To Edwin M. Stanton

Hon. Secretary of War.             Executive Mansion,
Sir Washington,                           Feb. 27, 1864.

You ask some instruction from me in relation to the Report of Special Commission, constituted by an order of the War Department, dated Dec. 5 1863, “to revise the enrolment & quotas of the City & State of New-York, & report whether there be any & what errors, or irregularities therein, and what corrections, if any should be made.” [The aspect of this case, as presented by this order and report, is entirely new to me, I having personally known nothing of the order, commission, or report, until now presented for my consideration.] In the correspondence between the Governor of New-York and myself last summer, I understood him to complain that the enrolments in several of the Districts of that State had been neither accurately nor honestly made; and, in view of this I for the draft then immediately ensuing, ordered an arbitrary reduction of the quotas in several of the Districts, wherein they seemed too large, [for the draft then immediately ensuing,] and said “After this drawing these four Districts and also the seventeenth and twentyninth shall be carefully re-enrolled, and, if you please, agents of yours may witness every step of the process” In a subsequent letter I believe some additional Districts were put into the list of those to be re-enrolled. My idea was to do the work over, according to the law, in presence of the complaining party, and thereby to correct anything which might be found amiss. The Commission, whose work I am considering, seem to have proceeded upon a totally different idea. Not going forth to find men at all, they have proceeded altogether upon paper examinations and mental processes. One of their conclusions, as I understand is, that as the law stands, and attempting to follow it, the e[n]rolling officers could not have made the enrolments much more accurately than they did. The report, on this point, might be useful to Congress.

The Commission conclude that the quotas for the draft should be based upon entire population, and they proceed upon this basis to give a table for the State of New-York, in which some districts are reduced, and some increased. For the now ensuing draft, let the quotas stand as made by the enrolling officers, in the Districts wherein this table requires them to be increased; and let them be reduced according to the table, in the others. This to be no precedent for subsequent action; but as I think this report may, on full consideration, be shown to have much that is valuable in it, I suggest that such consideration be given it; and that it be especially considered whether it’s suggestions can be conformed to without an alternation of the law. Yours truly A. LINCOLN


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