War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 1150 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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quotas in the rural districts. The more wealthy, and especially the large cities, are bidding away all our disposable men by high bounties, of which the bounty brokers and the Government agents get the larger portion, while when we come to draft and the lot falls upon those opposed to the war, they get exempted through a system of corruption, and by supplementary drafts throw the burden on the few Union men left." Both these allegations are to some extent true. I do not know where the remedy is; I cannot suggest one, particularly as to the latter, and which I am satisfied exists to a serious extent and which is materially damaging the Government. It is one as to which it is almost impossible to get positive proof, for the safety of the Government agent is in the complicity in crime of the men with whom he deals. I have no such positive proofs, but upon careful gathering of information from some of the most reliable men in the State, I am satisfied:

First. That there is more of less corruption in at least one-half of the subordinate provost-marshalships of the State.

Second. That one of the causes of this is the low compensation paid to the men employed, which prevents the right kind of men from taking such positions, and increases the temptation to occupants to seek profit from other sources.

Third. I know the fact that some men of heretofore moderate means have retired from these positions with handsome competencies, while some remaining in them are manifesting outward tokens of worldly means not derived from salaries.

This matter has been one of frequent conference between Colonel Wilcox and myself. He is as painfully impressed with these truths as I am. In two or three cases I would have recommended changes, either in provost-marshals or surgeons, but I am at a loss to find men of undoubted character who are willing to take the positions. Colonel Wilcox is now investigating some cases through a detective, which is the only method of reaching them; but this class of testimony when acquired, though of a convincing character, will not be of such a legal nature as to convict of crime. I know this has been the result in one case, and I am satisfied two similar ones will be found.

Without any knowledge on my own part as to specific charges, I am clearly convinced that the public service and the interests of the community call for an immediate change in the Second District of the State. It should be done, in my judgment, before the next draft commences. I respectfully submit that it should not be the policy to hold this class of agents under the military rule of supersedure only on specific charges and court-martial investigations. They should rather be regarded as civil officers, who may be removed on a lesser grade of testimony, and when in the opinion of officers in whom you have confidence the public interest requires it. They possess too much power to conceal their acts, too much ability to cover up transgressions, to make the military rule safe, and great mischief is accomplished before you can reach them under it. The case in the Second District is in point. I have no doubt great wrongs have been done there; but independent of this the habits of the incumbent are bad. He has lost, if he ever possessed, the confidence of the homes and loyal people of the district; his continuance injures the cause of the Army and the Government. I do not say this in order to advance any other person, for I have no one to recommend, and should not know where to find one to fill the place without considerable inquiry; that is, one who would be wiling to accept it.