The Government needs the troops and ought to have them. To get them by volunteering, if possible, is the true way. If they are not to be had so, then the inexorable draft comes in; but unless this is conducted in a spirit of fairness and justice, in a popular government the people will be very likely, in the exercise of their political power and in the frenzy of a canvass, to do what might prove a source of endless and useless regret.
You may have thought that I was overanxious in regard to our liability to attack on the sea-board. I have had the same apprehension in regard to the destruction of our coast commerce, and as early as May 27 called the attention of the President to the subject and subsequently the Secretary of the Navy.
The Tallahassee seems to be running riot along the coast among our defenseless vessels, though I hope the latest reports are exaggerated.
Senator Morrill informs me that you will, by detailing the company I was authorized to raise for manning Fort Popham and the defense of Kennebec River, substantially grant the request I preferred. This was as much as I expected, though my mode of expression may have led you to think differently.
From my own position I can readily see the manifold annoyances to which you are subject. Yours is no bed of roses, and God forbid that I should plant a single thorn in your pillow. My intercourse with you has ever been agreeable, and I regretted to learn from Mr. Fessenden that I was misapprehended by you in relation to that company.
You very generously granted me authority to raise still other companies, but I felt it would be an abuse of confidence to proceed to do that which I did not feel was imperatively demanded. Therefore I did not move beyond this single company.
Yours, very respectfully,
Governor of Maine.
August 23, 1864.
Referred to the Provost-Marshal-General for report.
By order of Secretary of War:
JAS. A. HARDIE,
AUGUST 24, 1864.
Respectfully returned with report as required.
The Governor is mistaken as to my having decided that "enrollments may be corrected, but quotas must stand unchanged." I have decided and ordered just the reverse, to wit, that if corrections are made in the enrollment, corresponding corrections shall be made in the quotas, the draft, however, not to be deferred for the purpose of correction. I see no other point in the letter on which I should report.
I have telegraphed Governor Cony on the subject.*
JAMES B. FRY,
*See August 24, p. 638.