Open main menu

A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I/First Congress, Fourth Session

< A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I

FOURTH SESSION.

MET AT RICHMOND, VA., DECEMBER 7, 1863. ADJOURNED FEBRUARY 17, 1864.

MESSAGES.

Richmond, Va., December 7, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States.

The necessity for legislative action arising out of the important events that have marked the interval since your adjournment, and my desire to have the aid of your counsel on other matters of grave public interest, render your presence at this time more than ordinarily welcome. Indeed, but for serious obstacles for convoking you in extraordinary session and the necessity for my own temporary absence from the seat of government, I would have invited you to an earlier meeting than that fixed at the date of your adjournment.

Grave reverses befell our arms soon after your departure from Richmond. Early in June [July] our strongholds at Vicksburg and Port Hudson, together with their entire garrisons, capitulated to the combined land and naval forces of the enemy. The important interior position of Jackson next fell into their temporary possession. Our unsuccessful assault upon the post at Helena was followed at a later period by the invasion of Arkansas, and the retreat of our army from Little Rock gave to the enemy the control of the important valley in which it is situated.

The resolute spirit of the people soon rose superior to the temporary despondency naturally resulting from these reverses. The gallant troops, so ably commanded in the States beyond the Mississippi, inflicted repeated defeats on the invading armies in Louisiana and on the coast of Texas. Detachments of troops and active bodies of partisans kept up so effective a war on the Mississippi River as practically to destroy its value as an avenue of commerce.

The determined and successful defense of Charleston against the joint land and naval operations of the enemy afforded an inspiring example of our ability to repel the attacks even of the ironclad fleet on which they chiefly rely, while on the northern frontier our success was still more marked.

The able commander[1] who conducted the campaign in Virginia determined to meet the threatened advance on Richmond, for which the enemy had made long and costly preparations, by forcing their armies to cross the Potomac and fight in defense of their own capital and homes. Transferring the battlefield to their own soil, he succeeded in compelling their rapid retreat from Virginia, and in the hard-fought battle of Gettysburg inflicted such severity of punishment as disabled them from early renewal of the campaign as originally projected. Unfortunately the communications on which our general relied for receiving his supplies of munitions were interrupted by extraordinary floods, which so swelled the Potomac as to render impassable the fords by which his advance had been made, and he was thus forced to a withdrawal, which was conducted with deliberation after securing large trains of captured supplies, and with a constant and unaccepted tender of battle. On more than one occasion the enemy has since made demonstrations of a purpose to advance, invariably followed by a precipitate retreat to intrenched lines on the approach of our forces.

The effective check thus offered to the advance of the invaders at all points was such as to afford hope of their early expulsion from portions of the territory previously occupied by them, when the country was painfully surprised by the intelligence that the officer[2] in command of Cumberland Gap had surrendered that important and easily defensible pass without firing a shot, upon the summons of a force still believed, to have been inadequate to its reduction, and when reinforcements were in supporting distance and had been ordered to his aid. The entire garrison, including the commander, being still held prisoners by the enemy, I am unable to suggest any explanation of this disaster, which laid open Eastern Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia to hostile operations and broke the line of communication between the seat of government and Middle Tennessee. This easy success of the enemy was followed by an advance of General Rosecrans into Georgia; and our army evacuated Chattanooga and availed itself of the opportunity thus afforded of winning, on the field of Chickamauga, one of the most brilliant and decisive victories of the war. This signal defeat of General Rosecrans was followed by his retreat into Chattanooga, where his imperiled position had the immediate effect of relieving the pressure of the invasion at other points, forcing the concentration for his relief of large bodies of troops withdrawn from the armies in the Mississippi Valley and in Northern Virginia. The combined forces thus accumulated against us in Tennessee so greatly outnumbered our army as to encourage the enemy to attack. After a long and severe battle, in which great carnage was inflicted on him, some of our troops inexplicably abandoned a position of great strength, and by a disorderly retreat compelled the commander[3] to withdraw the forces elsewhere successful, and finally to retreat with his whole army to a position some twenty or thirty miles to the rear. It is believed that if the troops who yielded to the assault had fought with the valor which they had displayed on previous occasions, and which was manifested in this battle on the other parts of the line, the enemy would have been repulsed with very great slaughter, and our country would have escaped the misfortune and the Army the mortification of the first defeat that has resulted from misconduct by the troops. In the meantime the army of General Burnside was driven from all its field positions in Eastern Tennessee and forced to retreat into its intrenchments at Knoxville, where for some weeks it was threatened with capture by the forces under General Longstreet. No information has reached me of the final result of the operations of our commander, though intelligence has arrived of his withdrawal from that place.

