It is at this time more impracticable to grant the request made by the committee and referred to above than it would have been to grant that made in your letter of yesterday, and which was answered by the President as follows:
This is too large a job for the officers to be encumbered with now in the midst of preparation for the approaching draft.
I am unable to inform you definitely at what time the information will be prepared.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES B. FRY,
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 5, 1865-11 p.m.
Brigadier General J. B. FRY,
SIR: We have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your second communication of this date. We regret to find that our request seems to have been entirely misunderstood both by Secretary of War and by yourself. So far from being a "call on the office of the Provost-Marshal that will require months to fill, and which can serve no other purpose than delay," it will require no labor or attention on the part of your clerks, except an exhibit of the records, and we will engage-the number of figures to be copied being less than 4,000-to have the copy made in two hours by two persons.
From the tenor of your communication we are led to infer that you are under the impression that an opportunity has been afforded us to examine some of the records of your office. Although we have been detained for many hours in your office in momentary expectation of receiving the figures for which we had asked, the only opportunity we have had of examining records has been limited to a single page (of the Southern District of New York), and that for but a few moments.
We acknowledge that you have already made the committee as fully acquainted with the method of computing the quotas assigned on the 24th of January as it is in your power to do. It is hardly necessary, however, for us to suggest that in acquainting us with this method you assumed as a basis of the computation two numbers upon the correctness of which the justice of the results entirely depends. The first of those numbers is the sum of the enrollment of all the districts of the loyal States, and the second is the sum of the excess of credits in those districts on December 31, 1864, after satisfying all call previous to December 19, 1864. We have no means of testing the correctness of these numbers, and can have none except from the figures which we have asked permission to copy. Unless the means of verifying their correctness be in our possession it will be impossible for us either to reply to the interrogatories propounded in your communication of yesterday or do demonstrate to our constituents the justice of the increased quotas now demanded.
If the means of satisfying our constituents be afforded us, we know that they will heartily respond to any just call which has been or may be made upon them, and we are entirely confident that recruits will then be obtained so rapidly by voluntary enlistment that the enforcement of the draft will be unnecessary.