On the seventeenth day of October, 1863, and before sufficient time had elapsed for bringing up the accumulated arrears of labor of the previous year in this office, the President of the United States issued his Proclamation, calling for 300,000 volunteers for three years' service, and announcing, that, if any State should fail to raise its quota, a draft would be had for the deficiency on the fifth of January, 1864.
On the nineteenth of October, 1863, a communication from the War Department was received by the Governor of the State, giving information, that the quota of the State, under the call for 300,000 men, was 3,330, computed upon the number of men of the first class enrolled in the State under the United States' enrolment, and that the quota of the State, under the draft had in July, 1863, was 4715, of which number 2792 had been obtained by the draft, leaving a deficiency due from the State, on that quota, of 1922, -- and that therefore the total quota of the State for the next draft, in case another draft should be rendered necessary by a failure to raise volunteers, would be 5222, -- subject to be reduced by all persons thereafter held to service under the draft, and by volunteers previously credited, or which should be obtained previous to January 5, 1864. This communications is annexed in Appendix B. Immediate measures were taken to raise, within the State, the number of men thus required. The quotas of the several towns were computed, the selectmen of each town were appointed Recruiting Officers and charged with the duty of raising the quota of their town; the State was sub-divided into Recruiting Districts, and a Superintendent of Recruiting was appointed in each, who was charged with the duty of receiving from the selectmen and delivering at the General Rendezvous, at Brattleboro', all recruits enlisted, visiting the several towns, giving to the selectmen such assistance and advice as might be necessary, and using all practicable means for ensuring the raising of the men required from each town in his District; and a Clerk, detailed from this office, was stationed at the General Rendezvous, to receive the recruits and present them for muster, attend to their Allotment, State pay, the preparation of the necessary Rolls, and the transaction of whatever business might be required for expediting the forwarding of the recruits to the Army, and promoting their comfort and welfare.
The orders and instructions, which were issued, and which explain fully the system adopted, will be found in Appendix A.
As the efforts previously made, as mentioned in my last Report, to have the several towns in this State declared sub-districts, under the enrolment law, and the draft made by towns, instead of by counties, had then proved unsuccessful, considerable anxiety was felt by the towns, that they might yet be subject to draft for any deficiency of the State, notwithstanding they might have filled their own quota. But on the twenty-eighth of October, 1863, the War Department directed, that the several towns should each be a sub-district, that each should be credited with all recruits raised by it, and that the draft, if one should become necessary, should be by towns. Subsequently, the assurance was added, that towns, which filled their quotas, should not be subject to draft.
Under the decision of October 28th, the several towns commenced in earnest the work of raising their respective quotas, both under the call for 300,000 men, and for the deficiency of the draft, and were making fair progress, when, on the fifth of November, a telegram was received from the War Department, that, if a State furnished its full quota of volunteers under the President's call for 300,000 men, the draft ordered for the fifth of January, 1864, would not take place. Under this decision, the several towns directed their efforts to the raising of the number of men required of them under the call for 300,000 men, and suspended, most of them, all efforts to obtain recruits to fill the deficiency under the draft. But, as it was shown by the communication of the War Department, of October 19, 1863, above mentioned, that this deficiency stood charged to the State, and it being deemed certain that other calls for troops would be made during the year, the towns were still urged to raise a sufficient number of men to fill both quotas.
At the suggestion of the War Department, and upon the request of the Governor, a detail of two officers and ten enlisted men from each regiment in service from the State, and one enlisted man from each company of Sharp Shooters, was sent to the State to aid in obtaining recruits. These details arrived in the State early in December, and were immediately distributed throughout the different Recruiting Districts, and directed to report to the Superintendents of Recruiting, by whom they were assigned to duty in the several towns. Some of these men rendered valuable service.
The recruiting service was conducted through the month of December, and until the fifth of January, with great energy and success; and although some towns failed to fill their quotas, yet other towns so far exceeded their quotas, and raised men toward the quota assessed for deficiency under the draft, that on the firth of January the entire quota of the State under the call for 300,000 men had been raised, and a surplus of several hundred men in addition. The patriotic action of the several towns, in offering liberal and in some cases quite large local bounties, in addition to the Government bounty and State pay, contributed largely to this result.
Recruits were forwarded in such large numbers to the General Rendezvous during the few days preceding the fifth day of January, that it was impossible for the officers of the Government to complete their mustered, and provide for all the necessary details, until much later in the month, and therefore a statement cannot be given to the exact standing of the State on that day. But on the first day of February, the account was made up as follows:
No. required Quota under call of Oct. 17, 1863 3,330 No. furnished. Volunteers from Oct. 1, 1863 to Jan. 31, 1864 3,761 Credits for recruits furnished from May 14, to Sept. 30, 1864 176 Re-enlistments in the field, reported to Jan. 31, 1864, 1014 4,951 ------ Excess, 1,621
The credit for 176 men, above mentioned, included the credit for 128 men, mentioned upon page 8 of my last Report of Oct. 1, 1863, and 48 additional enlistments, not then reported.
