War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 1256 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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No credits will be reported or allowed to States or localities for men enlisting or transferred under the provisions of this circular. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.



Washington, April 1, 1865.

The following opinion of the Attorney-General is published for the information and guidance of all concerned:



March 15, 1865.


Secretary of War:

SIR: Upon the fourteenth section of the act entitled "An act to amend the several acts heretofore passed to provide for the enrolling and calling out of the national forces," which provides as follows:

"That hereafter all persons mustered into the military or naval service, whether as volunteer, substitutes, representatives, or otherwise, shall be credited to the State, and to the ward, township, precinct, or other enrollment sub-district where such persons belong by actual residence (if such persons have an actual residence within the United States), and where such persons were or shall be enrolled (if liable to enrollment); and it is hereby made the duty of the Provost-Marshal-General to make such rules and give such instructions to the several provost- marshals, boards of enrolment, and mustering officers as shall be necessary for the faithful enforcement of the provisions of this section, to the end that fair and just credit shall be given to every section of the country: Provided, that in any call for troops hereafter no county, town, township, ward, precinct, or election district shall have credit, except for men actually furnished on said call or the preceding call by said county, town, township, ward, precinct, or election district, and mustered into the military or naval service on the quota thereof."

You, in your letter of the 12th of March, ask my opinion on the following points:

First. As to the meaning of the words "actual residence," as employed in the above section, and the proper mode, according to law, of determining the actual residence of men offering as recruits.

Second. Where the "actual residence," of the recruit is on one sub-district and he is enrolled in a different sub-district, where shall the credit be given?

Third. In cases where the recruit has no legal domicile or actual residence in any enrollment sub-district, shall he be credited to the sub-district or district where he is enrolled, or shall he be allowed to select his locality?

I. The first of the above questions may be divided into two parts: First, as to the meaning of the words "actual residence," and secondly, as to the proper mode of ascertaining the "actual residence."

It is very difficult to give a test by which the question of actual residence may be determined in each particular case. A few general rules may be given, however, by which a vast majority of the cases can be readily determined:

1. Every person must be presumed to have an actual residence somewhere.

2. A man can have but one actual residence at one and the same time.

3. A residence one acquired remains until another is acquired.

4. The place of a man's origin is that of his actual residence until he acquires another.

5. Minors have their actual residence with their parents, guardians, or, if apprentices, with their masters.

6. Adults reside at the places of their dwelling. A man's dwelling in sin contradistinction to his place of business, trade, or occupation. He dwells at the place he habitually sleeps or passes his nights.

7. In every country there is more or less population floating like drift. They never expect to remain long at any place, and go thence whenever and wherever