War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0691 UNION AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

Hays and Diven the necessary data and tell them to allow and enter the credits at once.



GENEVA, September 3, 1864.



MY DEAR MR. SEWARD: The bishop and clergy of Western New York are in a state of uncertainty on the subject of the draft. We hope that if any of them are drafted they may be relieved from bearing arms. The convention of the diocese have petitioned His Excellency the President that they may, if drafted, be assigned to such duties as are compatible with their profession and yet will help the Government, without bearing arms and shedding blood.

I send you a copy of the petition which I forwarded by mail to the President on the 1st instant. Let me ask the favor of you to see that it reaches his eye, and if you concur in our petition, which I trust you will do, to most respectfully and earnestly urge it on his attention and adoption. I regret my inability to come over and see you; I am disabled from walking. I heard this moment, with great satisfaction, of the fall of Atlanta.

Praying God to bless you and yours, I am, faithfully,

Your friend and bishop,


[Inclosure No. 1.] Report of committee on clergy and draft.

Reports of special committees being next in order, Honorable Ward Hunt reported from the committee on the clergy and draft the following:

The committee to which was referred that portion of the bishop's addressed on the subject of the exemption or relief of the clergy who may be drafted under the enrollment act of 1864, respectfully report that by section 10 of the said act such persons as are physically or mentally unfit for the service, all persons actually in service at the time of the draft, all persons who have served for two years and been honorably discharged, and none others,are exempt from enrollment and draft. The clergy stand, under this section, in the same position as members of other pursuits and professions. By section 17 members of religious denominations who shall, by oath or affirmation, declare that they are conscientiously opposed to the bearing of arms, and who are prohibited from doing so by the rules and articles of faith and practice of said religious denominations, shall, when drafted, be considered non-combatants, and be assigned to duty in the hospitals or the care of freedmen, or shall pay $300 for the benefit of sick and wounded soldiers.

The Protestant Episcopal Church has long held her clergy to be separate and set apart for the performance of sacred and holy duties, and that the actual bearing of arms in military services is incompatible with their office and duties. While the committee cannot claim that such of the clergy as may be drafted are entitled to a legal exemption, or to an absolute right, under the section 17 above referred to, they