him of desertion unless he answered it in person or by payment of commutation. Many of these men hereupon reported voluntarily, and more were arrested and held to service.
Many cases of deserters being furnished as substituted having occurred, Circular 64 (August 16) made principals furnishing such still liable to service, unless a second and acceptable substitute was put in this place.
It was decided by the General-in-Chief (and promulgated in letter from Adjutant-General's Office, August 28, 1863) that men arrested as deserters from regiments mustered out of service should be examined, and, if found to be such, should be assigned to some regiment of the same State to serve out all the times lost by desertion. This has been since the invariable practice.
Circular 82 ordered that drafted men failing to report, and arrested, would he held to service, unless disability were clearly proved to the Board of Enrollment, in which case they would be discharged.
Finally, in September, 1863, General Orders, No. 325, Adjutant- General's Office, increased the reward for arresting deserters to $30, which was to include all expenses. This increase of reward made both more uniformity and less trouble in the payment for arrests of deserters, and also considerably increased the number of arrests. Some persons were arrested who proved upon strict examination (as ordered by Circular 94, from this office) not be deserters. These were, of course, at once discharged, and no reward was paid. In other cases rewards were paid and afterward returned to the disbursing officer when the arrest was proved wrongful. No rewards were allowed for the arrest of drafted men failing to report, unless they were held to service.
Some minors who have deserted have been screened from punishment by issue of writ of habeas corpus. In the case of Leroy Whitman (March 16, 1864) it was adjudged that he was guilty of desertion, though he had enlisted as a minor, because with the knowledge and without the objection of his father. Since then no such writs have been issued. At the time the act approved February 13, 1862, repealing all laws authorizing the discharge of minors, though promulgated, did not seem to have been generally understood.
Tom facilitate arrests, post commanders and surgeons in charge of U. S.hospitals were instructed (Circular 46, Adjutant-General's Office, June 21, 1864) to report desertions as soon as ascertained to the nearest provost-marshal.
By Circular 85, Adjutant-General's Office, November 28, 1864, it was decided that deserters who had returned under the President's proclamation of March 10, 1863, must make good the time lost by desertion, in addition to their unexpired term of service, although relieved from punishment.
By an order consequent upon an opinion of Mr. Whiting,of January 5, 1865, it was decided that all persons gaining exemption by fraud were liable to be proceeded against as deserters. This was to remedy an extensive evil, all manner of frauds being attempted in order to evade service. In the case which especially called forth this opinion a drafted man gave his brother $300 to pay his commutation, who, instead of doing so, presented himself as the principal, and was exempted on the ground of "physical disability." This is but one of the many instances of sharp practice.
By enrollment act approved March 3, 1865, all principals aiding their substitutes to desert ware made a second liable to service.
48 R R-SERIES III, VOL V