Head-quarters, Department of the East, New York City,
August 18, 1803.
His Excellency Horatio Seymour, Governor of the State of New York:
Sir,—I did not receive until last evening your letter of the 15th instant.
Immediately on my arrival in this city on the 18th ultimo I called on you with General Canby; and in a subsequent interview with you at my head-quarters I expressed the wish that the draft in this State should be executed without the employment of troops in the service of the United States. In a letter addressed to you on the 30th ultimo I renewed, more formally, the expression of this wish, and stated that if the military power of the State could be relied on to enforce the draft, in case of forcible resistance to it, I need not call on the Secretary of War for troops for that purpose. In the same spirit, when some of the Marshals in the interior applied to me for aid against threatened violence, I referred them to you, in order that they might be protected by your authority. It was my earnest wish that the Federal arm should neither be seen nor felt in the execution of the law for enrolling and calling out the national forces, but that it might be carried out under the ӕgis of the State, which has so often been interposed between the general Government and its enemies.
Not having received an answer from you, I applied to the Secretary of War on the 14th instant for a force adequate to the object. The call was promptly responded to, and I shall be ready to meet all opposition to the draft. I trust, however, that your determination, of which your letter advises me, to call into requisition the military power, if need be, to put down violations of good order, riotous proceedings, and disturbances of the public peace, as infractions of the laws of this State, will render it unnecessary to use the troops under my command for the purpose, and that their only service here may be to protect the public property and the officers of the United States in the discharge of their duties, and to give to those who intend to uphold the Government, as well as those who are seeking to subvert it, the assurance that its authority will always be firmly and effectually maintained.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
John A. Dix, Major-general.*
* See Appendix, No. VII.
SOURCE: Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John Adams Dix, Volume 2, p. 83