An average of about 500 communications have been received monthly, fully nine-tenths of which require to be answered by letter or indorsement. Those not returned with indorsement are neatly filed away.
Communications to this branch relate principally to questions of enrollment, disputed credits, requests for certificates of credit to obtain local bounty, and applications for return of commutation money, each involving much time and labor in their proper investigation.
Applications for return of commutation money receive the most rigid scrutiny, and require a close examination of the papers presented in connection with orders and circulars, and a careful consideration of the circumstances attending each case. In all cases before a claim is decided upon a report and opinion of the Board of Enrollment of the district in which the claim originated is required.
The following will show the number of applications heretofore received by this branch and the disposition made of them.
Whole number of applications received, 757; number approved and ordered to be paid, 311; number disapproved and filed, 297; number now on hand, 149.
The general result as to the number of men obtained for the Army and Navy by this Bureau since its organization may be summed up as follows:
Product of the drafts (men).......................... 168,649
Number who paid commutation money for the procuration
of substitutes, under act March 3, 1863.............. 85,457
Number who paid commutation money under section 17,
act of February 24, 1864 (conscientiously opposed
to bearing arms)..................................... 1,267
Volunteer recruits (Army and Navy, and Regulars)..... 1,076,558
In connection herewith I have the honor to submit a statement of the number of men called for by the President of the United States, and the number furnished by each State, Territory, and the District of Columbia, from April 15, 1861, to April 30, 1865; also a table containing the results as shown by the final reports of the draft under calls of July, 1863, March 14, 1864 (which includes calls of October 17, 1863, and February 1, 1864), July 18, 1864, and December 19, 1864.
I will here conclude the report of the branch under my charge and respectfully submit the following general remarks:
Several suggestions present themselves in relation to enrollment, recruiting, substitution, bounties, &c., among which the following are offered as worthy of attention:
Enrollment.-In a population so largely floating as is that of the United States much trouble will always exist in securing an accurate enrollment; and in order to do so as far as practicable it is recommended that enrolling officers be appointed only after a careful examination into their capacity and integrity, and that all persons between the prescribed ages be compelled, by such laws as may hereafter be enacted, to appear before the enrolling officer of their sub-district or Board of Enrollment of the district and enroll themselves, giving age, residence, and occupation, or be exempted if not liable to do military duty; and all those who voluntarily fail to report should be subject to such penalties and liabilities as Congress may prescribe, and men arriving at the designated age for liability for military duty