The object of these parties being to enrich themselves, it mattered little to them whether the men they furnished were fit for service, already deserters from the Army, or persons known as professional "bounty jumpers"-that is, men who made enlisting and deserting a vocation. Again, the anxiety of the citizens to have their respective quotas promptly filled induced submission to the evil, or at least for the time being prevented effort for its detection and prevention. By this system profligate and corrupt men amassed fortunes from the money raised for the purpose of paying local bounties to soldiers, and thus diverted it to the benefit of those who were least of all entitled to receive it. While enriching themselves they, on the one hand, appropriated the money which heavy taxation had produced, and on the other they furnished, in many instances, men whose only object was to obtain a Government and local bounty, and then desert or seek to be discharged. It is scarcely to allude to the effect upon a regiment when the places of even a few of its slain veterans were filled with such material. Veterans who had enlisted early in the rebellion, without expectation, of bounty, had good cause to murmur when late in the war unworthy recruits came among them rich with bounty for one year's enlistment.
After the call of December 19, 1864, General L. C. Baker, then special agent of the War Department, was at my request ordered to investigate, under my direction, frauds in the recruiting service. These abuses could not be thoroughly probed if his operations were limited to that branch of business pertaining to my Bureau (draft and volunteer recruitment), and his operations, therefore, reached the naval recruiting service, which was controlled by the Navy Department, and the recruiting service of the Regular Army, which was controlled by the Adjutant-General. The character and extent of the frauds and abuses in each of these branches of the general recruiting service appear, so far as they were developed by this investigation, in General Baker's official report. General Baker is entitled to special credit for the zeal and ability with which he conducted the investigation.
A plan of recruitment, based upon the bounty system, will necessarily be more expensive than any other, and, as a rule, produce soldiers of an inferior class; and although bounty is unquestionably calculated to stimulate recruiting, it does not always accomplish that object at the proper time. For when it is visible, as it was during the late war, that in the anxiety to obtain recruits the bounties offered constantly increased, the men who intend to enlist at one time or another are induced to hold back, with the hope, at a larger day, of receiving a higher compensation and having to serve for a shorter period.
In time of peace a sufficient number of recruits to meet the requirements of the service can usually be procured without the aid of bounty, and in time of war the country can least afford the cost, besides needing the service of better men than those who enter the Army simply for mercenary motives.
I beg leave to submit that for the purpose of maintaining or increasing the Army the law of Congress, as embodied in the act known as the enrollment act and its amendments, with the single additional amendment hereinbefore mentioned, is ample in itself for any emergency which the country has witnessed or is likely to meet in the future, without resorting to any system of bounties by the Government or local authorities. It has seemed the more necessary to