The enrollment is a record of that part of the national forces not in service. It gives the names of those men who are liable to be called upon for duty in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps by lot or draft. It is by law the basis for determining the proportion of troops to be furnished by the different parts of the country. It is therefore important that the lists should be as nearly correct as it is practicable in the nature of things to make them. The habits of our people, and the large floating population of the country, have, however, heretofore rendered it exceedingly difficult to make progress in perfecting the lists. The original act, approved March 3, 1863, contemplated an enrollment but once in two years, but very soon after the first draft was made the necessity for a revision of the lists became apparent, and on the 17th of November, 1863, it was announced from this Bureau that, "as complaints have been made that errors have occurred in the enrollment of the national forces, by the omission of persons whose names should have been enrolled and by the addition of names of persons who, by reason of allegiance and for other causes, ought not to have been enrolled, and as it is desirable that the Department should have such information as may be necessary in order to do full justife to all parties," it was ordered that the officers of the Bureau make all the corrections in their power and have the enrollmenghout the districts and invite the public to point out errors or omissions, with a view to their correction before the draft fixed for the following January. Under this order the officers of the bureau made corrections as far as they could, but the people generally did not at that time seem to appreciate their interest in perfecting the lists and gave but little aid in the work.
On the 25th of June, 1864, under the provisions of section 6 of the amendatory enrollment act, approved February 24, 1864, further orders were issued for perfecting the enrollment lists, and "the revision and correction of these lists" was made "a continuous duty, to which the labors of all boards must be directed." The boards of enrollment were ordered to "have copies of the enrollment lists open to the examination of the public at all proper times;" "civil officers, clergymen, and all other prominent citizens" were "invited to appear at all times before the Board, to point out errors in the lists, and give such information as might aid in the correction and revision thereof." At the time these instructions were issued the draft of 1863, on the original enrollment, had been completed, and the draft which began May 1, 1864, for deficiencies on the calls of February 1 and March 14, 1864, was in progress, and it began to be apparent that it is plainly for the interest of each town, ward, &c., to have stricken from the lists all names improperly enrolled, because an excess of names increases the quota to be called for from such town, ward, &c.; and that it is equally for the interest of each person enrolled in a given town or ward to place upon the lists all person in his town or ward liable to do military duty, because the greater the number to be drawn from the less the chance that any particular individual will be drawn, and hence some corrections were made. But since the fairness of this method of raising troops has become properly understood a higher motive than selfish interest has stirred the hearts od many who at fiood all of from the enrollment are now unwilling to go through this national struggle without