COLUMBUS, OHIO, January 18, 1865.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: The undersigned adjutants-general of loyal States having conferred together, and being desirous that the best and most effective means be adopted for raising troops for the service of the United States during the present war, and such means as shall secure for the service good men in the place of the class of substitutes now to a great extent furnished, respectfully request that the following modifications of existing orders be made by general orders and by legislation so far as required:
First. That during the time intervening between any call for troops and the draft ordered to fill the call, the raising of men by voluntary enlistment to fill such call shall be under the direction of the Governors of the States, allowing them to designate recruiting officers who shall be authorized to enlist recruits and forward them to the district provost-marshals or such other mustering officers as shall be designated by the War Department for muster; that such recruiting officers shall have full authority to certify the enlistment contracts of the men enlisted by them according to established forms; that the recruits, if accepted, shall be mustered into the service of the United States by the several provost-marshals or other mustering officer upon such enlistment contracts as of the date of enlistment; and that the United States pay the expense of the transportation and subsistence of such recruits when mustered into the service of the United States from the time of such enlistment to the time when the recruit shall be delivered to and accepted and mustered by the provost-marshal or other mustering officer.
Second. That whenever a soldier hereafter enlisted as a volunteer or as a substitute for an enrolled man shall desert, his unexpired term of service shall be charged to the sub-district to which he was credited upon his enlistment and muster, and the exemption of the principal shall thereupon cease, and if the soldier be returned to duty them such unexpired term of service shall be credited back to such sub-district and the exemption of the principal shall be renewed, and that whenever a substitute for a drafted man hereafter enlisted and mustered as such shall desert, the principal shall be held to service for the unexpired term of service of such substitute, unless such principal shall furnish another accepted substitute for such unexpired term of service or the substitute deserting shall be returned to service.
The undersigned respectfully represent that if these rules should be adopted they believe that a better class of men would be obtained, and with more rapidity and more satisfactory to the people of the loyal States, than under existing regulations as embodied in General Orders, Numbers 131, of the War Department, series of 1864; that sub-districts would at once perceive that it was for their interest to furnish recruits who intended in good faith to serve to Government rather than the present class of bounty jumpers who only serve to fill quotas instead of regiments; and that for the promotion of this end local bounties, when not otherwise controlled by legislation, would be paid in installments instead of being paid in hand at time of muster as they are now generally paid; and that in the contract made by principals with substitutes the consideration would also be agreed to be paid in