War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 1022 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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induce too much leniency, and the facility of obtaining certificates for disability invites applications for this cause, which would otherwise never have been made. One thing that has tended more than all others to produce these results is that each man who desires to procure exemption is permitted to seek the physicians he deems most facile to grant certificates, and by paying them fees for examination a mere nominal and verbal examination is made, instead of a thorough medical inspection. In some places the fee is $85, in others $10, and is some cases, as I have been informed, the applicant was not even required to appear before the board in person. I recommend, therefore, that these exemptions shall not be respected, and that you repeal your late law on this subject. Let a surgeon be designated before they are mustered into service, who shall not receive fees for certificates of disability. If they are found after proper scrutiny to be unable to perform military duty, they can be discharged and permitted to return to their homes. There is another serious objection to the law as it now stands. By far the greater proportion of the burden of the military service is thrown upon the farming and planting interests of the State. I am well satisfied that such was not the intention, by yet it is undeniable that such has been the result. The mechanics-tanners, shoemakers, blacksmiths, wagon makers, lumbermen and manufacturers, who are realizing large profits, the employees on railroads, canals, telegraphs, and various other branches of industry are exempted. The successful prosecution of these pursuits and various branches of business requires that exemptions shall be made, but it seems to me there can be no necessity for so large a number of exemptions as have been made. The exemptions in some places have been equivalent to the dismissal of almost the whole militia in those counties. I think it is certain now that the number we shall receive under the call of the 10th instant will not exceed, if indeed it shall reach, 30,000 men. The number called for by the President was 40,000, and we have most pressing need for that or even a larger number. A word more on a kindred subject. General Holmes, commanding the Fredericksburg division of the army, has suggested to me in a latter that it would be advisable to organize boards of officers for the examination of candidates for field officers, and if upon examination they were found deficient in the requisite qualifications for the positions to which they aspired the facts should be commissioned. He feels great solicitude lest the elective feature should operate prejudicially to the service, and no such person should be commissioned. He feels great solicitude lest the elective feature should operate prejudicially to the service, and such I know to be the feeling of other of our most distinguished generals in the field. I am well aware that it is now too late go change the elective feature, but at the same time I feel persuaded you will throw around it such safeguards as will relieve the apprehensions of our commanders and secure competent and efficient officers for the service.


RICHMOND, March 25, 1862.


Secretary of War:

SIR: As requested, I now make to you the following communication in writing: A connection between the Richmond and Danville Rrailroads of North Carolina can be made at points exactly midway between Danville and Richmond and nearly midway between Raleigh and Weldon by completing the extension of the Roanoke