Fisher one at least of the Pennsylvania one-year regiments was engaged and behaved most gallantly. Who will say that if one- third of their number had been enlisted for three years it would on that account have been able to perform as much service as the whole number did in that unsurpassed exploit?
But there is even more serious error than has been above exposed. The clause of the act of 3rd of March, 1863, under which your officers profess to be acting, has not been in force since the 24th of February, 1864. Whether induced thereto by the strangeness of the system which had been adopted under it, or for whatever reasons, Congress thought fit to pass the act of February 24, 1864 (entitled an act to amend the act of 3rd of March, 1863), which provides (section 2) that the quota of each ward of a city, town, &c., shall be as nearly as possible in proportion to the number of men resident therein liable to render military service, taking into account as far as practicable the number which had been previously furnished therefrom.
Thus the former act was amended by giving credits not to districts, but to smaller localities, and by omitting the provisions for considering and allowing for the time of service in estimating credits. They were directed in future to be given as far as practicable on the basis of the number of men previously furnished, without reference to the time of service. And this was followed up by the act of 4th of July, 1864 (passed at the same session), which provides (section 1) that the President may at his discretion call for any number of volunteers for the respective terms of one, two, and three years, with bounties regulated according to the term of their enlistment, and (section 2) that in case the quota of any town, &c., shall be filled within the space of sixty days after such call, then the President shall immediately order a draft for one year to fill such quota. These are the clauses which now regulate the subject. It is not for you or me, sir, to discuss the question of their propriety. They are to be obeyed. It would be easy to show that they form a reasonable and intelligible system. Forme for military service they were made by requisitions on the Governors of the respective States, who then proceeded to draft the required number to fill the quota of the State.
In this draft men from any State or locality who had voluntarily entered the service of the United States by enlisting in the Army or otherwise were not taken into account. No credits were given for them on the quota, any more than for men who had of their own accord engaged themselves in any other lawful employment. The system, however, of raising very large bodies of men as volunteers, under the act of Congress of 1861, had drawn upon the military population of the respective States and localities very heavily and not quite equably, and therefore when the enrollment act of 1863 was passed it was thought best to provide for equalizing the exhaustion by allowing credits to localities for the volunteers furnished by them. But the Government had accepted volunteers for various terms of service, and hence the effort to make the equalization more perfect by considering and allowing for the time of their service as well as the number of men. The acts of 1864 have modified the system by fixing a definite term of service (one year) for which men are to be drafted. Volunteers for not less than that term are to be credited to the localities on the quota and receive a certain bounty from the Government. Such of them as choose to enlist for longer terms receive further bounties from the Government, but so far as