Colonel John Ely, acting assistant provost-marshal-general, Trenton, N. J., May 27, 1865, refers for instructions a communication from Captain William M. Shipman, provost-marshal Third District of New Jersey, stating that many men drafted in his district in may and July, 1864, who fled to Canada and other parts unknown after being drafted, are now returning home, much to the dissatisfaction of the loyal portion of the community. Desires to know if they are to be arrested as deserters, and if so, what means are to be taken to secure their arrest, as he has no officers and no authority to employ any, and no guards to send in charge of them should they be arrested by citizens.
F. C. Reed, of Clyde, Wayne County, New York, July 31, 1865, states that the citizens of that section of country are apprehensive that their private property is insecure from the large number of sneaks and deserters who have recently come among them, and who threaten the good order of the community. He desires to know the status of this class of persons, and if they are subject to arrest as deserters. If they are, he asks for the appointment of a suitable person to apprehend and deliver them to the proper authorities.
Bvt. Lieutenant Colonel R. I. Dodge, acting assistant provost- marshal-general for New York City, N. Y., August 2, 1865, recommend that the usual reward of $30 be paid for the apprehension and delivery of all deserters from the Regular Army to the proper officers, as there are large numbers of these deserters who show themselves with impunity in New York and Brooklyn, relying upon the absence of reward to secure them from arrest.
Bvt. Lieutenant Colonel R. M. Littler, acting assistant provost-marshal-general for Maine, August 12, 1865, forwards a communication from Captain Elijah Low, provost-marshal, Fourth District of Maine, representing that his district is overrun with deserters from the Army and draft; that they are insolent and abusive too soldiers who have endured the hardships and perils of war, and many of whom are crippled by wounds or disease and are entitled to protection. He fears that as the only disability put upon deserters is disfranchisement by the United States Government, and as each state regulates the qualification of its own voters, they will have the right to vote under existing State laws. He asks permission to appoint suitable persons as deputy marshals to assist in executing the laws in his district.
Colonel Littler states that the same complaints of deserters returning and taunting soldiers who have lost limbs in service are made from all parts of the State, but are more numerous from the Fourth and Fifth Districts, and asks instructions as to committing deserters and payment of expenses. The majority of those lately arrested have been discharged by orders from headquarters Department of the East, with forfeiture of pay and allowances.
Stephen Miller, Governor of Minnesota, August 19, 1865, states that he learns from good citizens that many of the poltroons who fled from Minnesota to Canada and elsewhere either prior to or immediately subsequent to the draft to avoid military duty are now returning, and as they should in some way be held to a strict accountability for their infamous conduct, he hopes the War Department will take the matter in hand, as the laws of Minnesota make no provisions for their punishment.
Brigadier General E. W. Hinks, Harrisburg, Pa., June 9, 1865, refers communication from provost-marshal Eighteenth District, Pa., represent-