Draft of 1864.Although Kansas had furnished more than her quota of men under the calls for volunteers during the early years of the war, the provost marshal general, Brig.-Gen. James B. Fry, on Dec. 19, 1864, ordered a draft on the state for more troops. While the draft was in progress, Gov. Crawford was inaugurated in Jan., 1865. During the session of the legislature he acquainted himself with actual conditions, having the adjutant-general of the state prepare a complete list of all enlistments, reënlistments, etc., and on March 2, 1865, the day following the adjournment of the legislature, the governor set out for Washington, D. C., to convince the national authorities that the draft was unjust and not warranted by the actual state of affairs. After encountering a number of obstacles, he succeeded in obtaining credit for 3,039 men more than were shown on the state's muster rolls at Washington, thus placing the state 2,000 men in excess of all calls and demands.
Prior to that action on the part of the governor, a number of men had been drafted and some had been assigned to duty in the field. The secretary of war refused to discharge these men, offering as an excuse for his refusal the fact that other states were making similar claims. Gov. Crawford then went to Gen. Fry, who ordered the draft suspended. The adjutant-general's report, 1861-6, gives three lists of drafted men. On page 646. vol. 1, are the names of 34 men unassigned to companies; on page 989, same volume, are the names of 35 men assigned to new Company C, Tenth Kansas infantry; and on page 993 are the names of 50 men assigned to new Company D of the same regiment. The Tenth Kansas was at that time in Gen. Canby's command in the Red river country.
Upon Gov. Crawford's return to Kansas, he learned that some of the drafted men were still held a Fort Leavenworth, and on April 11 telegraphed to Gen. Fry asking their release. An order to that effect was received on the 15th and those conscripts at the fort were discharged from further service. In June the governor made another trip to Washington and obtained an order for the discharge of the men under Gen. Canby, but the war was already ended and they were mustered out with the regiment.
The most charitable view that can be taken of the draft on Kansas is that in the work of raising, organizing and equipping the great Union army errors occurred in the records, causing a misunderstanding as to the actual number of men furnished by the state. But the fact remains that the draft was unmerited and calculated to place the state in a false light. The men of Kansas answered every call, and once mustered into service they disharged[sic] their duties with credit to themselves and honor to the state.Page 544 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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