LOUISVILLE, KY., February 27, 1864.
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
I have seen Mr. Mellen this evening and promised to meet him at Vicksburg in a few days to consult with him on the subject of the hire of the freedmen.
Washington, February 27, 1864.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:
SIR: You ask some instruction from me in relation to the report of special Commission constituted by an order of the War Department, dated December 5, 1863, "To revise the enrollment and quotas of the city and State of New York, and report whether there be any, and what, errors or irregularities therein, and what corrections, if any, should be made."
In the correspondence between the Governor of New York and myself last summer I understood him to complain that the enrollments in several of the districts of the State had been neither accurately nor honestly made; and in view of this I, for the draft then immediately ensuing, ordered an arbitrary reduction of the quotas in several of the districts wherein they seemed too large, and said:
After this drawing these four districts, and also the seventeenth and twenty-ninth, shall be carefully re-enrolled, and, if you please, agents of yours may witness every step of the process.
In a subsequent letter I believe some additional districts were put into the list of those to be re-enrolled. My idea was to do the work over, according to the law, in presence of the complaining party, and thereby to correct anything which might be found amiss. The Commission, whose work I am considering, seem to have proceeded upon a totally different idea. Not going forth to find men at all, they have proceeded altogether upon paper examination and mental processes. One of their conclusions, as I understand, is that as the law stands, and attempting to follow it, the enrolling officers could not have made the enrollments much more accurately than they did. The report on this point might be useful to Congress. The Commission conclude that the quotas for the draft should be based upon entire population, and they proceed upon this basis to give a table for the State of New York, in which some districts are reduced and some increased. For the now ensuing draft, let the quotas stand as made by the enrolling officers in the districts wherein the table requires them to be increased, and let them be reduced accordingly to the table in the others; this to be no precedent for subsequent action. But as I think this report may, on full consideration, be shown to have much that is valuable in it, I suggest that such consideration be given it, and that it be especially considered whether its suggestions can be conformed to without an alteration of the law.