Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Memorandum Concerning the Draft [1]

[c. January 22, 1865]

The draft matter complained of by Gov. Fenton is this, that in giving credits for part calls one three-years man is counted equal to three one-year men, while on the pending call each man is to count one and only one, whether he enlist for one, two, or three years. The practical difficulty may be illustrated by the following supposed case. The towns of A & B---before any enlisted, had each 100 men. On the late call A gave sixty six one year men, leaving only 34 at home, while B. gave 33 three-years men, leaving 67 at home. On the pending call each owes 100 men, subject to its credit. But while A gets credit for 66---it owes 34---taking the last man in it; while B gets credit for 99---owes one, and has sixty-six left quietly at home. This ugly conjuncture occurs in some sort accidentally, some towns putting in one years men and others three years men, while attaching no consequence to the difference, but which now burthens the one class absolutely beyond their immediate power to bear. While the above is only a supposed case, I am told there are realities that are even stranger---when there are not men enough in the town to answer it's quota. It gives no present relief that the one year men are to come home sooner than the three year men, as the former . . . [2]


[1]   AD, RPB. This memorandum is written in pencil on a blotter. The date has been assigned on the assumption that Governor Reuben E. Fenton's conference with Lincoln, January 22-24, provided the data of which Lincoln takes notice. On January 26, upon returning to Albany, Governor Fenton wrote Lincoln: ``Honorables James A. Bell, George H. Andrews, Thomas B. Van Buren, and E. C. Topliff, Members of the Legislature, visit you in regard to filling the quotas for our State. They will represent to you the public feeling, and what we deem just cause for complaint. I beg you consider favorably what they may say; and allow me again to earnestly renew my recommendations as to the mode of filling the present quota.'' (DLC-RTL). See Lincoln to Stanton, infra.

[2]   The last one and one-half lines are illegible.