War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0397 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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service and in view of the provisions of the enrollment acts which confer upon the Secretary of War the power of prescribing rules and regulations for determining whether a substitute shall or shall not be deemed "acceptable," he is not, in my judgment, bound by law to receive slaves as acceptable substitutes for drafted slaves. Whether he shall do so or not is a matter wholly within his discretion.

If slaves can be manumitted, or otherwise be made free by their masters under the laws of the State in which a slave is held to service, a manumitted or freed slave will be, by law, acceptable as a substitute for a drafted slave. In case such substitutes should be offered, it will be desirable that theules and regulations as to the proofs required as evidence of the freedom of the proposed substitute, and as to the recording and preserving of such proofs.


Solicitor of the War Department.


Washington, D. C., May 20, 1864

Brigadier General JAMES B. FRY,


"Has the owner of a drafted slave in a loyal State the right to exonerate him from liability under the draft by procuring a substitute, or by payment of $300?"


It is the right of any drafted man to furnish an acceptable substitute, or to obtain qualified exemption from service by payment of commutation. No one can lawfully prevent a drafted man from entering the military service of the United States by procuring a substitute, or by paying commutation for him, without his authority or against his consent.

If a slave be drafted who desires to serve, it is not the right of his master, by procuring a substitute or by paying commutation, to withhold his slave from the Army, and thereby to deprive the country of a soldier and the slave of that freedom to which he is entitled by act of Congress.

By if the drafted slave himself prefers to avoid the military service and to remain in slavery it is his personal privilege to secure qualified exemption from that draft by payment of $300 or procurement of a substitute who shall be acceptable according to the regulations of this Department.


Solicitor of the War Department.



Washington, May 20, 1864.

I am directed to instruct you, in order to prevent the desertion of recruits at rendezvous and while in transit to depots, that the payment of $25 bounty immediately on enlistment, authorized by letter