War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0924 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records


Washington, D. C., November 10, 1864.


Secretary of War:

SIR: It is respectfully submitted that in order to maintain the present strength of the Army during the year commencing with the 1st day of December proximo it will be necessary to put into service 300,000 men to take the place of those whose terms expire and to make up the ordinary losses incident to the service.

the act of Congress approved July 4, 1864, entitled "An act further to regulate and provide for the enrolling and calling out the national forces, and for other purposes," section 1, provides "that the President of the United States may, at his discretion, at any time hereafter call for any number of men as volunteers for the respective terms of one, two, and tree years for the military service."

Section 2 provides that if the quota is not filled within the space "of fifty days after such call, then the President shall immediately order a draft for one year to fill such quota or any part thereof which may be unfilled."

To supply the necessary re-enforcements as authorized by this law I respectfully recommend that a call be made each alternate month for 60,000 men, the draft under each call to be made for its deficiency at the expiration of fifty days from its date, and that the fact that these calls will be made and the time at which they will be made be announced at once by proclamation by the President.

By thus dividing the quota its burden will be diminished, and whenever a draft must be restored to it can be enforced with much less trouble and better results than when made for a very large quota under a pressing demand for men. The evils attendant upon the payment of local bounties to volunteers, as well as knavery of a variety of kinds, have resulted in a great degree from the necessity imposed upon the districts of filling large quotas in a short space of time to escape the draft. If the calls were distributed through the year, as proposed, these evils would be greatly reduced. I think the people have now got so well acquainted with the draft, and so reconciled to this method of raising troops, that the prospect of a draft every two months for a small quota, if they failed to raise it by volunteers, would not exasperate or annoy them, would act only as a wholesome stimulus to recruiting, and would result in establishing a permanent and useful system of recruiting throughout the country.

The aggregate number of enrollment sub-districts being 12,040, the average number of men required from each sub-district under a call for 60,000 would be but five men, and would probably in most instances be furnished by voluntary enlistments to avoid a draft for so small a number.

The Army, being this gradually re-enforced, would at no time comprise so large a number of raw recruits as to impair its discipline or usefulness, while its aggregate strength would always be maintained, and the evils attending the loss of a large number of troops on account of simultaneous expiration of service would be avoided.

This plan would be economical to the Government. It would dispense with the necessity of recruiting details of officers and men from the front, the number of guards required for depots, convoys, and detachments in transmit could be materially lessened, and if by this means the strength of the Army can be maintained, as in my opinion