War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0827 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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draft whenever one may be necessary, and account to the Government for the proceeds, to be applied as credits on the quota of the State. Each State thus becomes debtor to the Government for so many men, and is credited from time to time by volunteers, drafted men, &c., furnished, until the account is balanced. Whenever the books at Washington show that any State is in arrears let requisition be made through the acting assistant provost-marshal-general for the number of men due, and let him, with a full knowledge of all the facts and circumstances of the case, proceed to make the necessary assessment upon the delinquent sub-districts and raise the men by draft or otherwise.

It does seem clear to me that this plan would greatly simplify the work both at the Washington office and in the respective States, while it would avoid many previously existing causes of perplexing discrepancies of record. All that the Government wants is the men, and all that the people of the different States want is a simple, direct, and palpably just and intelligible distribution of the burden. It is manifest that the apportionment of quotas from the State's indebtedness directly to the ultimate sub-district unit, instead of circuitously through the Congressional district, is an immense saving of labor and greatly enhances the probability of accuracy, while it is not seen that a single valid objection can be advanced against so simple a plan of operations; and it is entirely certain that, taking this State as an example, the one end in view-the filling of the prescribed quota-would have been more promptly, smoothly, and effectively accomplished.

I would further recommend in connection with the point under advisement that not only all books and other stationery be furnished by the acting assistant provost-marshal-general to the district boards of enrollment, as is now the case, but also that all necessary circulars, advertisements, and other official printing be executed, as far as possible, under the direct supervision of the acting assistant provost-marshals-general of States, and that a uniform system of keeping all accounts and records be prescribed by your Bureau and enforced through your assistant in each State. The benefits arising from the application of this principle to the matter of books and stationery expenditure, and there is no doubt that like advantages would follow the application of the same rule to the matters above indicated. With a strict uniformity of records and accounts we should know precisely what information could be furnished at once upon requisition and what could not, and unity, instead of diversity, would characterize all the detailed business transactions of the Bureau.

2. Enrollment.-The starting point and basis of the whole system of replenishing the National Army through the agency of the Bureau of the Provost-Marshal-General is the enrollment of the arms-bearing population of the country. Upon its completeness and correctness depends the equity of credits allowed and quotas imposed. If the enrollment is right, all is right; if wrong, all is wrong. To no other subject have I given more attention and thought. It cannot be denied that the enrollments made under existing laws were far from being perfect, and it is equally undeniable, I think, that the errors contained in said enrollments were not due so much to remissness on the part of enrolling officers [some of whom, doubtless, were incompetent and unfaithful] as to grave defects in the laws themselves under which they acted. In fact, it is believed that most of the imperfections can never be avoided under the present system.