In some districts the officer would be compelled to rely mainly upon what he could learn upon inquiries made while traversing his district in the discharge of this particular duty, and, bearing in mind as he should the great aversion of the masses to the enrollment as a preliminary to a draft, he would receive with distrust and suspicion every statement which would tend to keep the name of an individual from the list of the enrolled, and in a majority of cases would, in the language of the officers examined, "give the Government the benefit of the doubt" and enroll the man, leaving him to establish his exemption before the enrolling board.
Again, questions of alienage, physical disability, &c., could not be decided by the enrolling officers, but were left to the decisions of the board upon until after the draft and in respect to those who, when drafted, claimed exemption upon the ground suggested. Indeed, these questions cannot be either well or satisfactorily decided in the progress of an enrollment. Alienage cannot well be determined except upon an investigation to some extent judicial, and physical disability can in most cases only be passed upon by a competent surgeon. Residence and age may in some, and perhaps most, instances be determined by the enrolling officer if sufficient time and opportunity for investigation be given.
To speak particularly of the city of New York, several causes operated, it may be said necessarily, to produce an erroneous and excessive enrollment:
First. There is in the city a large floating population-said by some to amount to 30,000 or over-having no permanent residence or none that can be satisfactorily ascertained, and many moving from place to place, and whose proper place of enrollment, even if liable at all, will always be doubtful. This class would be very likely enrolled wherever found and in as many districts as they should be found in while the enrollment is being made.
Second. At all times the city has been the resting-place and temporary abode of a large body of alien immigrants, and this class has largely increased since the existence of the war, as immigration has been greatly stimulated by the high price of labor and other causes, and while there has bene a large drain from the foreign population into the Army, the aggregate number now in the city is probably not less than at former periods, and the population of aliens-that is, those who have not taken any steps to become naturalized-it is thought is large than before. This class are all necessarily enrolled for the reasons suggested before-that the enrolling officers had no power to pass upon the question of alienage.
Third. In some portions of the city in other places there are large manufacturing establishments and other branches of business carried on employing many men, and it is fair to presume that many of these employes, residents of other districts, have been enrolled at the place of their work, and perhaps also at their residence, and this for the reason that the officer could not, with the means at his command, satisfactorily determine the proper place of enrollment; and the individual perhaps has "winked" if not connived at an enrollment in the wrong rather than in the right district for the obvious reason that a draft in the former would not compel him to service.
One fact should be stated in this connection which was disclosed by the examination of one of the provost-marshals of the city of New York, exemplifying very strongly the difficulties in the way of a correct enrollment in the view of the officer. In order to "correct" the enrollment of his district, after the draft of 1863, he resorted to the