The quota assessed upon the State for deficiency under the draft of July, 1863, as shown by the communication from the War Department, of October 19, 1863, above referred to, still remained charged against the State, though much diminished by the efforts and success of those towns, which were not satisfied with merely averting a present threatened draft. The War Department still ruled, that towns should not remit their efforts, but should continue to enlist men. It was apparent, that other calls for troops much be made during the year, and that, if towns would continue their efforts, under the favorable circumstance which existed on the fifth of January, they would place themselves in the best possible position for meeting such calls, and with less expense than would probably be necessary at any future time. The towns were therefore urged to continue their work; and General Order No. 8 (Appendix A) was issued, January 23, 1864. This was followed, January 28,1864, by an official assurance from the War Department, that any surplus of men, raised by towns, should be credited upon future calls.
Many towns continued to enlist men as they could; but before any general effort was made, the President of the United States, on the first day of February, 1864, ordered that a draft for 500,000 men, to serve for three years, or during the war, should be made on the tenth of March, 1864, crediting and deducting therefrom so many as had been enlisted or drafted into the service previous to the first day of March, 1864, and not before credited. And on the same day the War Department announced, (Appendix B), that this was equivalent to a call for 200,000 men in addition to the 300,000 called for Oct. 17, 1863, and urged, that everything possible should be done to fill this as well as the previous call, and secure action at once, in anticipation of the exact quotas, to be thereafter announced.
Doubt was still entertained, whether this was an independent call for 200,000 men or was merely a consolidation of the call of Oct. 17, 1863, and the draft of July, 1863; and effort was made to ascertain its true construction, and the exact quota of the State. The telegrams upon this subject will be found in Appendix B. Official information was at length received, and was published in the Circular of February 19, 1864, (Appendix A,) issued from this office3, that the quota of the State, under this call, was 5,550, and that the State was credited with 7,575 men, furnished under the call of October 17, 1863, and under the draft of July, 1863, -- showing that the State had then furnished a surplus of 2,025 men over all calls previously made.
This was the first information, which was received, that the deficiency of 1,922, under the draft of July, 1863, charged against the State by the communications of the War Department of October 19, 1863, had been or was to be modified; and its effect was to reduce the quota of the State, under the draft, from 4,715, as stated in that communications, to 2,220, and to allow to the State a surplus, under the draft, of 572, instead of charging a deficiency of 1,922.
On the twenty-second of February the War Department announces, (Appendix B) that every town, which had failed to furnish the quota assigned to it, would be drafted for the deficiency, notwithstanding the State had furnished a number of men equal to the entire quota of the State.
On the twentieth of February, the several Provost Marshals, under the direction of the Provost Marshal General, computed quotas of the several towns; but in making the computation, each town was charged with its full quota of 500,00 men, and credited with all furnished under the draft of July, 1863, and all furnished under the call of October 17, 1863, but not with any credit which accrued from the raising of volunteers previous to the call of October. This operated very injuriously to all those town that were entitled to such credit; and the attention of the Governor, who was then in Washington, was at once called to the hardship and injustice of that mode of computation. The War Department, upon the application of the Governor, corrected the error by telegram to Brig. Gen. T. G. Pitcher, Acting Assistant Provost Marshal General for Vermont; and, in accordance with his directions, on the twenty-seventh of February, by the joint action of Gen. Pitcher and myself, a new assessment of quotas was prepared, in which the quotas assessed in General Order No. 2 of the Governor of Vermont, dated November 2, 1863, were taken as the quotas of the several towns under the call of October 17, 1863, and the quotas of the towns of 200,000 men, computed upon the basis of the United States' enrolment, were added, to make the total quota of each town of 500,000 men under the call of February 1, 1864; and each town was credited with all men furnished under the draft and under the call of October 17, 1863; and those towns, whose surplus credit exceeded, on the second day of November, 1863, their quota of 300,000 men under the call of October 17th, were also credited with the excess of their surplus credit above such quota. At the same time a full examination and settlement of the accounts with the United States for men required and furnished was had, and the account was balanced and the surplus carried forward to a new account.
The result of this examination showed, that the aggregate surplus of the towns was 2,323, and the aggregate deficiency of all the deficient towns was 34, -- leaving a net surplus, furnished by the State, of 2,289 above all calls made.