While, therefore, our success in driving the enemy from our soil has not equaled the expectations confidently entertained at the commencement of the campaign, his progress has been checked. If we are forced to regret losses in Tennessee and Arkansas, we are not without ground for congratulation on successes in Louisiana and Texas. On the seacoast he is exhausted by vain efforts to capture our ports, while on the northern frontier he has in turn felt the pressure and dreads the renewal of invasion. The indomitable courage and perseverance of the people in the defense of their homes have been nobly attested by the unanimity with which the Legislatures of Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia have recently given expression to the popular sentiment, and like manifestations may be anticipated from all the States. Whatever obstinacy may be displayed by the enemy in his desperate sacrifices of money, life, and liberty in the hope of enslaving us, the experience of mankind has too conclusively shown the superior endurance of those who fight for home, liberty, and independence to permit any doubt of the result.

Foreign Relations.

I regret to inform you that there has been no improvement in the state of our relations with foreign countries since my message[4] in January last. On the contrary, there has been a still greater divergence in the conduct of European nations from that practical impartiality which alone deserves the name of neutrality, and their action in some cases has assumed a character positively unfriendly.

You have heretofore been informed that by common understanding the initiative in all action touching the contest on this continent had been left by foreign powers to the two great maritime nations of Western Europe, and that the Governments of these two nations had agreed to take no measures without previous concert. The result of these arrangements has, therefore, placed it in the power of either France or England to obstruct at pleasure the recognition to which the Confederacy is justly entitled, or even to prolong the continuance of hostilities on this side of the Atlantic, if the policy of either could be promoted by the postponement of peace. Each, too, thus became possessed of great influence in so shaping the general exercise of neutral rights in Europe as to render them subservient to the purpose of aiding one of the belligerents to the detriment of the other. I referred at your last session to some of the leading points in the course pursued by professed neutrals which betrayed a partisan leaning to the side of our enemies, but events have since occurred which induce me to renew the subject in greater detail than was then deemed necessary. In calling to your attention the action of those Governments, I shall refer to the documents appended to President Lincoln's messages, and to their own correspondence, as disclosing the true nature of their policy and the motives which guided it. To this course no exception can be taken, inasmuch as our attention has been invited to those sources of information by their official publication.

In May, 1861, the Government of Her Britannic Majesty informed our enemies that it had not "allowed any other than an intermediate position on the part of the Southern States," and assured them "that the sympathies of this country [Great Britain] were rather with the North than with the South."

On the 1st day of June, 1861, the British Government interdicted the use of its ports "to armed ships and privateers, both of the United States and the so-called Confederate States," with their prizes. The Secretary of State of the United States fully appreciated the character and motive of this interdiction when he observed to Lord Lyons, who communicated it, "that this measure and that of the same character which had been adopted by France would probably prove a deathblow to Southern privateering."

On the 12th of June, 1861, the United States Minister in London informed Her Majesty's Secretary for Foreign Affairs that the fact of his having held interviews with the Commissioners of this Government had given "great dissatisfaction," and that a protraction of this relation would be viewed by the United States "as hostile in spirit, and to require some corresponding action accordingly." In response to this intimation Her Majesty's Secretary assured the Minister that "he had no expectation of seeing them any more."

