War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0105 UNION AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

that an accurate enrollment is indispensable, and an excessive enrollment operates to the prejudice of the State. For example, in a given district there are precisely 500 men belonging to the first class, as defined in the conscription act, and these are all enrolled, and with them 500 who are non-residents, aliens, or otherwise exempt.

Upon the order for a draft of seventy-five the Government would be entitled to 100 men, and very likely would obtain but the number upon a draft from the whole 1,000, although 200 names would be drawn.

But if the draft is repeated, or the district made to furnish volunteers until one-fifth of the 1,000 are furnished, the Government will get 200 men instead of 100; that is, two fifths instead of one-fifth of the 500 men properly enrolled. Again, if the enrollment of one State is excessive as compared with other States, it will not constitute a proper basis for the appointment of men to be furnished by the several States for the U. S. military service, and whether one State enrolls more than the proper number, or the other States enroll less, the result will be the same. For instance, suppose two districts, each containing precisely 1,000 men of the first class, and who should be enrolled, and in one the whole 1,000 are enrolled, while in the other but 800 are enrolled; upon a draft of one-fourth, ordered upon the basis of the enrollment, the former district would furnish 250 men while the latter would furnish but 200. So that even upon a draft ordered upon an apportionment among the several States in proportion to the number of men enrolled, or in any way upon the basis of the enrollment, it is indispensable to complete justice between the States that the enrollment should be substantially complete and perfect in all of the States; that is, that all should be enrolled who are liable to serve in the national forces, as defined by the act of Congress before mentioned. If the enrollment in any one State is defective it will destroy the equality of the apportionment.

In proceeding to ascertain the accuracy of the enrollment the Commission had before them the law of Congress under which the same was made and the several orders emanating from the ward Department to the officers charged with the enrollment, and called before them and examined upon interrogations, and, when deemed necessary, orally and without oath, the several provost- marshals under whose immediate direction and supervision the enrollment in the cities of New York and Brooklyn was made.

The result of this branch of the investigation accords substantially with the suggestions of Colonel Fry in his report to the Secretary of War dated November 17, 1863, that imperfections and errors will necessarily occur to a greater extent in a large city than in a rural district, and the more transient and floating the population in a given district the greater the liability to an erroneous and excessive enrollment.

Difficulties were encountered by the officers in making the enrollment in the metropolitan districts which did not exist, certainly to so great an extent, elsewhere.

In the older settled and agricultural districts the age, condition, and liability to military service of every male citizen would be very likely known to the enrolling officer, so that but little if any reliance need be placed upon information acquired while collecting the names or perfecting the enrolled lists, while the officer could in the nature of things know but little, if anything, of the great mass of individuals in the more populous districts of large cities.