War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0939 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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CIRCULAR

WAR DEPT., PROV. March GENERAL'S OFFICE,

LETTER.

Washington, November 18, 1864.

Circular Numbers 39, in reference to correction of the enrollment, has this day been issued.* The subject is one which requires the closest attention of the officers of this Bureau. I am aware that the most important step toward accomplishing the object proposed would be the permanent employment of an enrolling officer in every sub-district; but the expense connected with such an arrangements would be too heavy to be incurred at this time, if it is possible to avoid it. There are over 12,000 sub- districts; an enrolling officer for each, at $3 per day, would amount to $36,000 per day - over $14,000,000 a year. The result must be procured without so much cost. The work must, therefore, be performed mainly by the employes we have under pay, and by securing the assistance and co-operation of the people in every sub-district.

They should understand that it is plainly for the interest of each sub-district to have stricken from the lists all names improperly enrolled, because an excess of names increases the quota called for from such sub-districts, and that it is equally for the interest of each person enrolled in a given sub-district to place upon the lists all persons in the sub-district 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. It is the personal interest of every enrolled man that the quota in which he is concerned shall not be made too large, and that his own chances for draft shall not be unjustly increased. Both these objects will be attained if all parties will aid in striking out the wrong and putting in the right ones. Especially is this the interest of those drafted men who, by putting in substitutes themselves liable to draft, have secured exemption which, by the terms of the law, holds good only until the present enrollment is exhausted in their sub-districts. Men who are over forty-five years of age, and, in consequence, excused by law from the performance of duty in the field, owe it to the cause and to the country to take a zealous and active part in the correction of the enrollment lists - a military service of the first importance. The law requires that quotas shall be assigned in proportion to the enrollment, and the fairness and justice of this mode of determining the amount of military service due from each and every section of the country cannot be doubted if the enrollment is made as nearly perfect as it is practicable to make it. The amount of service due to the Nation from every town or county is thus laid fairly and plainly before the citizens, and I am sure that a higher motive than selfish interest will prompt all to do their share in perfecting the enrollment and securing a just and efficient execution of the laws for raising troops whenever it becomes necessary to apply them. Confer with the State and local authorities and present the foregoing views to them and secure, if possible, prompt and practical assistance from them in perfecting the enrollment lists. The subject should receive the attention of town, precinct, and ward meetings and committees. Deputy provost-marshals and special agents will be required to devote all the labor possible to this service in their respective counties. They must communicate with the local authorities, clergymen, and other prominent citizens as to the accuracy of the present lists and the corrections necessary to be made. As far as practicable,

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* See November 15, p. 935.

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