WAR DEPT., PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., April 9, 1864.
Colonel JAMES B. FRY,
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report in reference to a communication addressed to Major J. B. Stonehouse by His Excellency Horatio Seymour, Governor of New York, concerning the accrediting of re-enlisting men of the Veteran Reserve Corps to other States than those to whose regiments they belonged when in active service.*
The differentia of the Veteran Reserve Corps, distinguishing in from the volunteer service, is the same as that of the Regular Army; it is a national organization. This is readily seen when we consider that the one is officer by the General Government, the other by the Executives of the States. The best evidence, however, of the nature and nationality of the Veteran Reserve Corps lies in the fact that individual companies and regiments are not composed of men from the same county or States, but that in each one representatives of all the States may be found. This being so, that same regulations which govern the accrediting of men who re-enlisted in the Regular Army should also do so in the Veretan Reserve Corps (similia similibus). The decision of the point mooted by His Excellency Horation Seymour, Governor of New York, must therefore be made in accordance with these regulations. Paragraph 3, Circular Numbers 6, Adjutant-General's Office, january 20, 1864, is explicit:
Soldiers re-enlisting will be credited to the localities to which the re-enlistments show them as belonging. They will be allowed to select the places from which they prefer to re-enlist, and that selection will determine the quotas on which they will be credited.
The fact, therefore, that the soldiers once belonging to a New York regiment is not a sufficient reason why he should always be bound to give that State the benefit of his service. The records of the Army show that many of the regiments from that State and others were composed in part, at least, of recruits, drawn into them by the inducements held out by both State influence and private enterprise. Who is to determine when these men come to re-enlist, if they ever do so, to what State they shall be accredited? Even were they re-enlisting in active regiments it would be necessary to give them the privilege of determining the locality to which they would be accredited; whether to their native State or to another, the enlisted man of the Veteran Reserve Corps certainly has an equal claim to this choice, apart from the peculiar right he acquires from the nature of the corps to which he belongs.
Again, the justice and humanity of depriving him of a bounty which the liberality of any State may bestow, may well be questioned. If Massachusetts of New Jersey could succeed in filling their quotas by securing the credit of all re-enlisted men of the Regular Army, without incurring censure, they should also do so, the Veteran Reserve Corps being in question. The re- enlistments to which Governor Seymour refers were made. It is unnecessary to specify the number. The right on the part of the agent of any State to secure as
* See p. 215.