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[553] They are all properly certified to by the United-States mustering and company officers; and, in regard to the descriptive rolls, generally by the adjutant of the regiment. These rolls remain on file here, to be consulted whenever necessary.

I might here close this communication, but I wish to add something more. Few complaints were ever made that the rolls were incorrect until lately, and that since the inauguration of the system of offering large State and local bounties. This system warmed into life a certain class of men known as recruiting or substitute brokers, who agree to fill the quotas of towns for a specified sum. I have not a high opinion of this class; and I have no doubt that many of the selectmen and town agents have been grossly swindled by them. Numerous cases have come to my knowledge, where they have given certificates that they had furnished the men, and that the men had been mustered in, when the facts were not so; and bounty money has been paid to recruits and brokers before any assurance could be given that the recruit would be accepted, and credited to the town. I have no doubt, that, in many cases, the recruit and broker were fellow-partners in the swindle. Again, I have no doubt that gross wrong has been done by these brokers in this way; viz., men who go into new regiments can only be mustered in when the company is filled: this sometimes takes weeks, and months. The broker's recruit goes to camp; and, before the muster is made, the broker sells the man again, and he turns up at last as a recruit for a certain ward in Boston, when he originally enlisted, it may be, for the quota of Edgartown.

The Vineyard Gazette says that Edgartown paid local bounties to the men who enlisted for the quota of that town, and were not credited to it, the sum of $10,375, and lays the blame upon this office.

I have already shown that this office had nothing to do with making out the rolls, or with giving credits. I regret that any town should have expended this sum without gaining any reward; but, instead of finding fault with innocent parties, I respectfully submit, that the taxpayers of the town might properly ask the gentlemen, who confess that they paid the money, why they paid it before they had positive knowledge that the men were credited to the quota of their town? Common prudence would seem to dictate this course.

When Brigadier-General Devens had command of the camp at Long Island, a few months ago, he brought to my attention the fact, that some selectmen, who had received enlistment papers from this office, had signed the same in blank, and had left them with brokers in Boston, to get the men, and fill out the certificates, which certificates read as follows:—

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