other entitled "An act to authorized the formation of volunteer companies for local defense," approved October 13, 1862,* to which your attention is revoked, and of which, as they are brief, copies are appended.
Under the former of these, of organizations could be effected with the limitation prescribed in their muster-rolls of service only at home, or at specified points of importance within the particular State, they would be admirably adapted to obtain the desired ends of calling out those best qualified for the service; of employing them only when and so, long as they might be needed; of having them animated with esprit de corps, reliant on each other and their selected officers, and of thus securing the largest measures of activity and efficiency, perhaps, attainable from other than permanent and trained soldiers.
After the most active and least-needed portion of the reserves were embodied under the former law, the latter would allow smaller organizations, with more limited range of service, for object of police and the pressing contingencies of neighborhood defense. Could these laws generally be acted on, it is believed as full organization of the reserve population would be secured for casual needs as would be practicable. These laws, however, contemplate only voluntary action, and no compulsion or draft can be restored to secure organizations under them. It may well be doubted whether at this stage of the war, with the engrossing duties pressing on the militate population at home, and the experience had of the privations of military service, the spirit of volunteering would be sufficiently eager and active to secure the prompt formation of such organizations. The apprehension at least of a draft, otherwise unavoidable, would aid powerfully patriotic impulses, and by interesting all to encourage and assist such organizations might suffice to assure them. The President has, therefore, determined to make a requisition on the Governors of the several States to furnish, by an appointed time, for service within the State, and for the limited period of six months, a number of men proportionate to the relative population of each, unless the same can be organized previously in such voluntary corps as may render them subject to his call for like duty; and it is recommended to you to announce by proclamation such requisition, and that, unless by a preceding day the requisite forces can be presented by voluntary organizations under the first-named law, a draft will be made on all the militia not engaged in voluntary organizations under that law to furnish the requisite quota.
When the need of the country for such additional service if fully presented to and realized by the patriotic population of your State, and, in addition, the question is narrowed to the election between voluntary organizations for special service within the State, under officers of their own selection, and with the privilege of remaining at home in the pursuit of their ordinary avocations, unless when called for a temporary exigency to active duty and the continuous service for an appointed time, under compulsory draft as militiamen, it is confidently believed that the general preference will be promptly manifested for the former.
In the formation of these organizations it is reasonable to be expected that such portion of the population as may have seen service, but have been, by detail, discharge, or other cause, released from the Army, will constitute an important element, and that officers in
* See p. 206.