I would also state if the Board desires any other information on any subject connected with the draft or the business of recruiting, I shall be pleased to impart such information as I may be able to communicate.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. FRY,
WAR DEPT., PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL'S BUREAU,
Washington, D. C., February 4, 1865.
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: On a communication dated January 25, addressed by His Excellency Governor Curtin to His Excellency the President, relating to the assignment of quotas under the call of December 19, 1864, for troops, I have the honor to report as follows:
Before alluding to the points presented in His Excellency's communication, it is proper to remark that the subject of considering the periods of service, as well as the number of men furnished, was presented to all concerned when the quotas under the call of July 18, 1864, were assigned. Attention was then publicly invited to the fact that the amount of service would constitute an element in the estimation of credits under future calls. This construction of the act of Congress was supported by the opinion of the Solicitor of the War Department, a copy of which is respectfully inclosed.*
It was supposed that the system adopted was fully understood and approved by His Excellency Governor Curtin, and the fact that in the State large local bounties were being paid for three-years" men and small bounties for one-year's men supported that opinion. If His Excellency's views are sustained by law and fact, and the action of the War Department has been in violation of law, it is to be regretted that he did not call the attention of the President to the subject at an earlier day, before the men which filled that quota were furnished. If when the subject was presented in the early part of August last he had disapproved the plan, and demonstrated its illegality or unfairness, it would have relieved the question of the embarrassment arising from the fact that many localities have at great expense put men in service for three years with the expectation of receiving credit thereof on future calls, and under the law and the pledge of the Government now make claims for that credit.
In considering the credits to be allowed to the different localities in assigning the quotas under the last call I have taken into account not only the number of men furnished under the call of July 18, 1864, for 500,000, but also the period of their service, or the period for which they engaged to serve. This rule has been applied to all sections of the country alike, and is not only just and equitable in principle, but is in accordance with the law and the express understanding of all parties interested at the time the men were furnished which filled the July call of 1864.
The opinion of the Solicitor of the War Department, dated August 1, 1864, announcing this principle was promulgated to the people when the quotas under the call were announced, and the result was that 117,000 three-years" men were put in service under that call, with
*See August 1, p.562.