REPORT OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF BUREAU OF CONSCRIPTION.
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA,
WAR DEPARTMENT, BUREAU OF CONSCRIPTION,
Richmond, Va., February -, 1865.
Honorable J. C. BRECKINRIDGE,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to invite your attention to the papers herewith inclosed, respectively marked A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, and L, in response to a call for information of the 30th ultimo by the House of Representatives of the Confederate States, by the following resolution, which was referred by you to this Bureau, with instructions to furnish the information required.*
The paper marked A shows the number of persons enrolled and assigned to the Army since the passage of the act of Congress approved April 16, 1862.
B gives an approximate estimate of the number who have volunteered since the passage of said act. These persons, for the most part, regarded it as disgraceful to be conscribed, and went directly to the Army, avoiding enrollment and assignment from the camp of instruction. There is, therefore, no record of them at the camps and no means of making an estimate. Though called "volunteers," their joining the service was compulsory, and should be accredited to the energy exhibited in the enforcement of conscription. This estimate is regarded as much too small.
C exhibits the number of persons ascertained by the Medical Board to be incapable of performing service in the field, who have been assigned under the eighth section of the act of Congress approved February 17, 1864, to the various branches of service for which they were recommended by said Board.
D exhibits the number of persons exempted of the several classes of exempts enumerated in the said act of Congress.
E exhibits the number of agricultural details.
F exhibits the number of details allowed for reasons of public necessity.
G exhibits the number of details allowed the several bureaus and departments of service upon the certificates of the chiefs or heads thereof that the persons applied for were indispensable to the public service, exclusive of the details of contractors, artisans, mechanics, &c., for Government service.
H exrs with the Government to furnish supplies; also allowed upon certificates of heads of departments that the persons applied for were indispensable.
I exhibits the number of details of artisans, mechanics, &c. There are also allowed upon certificates of the chiefs or heads of departments that the persons applied for are experts, skilled, and indispensable to the public service, in conformity with General Orders, No. 77, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, of 1864.
K exhibits the number of deserters returned to the Army by the agencies of conscription. This statement is not called for by the resolution, but it is deemed important for the information of Congress.
L is a recapitulation of the several statements furnished.
The records of the Bureau do not show that any persons between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, capable of service in the field, are employed in the business of conscription except officers whose commands have been consolidated, and have, therefore, no appropriate service in the field, and the drill- masters assigned to the business of conscription. Conscripts employed as enrolling officers are taken from the list of those unfit for field service.
This Bureau has no means of showing the number of persons between eighteen and forty-five years of age, capable of field service, who are in the employment of post quartermasters or post commissaries. It is not informed, and it is not usually stated, where the commissaries or quartermasters applying for details are stationed. The details under existing orders can only be granted upon the certificate of the Quartermaster and Commissary Generals that the persons applied for are experts and indispensable to the public service, and the place or post of employment is not regarded as an element of the necessity which demands the detail. Hence the Bureau institutes no inquiry upon the point.
In order to render the report as accurate as the imperfect agencies allowed to the enrolling service will admit, it has been delayed till the present time to obtain the latest information from the commandants of the various States, furnished by their monthly consolidated returns.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. S. PRESTON,
Brigadier-General and Superintendent.
* Resolution (here omitted) embodied in next, ante.