By proclamation issued on the 19th and 27th of April, 1861, President Lincoln proclaimed the blockade of the entire coast of the Confederacy, extending from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, embracing, according to the returns of the United States Coast Survey, a coast line of 3,549 statute miles, on which the number of rivers, bays, harbors, inlets, sounds, and passes is 189. The navy possessed by the United States for enforcing this blockade was stated in the reports communicated by President Lincoln to the Congress of the United States to consist of twenty-four vessels of all classes in commission, of which half were in distant seas. The absurdity of the pretension of such a blockade in face of the authoritative declaration of the maritime rights of neutrals made at Paris in 1856 was so glaring that the attempt was regarded as an experiment on the forbearance of neutral powers which they would promptly resist. This conclusion was justified by the facts that the Governments of France and Great Britain determined that it was necessary for their interests to obtain from both belligerents "securities concerning the proper treatment of neutrals." In the instructions which "confided the negotiations on this matter" to the British Consul in Charleston, he was informed that "the most perfect accord on this question exists between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the Emperor of the French," and these instructions were accompanied by a copy of the dispatch of the British Foreign Office of the 18th May, 1861, stating that there was no difference of opinion between Great Britain and the United States as to the validity of the principles enunciated in the fourth article of the declaration of Paris in reference to blockades. Your predecessors of the Provisional Congress had, therefore, no difficulty in proclaiming, nor I in approving, the resolutions which abandoned in favor of Great Britain and France our right to capture enemy's property when covered by the flags of those powers. The "securities" desired by these Governments were understood by us to be required from both belligerents. Neutrals were exposed on our part to the exercise of the belligerent right of capturing their vessels when conveying the property of our enemies. They were exposed on the part of the United States to interruption in their unquestioned right of trading with us by the declaration of the paper blockade above referred to. We had no reason to doubt the good faith of the proposal made to us, nor to suspect that we were to be the only parties bound by its acceptance. It is true that the instructions of the neutral powers informed their agents that it was "essential under present circumstances that they should act with great caution in order to avoid raising the question of the recognition of the new Confederation," and that the understanding on the subject did not assume, for that reason, the shape of a formal convention. But it was not deemed just by us to decline the arrangement on this ground, as little more than ninety days had then elapsed since the arrival of our Commissioners in Europe, and neutral nations were fairly entitled to a reasonable delay in acting on a subject of so much importance, and which from their point of view presented difficulties that we, perhaps, did not fully appreciate. Certain it is that the action of this Government on the occasion and its faithful performance of its own engagements have been such as to entitle it to expect on the part of those who sought in their own interests a mutual understanding the most scrupulous adherence to their own promises. I feel constrained to inform you that in this expectation we have been disappointed, and that not only have the governments which entered into these arrangements yielded to the prohibition against commerce with us which has been dictated by the United States in defiance of the law of nations, but that this concession of their neutral rights to our detriment has on more than one occasion been claimed in intercourse with our enemies as an evidence of friendly feeling toward them. A few extracts from the correspondence of Her Majesty's Chief Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs will suffice to show marked encouragement to the United States to persevere in its paper blockade, and unmistakable intimations that Her Majesty's Government would not contest its validity.

On the 21st of May, 1861, Earl Russell pointed out to the United States Minister in London that "the blockade might no doubt be made effective, considering the small number of harbors on the Southern coast, even though the extent of 3,000 miles were comprehended in terms of that blockade." On the 14th of January, 1862, Her Majesty's Minister in Washington communicated to his Government that, in extenuation of the barbarous attempt to destroy the port of Charleston by sinking a stone fleet in the harbor, Mr. Seward had explained "that the Government of the United States had last spring, with a navy very little prepared for so extensive an operation, undertaken to blockade upward of 3,000 miles of coast. The Secretary of the Navy had reported that he could stop up the 'large holes' by means of his ships, but that he could not stop up the 'small ones.' It had been found necessary, therefore, to close some of the numerous small inlets by sinking vessels in the channel."

