Washington City, June 7, 1864.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:
SIR: I beg leave to submit to you a report made to me by the Provost-Marshal-General, showing the result of the draft now going on to fill the deficiency in the quotas of certain States, and recommending a repeal of the clause in the enrollment act commonly known as the $300 clause. The recommendation of the Provost-Marshal-General is approved by this Department, and I trust it will be recommended by you to Congress. The recent successes that have attended our arms lead to the hope that by maintaining our military strength and giving it such an increase as the extended field of operations may require, an early termination of the war may be obtained. But to accomplish this it is absolutely necessary that efficient means be taken with vigor and promptness to keep the Army up to its strength and supply deficiencies occasioned by the losses sustained by casualties in the field. To that end resort must be had to a draft, but ample experience has now shown that the pecuniary exemption from service frustrates the object of the enrollment law by furnishing money instead of men. An additional reason for repealing the $300 clause is that it is contemplated to make the draft for a comparatively short time. The burden of military service will therefore be lightened, but its certainty of furnishing troops is an absolute essential to success.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, June 6, 1864.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: In accordance with the amended enrollment act, approved February 24, 1864, and your orders on the subject, I am now conducting a draft in various sub-districts for their respective deficiencies on quotas of troops heretofore assigned. The results of this draft, so far as shown by reports to this date, are worthy of attention. They are briefly as follows:
Number of drafted men examined, 14,741; number exempted for physical disability, 4,374; number exempted for all other causes, 2,632. Total exempted, 7,016. Number paid commutation money, 5,050; number who have furnished substitutes, 1,416; number held for personal service, 1,259 (this last includes some who may yet pay commutation money). Total not exempted, 7,725.
These reports came from sub-districts in eight different States. I invite your attention to the small proportion of soldiers being obtained under the existing law. I see no reason to believe that the Army can be materially strengthened by draft so long as the $300 clause is in force, nor do I think it safe to assume that the commutation paid by a drafted man will enable the Government to procure a volunteer or substitute in his place. I do not think that large bounties by the United States should be again resorted to for raising troops. I recommend that the $300 clause, as it is known, be repealed.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES B. FRY,