War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 1146 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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number which, in the opinion of the President, it requires. Had the President seen fit, which he did not, to include the surplus in the call, and issued his proclamation for 500,000 (supposing 200,000 to be the amount of surplus) and directed that the call be reduced by deducting the surplus, as he did in his proclamation of July 18, the result would have been precisely the same; the country would have been required to furnish 300,000 new men, and the actual number required from each district after deducting its surplus would be the same that it is under the present assignment.

Whether the call is too large or too small is not for me to determine; it is sufficient that I have been directed to assign the quotas to obtain 300,000 men. I have done this, and in doing it I have required from each locality only its due proportion of the 300,000, after considering the amount of excess to which it was entitled on the 1st of February, 1865.

I do not see, and I think after reading the above you will not think, that there is any practical value in the points made in the article referred to, and I fear its effect will be to discourage the raising of men. This is a private letter and not intended for publication, but if the points I present strike you as correct I should feel gratified if you will give publicity to them.

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

JAMES B. FRY,

Provost-Marshal-General.

NEW YORK, February 6, 1865.

Brigadier General JAMES B. FRY,

Provost-Marshal-General:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I have just learned that a petition has been circulated and generally signed by members of our State Legislature asking for your removal.

I desire in all suitable ways to testify to the injustice done you in such proceeding. I am sure it grows out of ignorance on the part of those engaged in it of the difficult duties you have to perform, and the diligence, integrity, and ability with which you have performed them.

The period I served as your assistant enables me to judge of your administration of the affairs of your Bureau, and now that I am no longer your subordinate I am free to defend it.

The State, and especially the city of New York, should in my judgment be the last to reproach you, for I believe most of your difficulties have arisen from a desire to satisfy the claims of the State and city authorities. The duties you were called to perform were without any precedent; the law which you were required to carry out was crude and undigested; there was no past experience to guide you. So far as I know, all questions of doubtful construction were left to the decision of the legal advisers of the War Department.

However much I may differ in opinion from these decisions, as I certainly do in many cases, I do not see how you can be blamed for conforming to them.

The original enrollment act, as I understand it, provided for an enrollment of all persons in the United States between certain ages. These enrollments were to stand for two years, and biennially a new enrollment was to be made. This enrollment was to be made by districts, and when men were to be raised for the service the quota to be