The quotas published by Brig. Gen. Pitcher on the first of March, 1864, show the result of this accounting, with the addition of such men as were credited between February 27thand March 1st. On that day, (March 1st) the aggregate surplus of the towns was 2,353, and the aggregate deficiency of the deficient towns was 31, leaving the net surplus of the State, over all calls, 2322.
On the fourteenth day of March, 1864, the President of the United States called for 200,000 men, in addition to previous calls, and ordered that a draft be made on the fifteenth of April, 1864, to fill the quotas of such towns as had not previously filled their quotas by voluntary enlistments. The quota of the State, under this call, was assessed at 2,300 men by the Provost Marshal General; and the quotas of the several towns were assessed and published by the Provost Marshals, giving to each town the surplus credit, to which it was entitled, over previous calls, and charging the deficient towns with their deficiencies.
The aggregate of the quotas of the State under this call and under the call of February 1, 1864, for 200,000 men, additional to the call of October 17, 1863, for 300,000 men, was 4,520 men, which was very nearly equal to the quota of the State under the draft of July, 1863, as charged to the State by the communication of the War Department of October 19, 1863. And those town, which acted upon that communication, and, in compliance with General Order No. 8 of the Governor of this Stated, and the orders preceding it, raised early their "deficiency under the draft," were not required to raise any men under the call of March 14th. The reasons for abandoning the terms of the communication of October 19th, and dividing into two parts the quota therein assessed, and calling for one part on the first day of February, and for the remainder on the fourteenth of March, have not been disclosed. Its probable purpose was to effect a settlement with al the States for men furnished, and, by ascertaining the exact standing of each, lay the foundation for a subsequent call, which should be enforced by draft, in necessary, for the purpose of equalizing all the States and better facilitating thereafter the prompt enforcement, in equal proportion in each State, of all such calls as should be made. It operated no serious inconvenience in this State, as most of the towns took advantage of the facility, with which men could be obtained in December, January and February, and raised the number assigned to them as "deficiency under the draft," and were thereby fully prepared for the call of March 14th.
Most of the towns continued actively to raise men under the call of March 14th, and on the first day of May, 1864, the aggregate surplus of the State over all calls, as shown by a statement received from the War Department, and which was assented to, as correct, on the part of the State, was 1996 men. But some of the deficient towns refused to give credit to the repeated assurances given by the Provost Marshal General, that every deficient town would be drafted for its deficiency, without regard to any surplus, which the State might have furnished, and trusted, that the energy and activity of those towns, which had furnished the State surplus, would save them from the just consequences of their negligence, and from the application of the amended enrolment law, which, in recognizing the right of sub-districts to be credited with all men furnished, necessarily involved the principle, that thereafter sub-districts, as well as States, should each be charged with and required to furnish their due proportion of every call which should be made.
But a draft was ordered, to raise the deficiency of the deficient towns, and commenced in all the Congressional Districts on the twelfth of May, and was continued until the deficiencies were very nearly filled.
On the nineteenth of May a telegram was received from the War Department, directing that the several towns be urged to commence the raising of men in anticipation of another call; and this telegram was published in Circular No. 9, (Appendix A,) issued from this office, and the towns earnestly called upon to comply with the suggestions made. This call was responded to with alacrity by most of the towns, and the work of raising men continued with commendable activity, so that, on the first day of July, 1864, the aggregate net surplus of the State, over all calls previously made, had been increased to 2,201 men, for three years' service.
On the eighteenth of July, 1864, the President of the United States issued his proclamation, calling for 500,000 men, in addition to previous calls, and ordering that a draft be had on the fifth day of September, unless the men should be previously furnished by voluntary enlistment. Under this call, the quota of this State was assessed by the Provost Marshal General at 5,156 men, which was apportioned upon the Congressional Districts, as follows:
First Congressional District 1,517 Second " " 2,094 Third " " 1,545 -------- Total quota 5,156
Credit being given for the surplus of men raised under previous calls, there remained to be raised, under this call, 2,955 men.
For the purpose of filling the quota of the State under this call, the same general system of recruiting service was adopted, as under the call of October 17, 1863, except that a Superintendent of Recruiting was appointed for each county, instead of sub-divisions of a county, as previously, and the recruits enlisted in each Congressional District were required to report at the Head Quarters of the Provost Marshal of the District, -- thus making three points of rendezvous in the State, instead of requiring all to report at a single rendezvous. A General Superintendent of Recruiting was detailed from this office, who was charged with the duty of receiving, at each rendezvous, the recruits delivered by the Selectmen to the several Superintendents of Recruiting in the District, presenting them for muster, and attending to whatever matter of detail was necessary for protecting their interests and securing their rights; and days were specially designated, upon which recruits in each District were to be presented. Orders were issued by Brig. Gen. Pitcher for facilitating the transaction of the business at each Provost Marshal's office, which will be found in Appendix B. The orders and instructions issued from this office will be found in Appendix A.
