money was insufficient on account of success in raising a large number of men, the burdens on the Treasury would be distributed through so long a time as to be light.
This system and the orders establishing it were very maturely considered and discussed by the Secretary of War, General Halleck, Colonel Fry, Colonel Townsend, General Meigs, Colonel Hardie, and Major Vincent. The subject was discussed also with the Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury. The Secretary of the Treasury upon one occasion suggested that the commutation money should be distributed among the drafted men who might serve in person.
Recruiting under the present system is just now in full operation, and if it had been permitted to continue a few weeks longer, instead of being checked after the 5th of January by law lately passed, a large proportion of the troops whose terms expire next spring, summer, and fall would have been re-enlisted for three years or the war, and some States and many districts would have furnished in addition their full quota under the President's call of October 17 for 300,000 recruits for old regiments. As it is, some enlistments and re-enlistments will be obtained before the date fixed. All the bounties expended under the present call to secure the re-enlistment of veterans and the enlistment of recruits for veteran regiments would probably be eventually saved by the influence of such troops in shortening the war and eventually reducing the expenditures of the Government.
In my official report (extract herewith) I have stated how the commutation money has been received, deposited, accounted for, and disbursed, and submitted a return showing the condition of it;* and in my letters to you of the 15th instant (copies herewith+), the formula in relation to turning this money into the Treasury, and the letter commenting upon an extract from the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, I have stated that this money has been disposed of in accordance with law and with the views of the Secretary of the Treasury, as he expressed them in an interview between him and yourself for the purpose of considering this subject and at which I was present.
I am not aware that any financial operations connected with the raising of troops have been commenced or carried on in opposition to the views of the Secretary of the Treasury. The resolution lately passed requiring the money from the draft to be deposited in the Treasury and held as a special deposit for the draft, &c., was presented to him by me and he objected to that part of it requiring the money to go in as a special deposit, and in transmitting the draft of the resolution to the Military Committee of the Senate I marked clearly the part to which he objected, and in a letter to the chairman of the Military Committee informed him that the Secretary of the Treasury objected to that part of the resolution.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES B. FRY,
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, December 26, 1863.
Quartermaster-General, Nashville and Chattanooga:
The operations of the active armies in the West being now suspended, your presence here will, in my judgment, be more advan-
*See p. 1046.
+See pp. 1170, 1171.