War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 1080 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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Relying heartily on your wisdom and justice to set right what has thus been going wrong, and to compel henceforth on the part of all a proper respect for and obedience to the laws of the land,

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


[First indorsement.]

JANUARY 28, 1865.

Will the Attorney-General please give his opinion in writing on the legal points presented in this paper?


[Second indorsement.]

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., February 4, 1865.

Respectfully referred to the Attorney-General, with the suggestion that in forming his opinion on the points of law presented by Governor Curtin, the within report and explanation of the Provost-Marshal-General be examined and considered.* The questions of law presented by the Governor of Pennsylvania have been decided by the proper officers of this Department and official action taken in accordance therewith.


Secretary of War.



Providence, January 25, 1865.

Brigadier General JAMES B. FRY,

Provost-Marshal-General, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to call the attention of the Provost- Marshal-General to the fact that on the 18th instant His Excellency James V. Smith, Governor of Rhode Island, in his annual message to the Legislature, referred to the action of the U. S. officers of the Provost-Marshal-General's Bureau in this State in the following language:

The recent call for 300,000 men involved such an unavoidable expenditure of money as well as labor that the correction of the rolls has been determined upon, notwithstanding the almost unaccountable embarrassment thrown in the way of the Executive by U. S. officers and the difficulty of obtaining the co-operation of our citizens, whose interest in the matter is more direct and serious than they realize. The towns having been relieved from providing recruits and paying bounties, have naturally relied upon the State authorities and left to them the whole work. It has thus become necessary for the State to cause the entire rolls to be printed, and to institute a thorough examination, which has already resulted in disclosing numerous and gross errors. In many cases there have been restored to the rolls the names of those who were generally known to be overage or otherwise disqualified, to have served two years, or to have furnished substitutes. Whatever difficulties there may be to overcome, the Executive will, without hesitation, use all the means at his command to obtain justice for the State and to have the rolls properly corrected. He only asks such co-operation in the work as he may be entitled to expect.

I have the honor to inform the Provost-Marshal-General that so much of His Excellency's message as refers to the obstructions thrown


*See February 4, p. 1122.