STATE OF MAINE, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
Augusta, July 25, 1864.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Your telegram of the 23rd instant, saying that men raised for forts and coasts defense in Maine will not be allowed on the quota under the late call, as it would be unjust to other States, is received.
In reply allow me to say that heretofore, upon any call of the President for soldiers, Maine has met the full demand upon her. On the day of the President's last proclamation she was, as I hope to be able to substantiate, not less than 3,000 in excess of all calls.
It is a matter of general belief, in which I have participated, that several of the largest States have been and now are deficient; but of this we have never uttered a murmur, and have only endeavored to do our duty. That such a condition of things was unjust to the States doing their duty to the letter is obvious, as it compels earlier and larger calls to supply such deficiencies.
The obligation of the Government to protect all the States is, of course, conceded. The position of Maine is peculiar, so far as its needs for defense are concerned. The danger from our land- side frontier is nothing, but we have a longer coast line, without following its indentations, than any four loyal States, and more fine harbors for shelter than all of them together; adjacent to the provinces of a power whose subject have manifested a degree of friendliness for our adversaries incompatible almost with neutrality; which has thrown the aegis of its protection over them in numerous instances, whose merchants supply them with the means of protracting the war, and who, as I believe, would hesitate at no step not involving actual hostilities to befriend them and injure us.
It is, indeed, notorious that the rebels have made Saint Johns, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, places of rendezvous, and there is no day in the year that more or less of them are not there for objects boding no good to the United States. The contiguity of Maine to these provinces cannot fail to suggest it as an saailable point to the active minds of our energetic and malignant foes, and if it did not, the unexplainable hostility of the provincials themselves would make the suggestion. The facility with which vessel can be sent from their ports to be armed outside, and then to pounce upon our unprotected towns, can be seen by an inspection of the map, while pilots in numbers, fully acquainted with all our harbors and their unprotected condition, can be obtained at any moment.
At the time of this present writing we have in Maine forts at Portland, some completed: Fort Popham, at the mouth of Kennebec River, incomplete and without men; batteries at Rockland, at Belfast, at Castine, and Fort Knox, at Bucksport Narrows. These are on Penobscot Bay and River. East of this, at Machiasport, is a battery, and two at Eastport.
At Fort Popham there are no men; of the condition of Fort Knox I am not informed; in the half dozen batteries there are about ninety men all told. Besides these points, insufficiently manned as they are, there are not less probably than thirty quite considerable towns lying on our coast, wuns might lay in ashes without the power of prevention on our part. It is true we have not been assailed, but what has not been heretofore attempted is the thing most likely to succeed, and the promise of success would stimulate the attempt.