United States as clear as they anticipated, and their restless natures, angered into desperation, are ripe for any scheme of iniquity.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
CHARLES S. OGDEN,
U. S. Consul.
WAR DEPARTMENT, January 8, 1864.
Respectfully furnished for the information of the General-in- Chief. By order of Secretary of War:
ED. R. S. CANBY,
Brigadier-General and Assistant Adjutant-General.
WAR DEPT., PROV. March GENERAL'S OFFICE, No. 3.
Washington, January 7, 1864.
The following opinion of Hon. William Whiting, Solicitor of the War Department, is published for the information and guidance of all concerned:
Opinion.- The chief objects of the act of 1863, chapter 75, entitled "An act for enrolling and calling out the forces of the United States, and for other purposes," were to provide for enrolling the forces of the United States in order to ascertain the number of able-bodied soldiers between the ages of twenty and forty-five years who might be called upon for military duty, to divide them into classes, and to call out from time to time such proportion of these troops as the emergencies of the service should require. The design of Congress, as expressed in the clause to which you have directed my attention (the last clause in the twelfth section) was to equalize the burden of furnishing soldiers, as far as possible, among the several loyal States and among the districts of each State.
To attain this result the statute directs the President "to take into consideration the number of volunteers and militia furnished by and from the several States and the period of their service since the commencement of the present rebellion."
It is obvious that the number of men and the periods of their respective service must both be taken as elements of calculation in order to ascertain the total amount of service performed by the soldiers of a given State; and that the total amount of service thus ascertained in each State would give the total amount in the aggregate of all the service performed in all the States.
To ascertain the amount of service which either one of the States would have rendered if it had borne its just share, or, in other words, what part of such aggregate service was justly due from each State, it became necessary to compare the population by the late census of each State with the aggregate population of all the State enrolled. It was obvious that each State should contribute in proportion to the number of its inhabitants, inasmuch as there was no other safe basis for estimating the respective numbers of their citizens capable of performing military duty. This was the plan prescribed by the statute of July 22, 1861, chapter 9, section 1, for the apportionment of volunteers among the several States.
The proportion of troops due from each State was to that obtained from all the States as the number of inhabitans of that State was to the aggregate number or inhabitants of all the States. The solution of th the number of troops required in order to make up its equal and just share. If the number of troops fell short of this required proportion, that deficit should be charged; if the number exceeded, it should be credited to the State in question on the account of the draft under the enrollment act.
When the enrollment has been completed a new and more satisfactory basis is established for distributing the burden of the draft. Having ascertained the number of persons actually enrolled in the several States, the number of troops to be drawn from each State will be calculated as follows:
As the total number enrolled in all the States is to the number enrolled in a particular State, so the total number to be drafted is to the number to be drafted in a particular State.