Subordinate to the purpose of raising and organizing the national forces, the plan adopted by Congress shows a desire that the draft upon the industrial population of the several States and the communicates thereof should be equalized as nearly as practicable.
By the fourth section of the act of the 3rd of March, 1863, the United States is divided into districts, of which the district of Columbia shall constitute one, each Territory of the United States shall constitute one or more, as the President shall direct, and each Congressional district of the respective States, as fixed by a law of the State next preceding the enrollment, shall constitute one. The eighth section provides that there shall be a board of enrollment in each district. By the ninth section that, if the Board of Enrollment the assent of the Secretary of War into any greater number of subdivisions.
By the twelfth section it is made the duty of the President, in assign to the districts the number of men to be furnished therefrom, to take into consideration the number of volunteers and militia furnished by and from the several States in which said districts are situated, and the period of their service since the commencement of the present rebellion and shall so make as to equalize the numbers among the district of the several States, considering and allowing for the numbers already furnished as aforesaid, and the time of their service.
It is evident, from the face of this act, that the several States and districts had furnished a number of volunteers and militia, and for periods of service.
The first duty of the President was to have the national forces enrolled; his next duty was to ascertain what number of volunteers and militia had been furnished from the several States, and the periods of their service since the commencement of the present rebellion; and then, from what districts in the several States they came, that he might equalize the numbers among the districts of the several States, considering, and allowing for the number already furnished as aforesaid, and the time of their service. Under the act of the 3rd of March, 1863, it is plain that he had no right and power to cut up a district into counties, townships, precincts, or wards, in order to equalize the draft therey given in the ninth section to subdivide a district was for the purpose of facilitating the enrollment, and with no reference to equalization. It might and doubtless did happen in may districts, that one well-defined portion of a district as a county, township, or ward, had furnished greatly more than the number due therefrom, whilst other part of the same district, equally well defined, had furnished few or none, thereby making a draft upon the district necessary; and yet, under the act, it was not in the power of the President to make the draft otherwise than equal over the whole district. This was unjust and oppressive. In order to correct this flagrant hardship and injustice Congress, by the second of the act 24th of February, 1864, and which is an amendment of the act of 3rd of March, 1863, declared that the quota of each ward of a city, town, township, precinct, or election district, or of a county, where the county is not divided into wards, towns townships, precincts, or election districts, shall be, as nearly as possible, in proportion to the number of men resident therein liable to military service, taking into account, as far as practicable the number which has been previously furnished therefrom.