the reach of every one. Without undertaking to reconcile or decide between conflicting opinions, it is certain that this clause of exemption as it stands, occasions delay in calling out the military force. The drafted man is exempted, at the end of a long proceeding by the payment of a sum of money. Supposing that sum to be adequate for procuring a substitute, considerable time unavoidably elapses before a competent substitute can be procured. The question whether this clause shall remain or be stricken out requires the early attention of Congress. The fund of $10,000,000 raised by the act as commutation money is deposited with the U. S. assistant treasurers, and is being applied to procuring substitutes by the payment of bounties and premiums.
Volunteering is going on in some States with much spirit. The prime importance of filling up the old regiments and the superiority of such force over new regiments is a point on which all milita. The bounty paid by the Government is therefore limited to volunteers who go into old regiments or to veteran regiments that renew their term of service. To veteran volunteers going into old regiments the maximum bounty of the Government is paid. Reports from the armies indicate that a large proportion of the troops whose term expires next year will re-enlist, it being stipulated by the Government that they shall have at least one month's furlough before their present term expires. The indications are that the force required will in a great measure, be raised by volunteering without draft. It is proper to add that commanding generals bear testimony that the drafted men who have gone into the ranks acquit themselves well and make good soldiers. An immediate appropriation for bounties should be made.
An Invalid Corps has been organized under the direction of the Provost-Marshal-General. In the sanguinary battles and engagements of this war, and by camp diseases, many officers, and soldiers have been disabled for active service who are yet able to perform duty in garrison, or as depot and prison guards, military police and
*See p. 1046.