The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 6 by Abraham Lincoln
Letter to Governor Parker. July 25, 1863.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
July 25, 1863.
HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR JOEL PARKER.
SIR:--Yours of the 21st is received, and I have taken time and considered and discussed the subject with the Secretary of War and Provost-Marshal General, in order, if possible, to make you a more favorable answer than I finally find myself able to do.
It is a vital point with us to not have a special stipulation with the governor of any one State, because it would breed trouble in many, if not all, other States; and my idea was when I wrote you, as it still is, to get a point of time to which we could wait, on the reason that we were not ready ourselves to proceed, and which might enable you to raise the quota of your State, in whole, or in large part, without the draft. The points of time you fix are much farther off than I had hoped. We might have got along in the way I have indicated for twenty, or possibly thirty, days. As it stands, the best I can say is that every volunteer you will present us within thirty days from this date, fit and ready to be mustered into the United States service, on the usual terms, shall be pro tanto an abatement of your quota of the draft. That quota I can now state at eight thousand seven hundred and eighty-three (8783). No draft from New Jersey, other than for the above quota, will be made before an additional draft, common to [all] the States, shall be required; and I may add that if we get well through with this draft, I entertain a strong hope that any further one may never be needed. This expression of hope, however, must not be construed into a promise.
As to conducting the draft by townships, I find it would require such a waste of labor already done, and such an additional amount of it, and such a loss of time, as to make it, I fear, inadmissible.
Your obedient servant,
P. S.--Since writing the above, getting additional information, I am enabled to say that the draft may be made in subdistricts, as the enrolment has been made, or is in process of making. This will amount practically to drafting by townships, as the enrollment subdistricts are generally about the extent of townships. A.L.