HDQRS. PROV. MARSHAL'S OFFICE, FOURTH CONG. DIST.,
New York, February 5, 1864.
Colonel JAMES B. FRY:
COLONEL: I take the liberty of sending to you for perusal a copy of a memorandum of conversation between Colonel Nugent, Governor Seymour, and myself last October in relation to the enrollment of the State. I made the memorandum immediately after the interview, and thinking that it would not be amiss should you know the views of His Excellency in detail, I inclose it to you.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
JOEL B. ERHARDT,
Captain and Provost-Marshal, Fourth District of New York.
On October 16, 1863, Colonel Robert Nugent, acting assistant provost-marshal-general for the Southern Division of New York, called at my office and stated that he wished me to go with him to Albany that night and see Governor Seymour, and said he would call at 4.30 that p. m.
We arrived in Albany by the 5.30 train, and the next morning called at the Capitol. The Governor had not yet arrived and we were shown into the adjutant-general's room.
We were shown into the Governor's room on his arrival about 10 o"clock or after, and found His Excellency busy reading the mail. He politely showed us a seat and after the task was finished turned to Colonel Nugent and stated the reason he had telegraphed for him was to consult with him in relation to the recruiting service, and proceeded to ask what the colonel had thought of the plan of recruiting proposed and sanctioned by Major Diven and Major Townsend, and approved by Colonel Fry. The colonel stated that he had received no order from the Provost-Marshal-General in relation to the matter, and could, therefore, give no opinion on the subject.
The Governor then stated, in substance, this plan, which he said met his unqualified approval. It was the appointment of four men from each Congressional district in the State, two to be appointed by the Union men and two by himself, who were to be the recruiting officers and to receive the pay authorized by Government for the production of a soldier. This plan be thought good, since, with a recruiting board of four, two of each party, a spirit of emulation would be excited, the result of which would be the production of more men to the Government than the ordinary routine of recruiting, and more just, since it would prevent those frauds constantly being practiced on line officers where State commissions are given to raise regiments, as had been the course heretofore, to which the colonel assented.
Without hazarding an opinion on the motive of His Excellency, the desire that the Government should appoint two Union men, and he two, seemed to indicate too strong a disposition to draw a line between the Government, seeking to protect its integrity, and the disloyal, to hamper it, than would justify great expectations as to the benefit of such a committee.
The conversation turned on the enrollment of the State under the act of March 3, but more particularly on the erroneous enrollment of certain district, the Governor asserting that the enrollment in those sections which gave a decided majority for him exceeds the actual