The case of Henry McGill, as I am informed, is the ordinary case of a soldier intoxicated, and in that condition disorderly and committing an assault upon the sergeant of his company. This sentence is equally unwarranted, and shocks our ideas of humanity and justice as a punishment affixed to a crime.
The officers composing these courts-martial are inexperienced, most of them young, and it is only for the purpose of discipline and under a pressing necessity that they are intrusted with such powers at all. The Government has now by this statute, granting amnesty to all for the highest crime known to military law, opened the door for an exercise properly of the same amnesty and clemency by you in all past cases, and I feel certain that is judicious exercise will restore as many and as valuable men to the country's service as the statute itself. You have had occasion to revise in many instances the sentences of courts- martial passed upon officers and civilians. You know how extremely uncertain these tribunals have proved for the purposes of justice, and I trust your knowledge and experience will be availed of to work out some broad and generous relief for the poor private soldier, who has neither the means nor the friends to present his individual case and the special hardships he suffers, but who is nevertheless entitled from his utter dependence and lowliness to the kindest consideration of his Commander-in-Chief whenever opportunities present themselves for its proper exercise.
I am, respectfully and faithfully, yours,
JNO. A. ANDREW,
TUESDAY AFTERNOON, 4.30 O"CLOCK.
I called to present this letter of Governor Andrew earnestly recommending a pardon to all deserters in prison or under sentence as well as to those at large.
WAR DEPT., PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., March 23, 1865.
His Excellency SAMUEL CONY,
Governor of Maine, Augusta, Me.:
SIR: Yours of the 20th instant hoping that I will have the draft in Maine progress as moderately as possible is received. I do not desire to force the draft any further than is necessary under the orders of the President and Secretary of War, which require me now to have every board of enrollment fully occupied in putting men into the service in one way or the other. I am glad to learn by your letter that you are now getting volunteers rapidly and that the men are of a good class, and I sincerely hope that the progress in volunteering will render all further steps in regard to the draft unnecessary.
Major Littler's instructions require him not to proceed with the business of the draft wherever and whenever volunteers are presented as rapidly as they can be examined.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES B. FRY,