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Adjutant and Inspector General Reports

1865 Report


The foregoing statement shows but 186 substitutes enlisted during the year, of whom 96 were for the army and 90 for the navy. Of those enlisted for the army about one-third deserted before reaching the front, and were never assigned to any company or regiment. Of those enlisted for the navy no reports are ever furnished to this office, except the official certificate of enlistment and credit. The Roster annexed in Appendix D will show the names of all those who have faithfully fulfilled their contract of enlistment, and who have died, been discharged, or mustered out of the service. If the question should be again raised, whether substitutes should be allowed the State pay of seven dollars per month, this record might serve as a proper criterion for determining what class of substitutes, if any, should receive it.

The business of substitute brokerage has not flourished in the State during the year. So many frauds were perpetrated, and the recruits furnished were, as a class, so utterly worthless, that every effort has been made by the officers of the State to discourage the business, and interpose every safeguard against it that could be devised. An in this effort the officers of the Provost Marshal's department, within the State, have earnestly and effectively co-operated; and the War Department have rendered efficient aid, by General Order No. 305, dated December 27,1864, which prescribed that the money of recruits, arriving at a draft rendezvous, exceeding twenty dollars, should be taken by the paymaster and retained until the man should arrive at his regiment. The result is shown in the diminished number of substitutes enlisted during the year.

Immediately after the assessment, in February last, of the quota of the State under the call of December 19, 1864, it was found, that the substitute brokers had almost entirely ceased their operations at the stations of the several Provost Marshal's, and the increased number of substitutes credited for the Navy soon indicated that they had transferred the scene of their labors to the several naval rendezvous in the cities, where the generally loose manner of transacting business gave them increased facilities for their peculiar mode of filling quotas. As it was then obvious, that the entire quota of the State would be very speedily filled by legitimate volunteering, and that the services of the substitute brokers were not essential to enable any town to avoid a draft, and that the frauds perpetrated, and the general character of the men furnished were such as to more than counterbalance any advantages, which could accrue to the Government or to the State from the continuance of the system, it was suggested to the War Department on the twentieth of February that, in view of the fact, that most of the substitute brokerage business, so far as this State was concerned, was transacted in connection with naval rendezvous for recruits, where greater facilities for fraud appeared to exist than elsewhere, and also in view of the then depleted condition of many of the infantry regiments from this State, recruiting for the Navy, under the call of December 19, 1864, so far at least as this State was concerned, should be no longer continued,--leaving the several Provost Marshals at liberty, under then existing orders, only to muster recruits for the infantry, and thereby ensuring the placing in Vermont regiments of infantry of all recruits then due from the State. This suggestion was promptly adopted by the War Department and the proper orders issued; and the quota of the State was immediately filled. And since about that time the substitute brokers, as a class, in this State, appear to have ceased to exist.

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