On the 6th of May, 1862, so far from claiming the rights of British subjects as neutrals to trade with us as belligerents, and to disregard the blockade on the ground of this explicit confession by our enemy of his inability to render it effective, Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs claimed credit with the United States for friendly action in respecting it. His Lordship stated that "the United States Government, on the allegation of a rebellion pervading from nine to eleven States of the Union, have now for more than twelve months endeavored to maintain a blockade of 3,000 miles of coast. This blockade, kept up irregularly, but when enforced, enforced severely, has seriously injured the trade and manufactures of the United Kingdom. Thousands are now obliged to resort to the poor rates for subsistence, owing to this blockade. Yet Her Majesty's Government have never sought to take advantage of the obvious imperfections of this blockade in order to declare it ineffective. They have, to the loss and detriment of the British nation, scrupulously observed the duties of Great Britain toward a friendly State."

Again, on the 22d of September, 1862, the same noble earl asserted that the United States were "very far indeed" from being in "a condition to ask other nations to assume that every port of the coasts of the so-styled Confederate States is effectively blockaded."

When, in view of these facts, of the obligation of the British nation to adhere to the pledge made by their Government at Paris in 1856, and renewed to this Confederacy in 1861, and of these repeated and explicit avowals of the imperfection, irregularity, and inefficiency of the pretended blockade of our coast, I directed our commissioner at London to call upon the British Government to redeem its promise and to withhold its moral aid and sanction from the flagrant violation of public law committed by our enemies, we were informed that Her Majesty's Government could not regard the blockade of the Southern ports as having been otherwise than "practically effective" in February, 1862, and that "the manner in which it has since been enforced gives to neutral governments no excuse for asserting that the blockade has not been efficiently maintained." We were further informed, when we insisted that by the terms of our agreement no blockade was to be considered effective unless "sufficient really to prevent access to our coast," "that the declaration of Paris was, in truth, directed against the blockades not sustained by any actual force, or sustained by a notoriously inadequate force, such as the occasional appearance of a man-of-war in the offing, or he like."

It was impossible that this mode of construing an agreement so as to make its terms mean almost the reverse of what they plainly conveyed could be considered otherwise than as a notification of the refusal of the British Government to remain bound by its agreement or longer to respect those articles of the declaration of Paris which had been repeatedly denounced by British statesmen and had been characterized by Earl Russell as "very imprudent" and "most unsatisfactory."

If any doubt remained of the motives by which the British ministry have been actuated in their conduct, it would be completely dissipated by the distinct avowals and explanations contained in the published speech recently made by Her Majesty's Secretary for Foreign Affairs. In commenting on the remonstrances of this Government against the countenance given to an ineffective blockade, the following language is used:

It is said we have, contrary to the declaration of Paris, contrary to international law, permitted the blockade of 3,000 miles of American coast. It is quite true we did so, and the presumable cause of complaint is quite true, that although the blockade is kept up by a sufficient number of ships, yet these ships were sent into the U. S. Navy in a hurry, and are ill-fitted for the purpose, and did not keep up so completely and effectively as was required, an effective blockade.

This unequivocal confession of violation, both of agreement with us and of international law, is defended on grounds the validity of which we submit with confidence to the candid judgment of mankind.

These grounds are thus stated:

Still, looking at the law of nations, it was a blockade we, as a great belligerent power in former times, should have acknowledged. We ourselves had a blockade of upward of 2,000 miles, and it did seem to me that we were bound in justice to the Federal States of America to acknowledge that blockade. But there was another reason which weighed with me. Our people were suffering severely for the want of that material which was the main staff of their industry, and it was a question of self-interest whether we should not break the blockade. But in my opinion the men of England would have been forever infamous if, for the sake of their own interest, they had violated the law of nations and made war, in conjunction with these slaveholding States of America, against the Federal States.