The recruiting under this call commenced at a very unfavorable season, when farmers were in the midst of their most pressing work, and labor was scarce and commanding prices hitherto unprecedented in the State. The very unusual number of casualties, resulting from the pending campaign, which brought desolation and mourning into many households in almost every town in the State, also had a very natural tendency to disincline men to enlist at a time when it seemed almost inevitable, that, if they did so, they would be at once forwarded to the front and exposed to the hazard of battle. But these and all other obstacles proved of no avail, as against the loyal determination of the citizens of the Sate to response promptly to the call of the President, at all hazards and regardless of expense. Town meetings were held throughout the State, and the selectmen of the several towns authorized to pay the most liberal bounties for recruits, -- in many cases as high as one thousand dollars for one year's service. The selectmen of nearly every town in the State devoted their time to the work of raising their quotas, and the utmost praise is due to them for their energy, activity and determination. They have been unwearied in their labors and are entitled to full credit for their success. They have demonstrated, by their efforts, and the results which they have secured, that no better system of recruiting service can be devised, than one which secures their assistance to the Government in the raising of troops. The Report of Charles L. Mead, the General Superintendent of Recruiting, will be found in Appendix C.
The quota, under this call, was based upon the United States enrolment, under which all persons between the prescribed aged, in each town, were enrolled; and although the books in the Provost Marshal's offices were, or should have been, at all times open for correction, and notices were issued, calling upon the towns to correct their enrolments, by procuring the names of all those, who were physically incapable of or otherwise exempt from the performance of military duty, to be taken from the rolls, yet, through failure to receive the notice, or from want of appreciation of the importance of attending to the duty, many towns did not procure any corrections, previous to the first of July, and in others but partial corrections were made. In the First Congressional District, by the active effort of the Provost Marshal, Capt. C. R. Crane, the corrections were very generally made; but in the Second and Third Districts, and especially in the Third, but comparatively few towns had paid any attention to the subject.
After the quotas under the call had been assessed and published, although they were carefully computed upon the basis of the enrolment, as it stood in each town, it was found, that they affected many towns very hardly and unequally, owing to the limited number of able bodied men in town, as compared with the number enrolled. The complaints and remonstrances upon this subject became so pressing, that on the twenty-fourth of August Brig. Gen. Pitcher directed the several Provost Marshals to notify the towns, that the enrolment lists would be open for correction to the thirty-first of August, and that quotas would be assigned upon the first of September, based upon the revised enrolments.
In pursuance of this order the several towns gave diligent attention to the correction of their enrolments, and erros were found and deductions made in the several Districts, as follows:
First Congressional District 365 Second " " 1,859 Third " " 2,387 ------- Total deduction, 4,611
On the first day of September, General Order No. 13 (Appendix A) was issued, equalizing the quota of each Congressional
District upon the towns in the District. But no authority was had to vary the quota of the State, or the apportionment of that quota to the several congressional Districts, as assessed by the Provost Marshal General. Yet it was obvious that both must be essentially varied, in order to equalize justly the quotas of all the towns in the State. The deductions necessary to be made from the quota of each Congressional District, in order to correspond with the corrected enrolment and equalize proportionally all the towns in the State, were found to be as follows:
First Congressional District 61 Second " " 308 Third " " 398 ----- Total deduction in quota of State, 767
Under these circumstances, the Governor, accompanied by myself, proceeded at once to Washington, and brought the matter to the attention of the War Department, and obtained an order, that the State be credited with 767 men, in order to reduce the quota to the basis of the corrected enrolment, and that the amount of the reduction be apportioned among the towns in the several Congressional Districts in such manner as to equalize the apportionment of the corrected quota upon the Congressional Districts. This correction was made and published in Circular No. 13, issued from this office Sept. 17, 1864, (Appendix A.)
In was subsequently ascertained, that, through accident, or carelessness, corrections actually made in seven towns in the Third Congressional District, and one town in the Second Congressional District, to the number of 105 names, had not been reported, until after the order of the War Department, crediting 767 men, had been issued. The credit towards quota, required in order to give these towns the benefit of their corrections., was seventeen; and the Acting Assistant Provost Marshal General, Brig. Gen. Pitcher, at once ordered that credit to be given to the towns entitled to it, -- and it was so done. Under this order the towns in the Third Congressional District received a credit of sixteen, and one town in the Second Congressional District received a credit of one.
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