How quotas are filled in Yankeedom.
Brigadier-General G. W. Hinks
, of the United States army, in command of recruiting rendezvous, Hart
's island, near New York, has recently addressed an interesting letter to the Adjutant-General
respecting the recruiting and bounty system.
His statements will seem incredible only to those who have not had opportunities of knowing how the Yankee
recruiting business has been carried on. The swindle on the Government
and people have been unprecedented.
"Felony is compounded and crime condemned by magistrates, that criminals may be sent into the army to stain its fair fame, imperil its success and dishonor its faithful soldiers, or desert its banners to join the enemy, enlist again in some other locality, consummating a double fraud — all to fill the quotas.
"Drunkards, useless for any purposes of life, are suborned to defraud the Government
and country by enlisting as soldiers — to fill the quotas.
"Imbeciles and lunatics are cajoled to enlist, and defrauded of their bounty by designing knaves, but no one appears to object — for it fills the quotas.
"Rebel spies, refugees, and fugitives from justice, are assisted to enlist in our armies, from which they pass, with well-filled pockets, directly into the Confederacy
— but it fills the quotas.
"Men cooped up, drugged, or stupefied with intoxicating liquors, and coerced to enlist under assumed names, which, oftentimes, they themselves are unable to remember; and no one detects the fraud until they become sobered at the general rendezvous, because every one is entirely engrossed — in filling the quotas.
"Soldiers from our armies are assisted, if not persuaded, to desert, and are concealed until they can be conducted to some remote locality to enlist again, by the extensive combination of runners and brokers, whose connections ramify the whole country to such an extent that a regular system is created of depleting our armies — to fill the quotas.
"Boys, whose immaturity, and old men whose senility, unfit them for the duties of a soldier; cripples and invalids, unable to perform the slightest degree of manual labor, are openly persuaded, or deceived into enlisting, by representing to them that they can be credited on a sub district, get the local bounty, and will be rejected when they arrive at the general rendezvous; and in many cases the town or county agent, broker, runner, and recruit, combine in the employment of every artifice to conceal the defects and incapacity of the recruit before enlistment; and after the credit has been obtained and the bounty divided, assist him to magnify his disabilities and wrongs, that he may be discharged, and they permitted to use him again — to fill the quotas.
"At this post alone, during the quarter ending December 31, 1864, forty-five recruits were discharged upon examination by a "board of inspectors" for utter worthlessness, to wit: seventeen for immaturity, three for old age, seven for chronic diseases, two for deformities, three for hernia, eight for epilepsy, three for asthma, and two for insanity.
A large number of others were, for similar causes, evidently unfit for the duties of a soldier in active service, but were retained and sent to their regiments, because it was probable they might be of some service to the Government
in some capacity, and to prevent their again enlisting to fill some quota.
"From long and varied experience with the class of recruits obtained under the present system, and from close personal observation at recruiting offices, mustering offices and general rendezvous and in the field, of the operations of the system during the last eighteen months, I am convinced that fully three-fourths of all the enormous contributions of States, counties and towns, for local bounties, etc., goes directly into the hands of the agent, broker, middle-man, runner, or deserter, and not more than one-fourth is ever received by soldiers who render bona fide
service in the armies of the nation; and from practical tests in the localities where I have had experience, it is evident that scarcely more than fifty per cent of the number of recruits credited to districts become effective soldiers in the army."