In the second of these reasons our rights are not involved, although it may be permitted to observe that the conduct of governments has not heretofore to my knowledge been guided by the principle that it is infamous to assert their rights whenever the invasion of those rights creates severe suffering among their people and injuriously affects great interests. But the intimation that relations with these States would be discreditable because they are slaveholding would probably have been omitted if the official personage who has published it to the world had remembered that these States were, when colonies, made slaveholding by the direct exercise of the power of Great Britain, whose dependencies they were, and whose interests in the slave trade were then supposed to require that her colonies should be made slaveholding.

But the other ground stated is of a very grave character. It asserts that a violation of the law of nations by Great Britain in 1807, when that Government declared a paper blockade of 2,000 miles of coast (a violation then defended by her courts and jurists on the sole ground that her action was retaliatory), affords a justification for a similar outrage on neutral rights by the United States in 1861, for which no palliation can be suggested; and that Great Britain "is bound, in justice to the Federal States," to make return for the war waged against her by the United States in resistance of her illegal blockade of 1807, by an acquiescence in the Federal illegal blockade of 1861. The most alarming feature in this statement is its admission of a just claim on the part of the United States to require of Great Britain during this war a disregard of the recognized principles of modern public law and of her own compacts, whenever any questionable conduct of Great Britain, "in former times," can be cited as a precedent. It is not inconsistent with respect and admiration for the great people whose Government have given us this warning, to suggest that their history, like that of mankind in general, offers exceptional instances of indefensible conduct "in former times," and we may well deny the morality of violating recent engagements through deference to the evil precedents of the past.

After defending, in the manner just stated, the course of the British Government on the subject of the blockade, Her Majesty's Foreign Secretary takes care to leave no doubt of the further purpose of the British Government to prevent our purchase of vessels in Great Britain, while supplying our enemies with rifles and other munitions of war, and states the intention to apply to Parliament for the furtherance of this design. He gives to the United States the assurance that he will do in their favor not only "everything that the law of nations requires, everything that the present foreign enlistment act requires," but that he will ask the sanction of Parliament "to further measures that Her Majesty's ministers may still add." This language is so unmistakably an official exposition of the policy adopted by the British Government in relation to our affairs that the duty imposed on me by the Constitution of giving you, from time to time, "information of the state of the Confederacy," would not have been performed if I had failed to place it distinctly before you.

I refer you for fuller details on this whole subject to the correspondence of the State Department which accompanies this message. The facts which I have briefly narrated are, I trust, sufficient to enable you to appreciate the true nature of the neutrality professed in this war. It is not in my power to apprise you to what extent the Government of France shares the views so unreservedly avowed by that of Great Britain, no published correspondence of the French Government on the subject having been received. No public protest nor opposition, however, has been made by His Imperial Majesty against the prohibition to trade with us imposed on French citizens by the paper blockade of the United States, although I have reason to believe that an unsuccessful attempt was made on his part to secure the assent of the British Government to a course of action more consonant with the dictates of public law and with the demands of justice toward us.

The partiality of Her Majesty's Government in favor of our enemies has been further evinced in the marked difference of its conduct on the subject of the purchase of supplies by the two belligerents. This difference has been conspicuous since the very commencement of the war. As early as the 1st of May, 1861, the British Minister in Washington was informed by the Secretary of State of the United States that he had sent agents to England, and that others would go to France to purchase arms; and this fact was communicated to the British Foreign Office, which interposed no objection. Yet in October of the same year Earl Russell entertained the complaint of the United States Minister in London that the Confederate States were importing contraband of war from the island of Nassau, directed inquiry into the matter, and obtained a report from the authorities of the island denying the allegations, which report was inclosed to Mr. Adams and received by him as satisfactory evidence to dissipate "the suspicion naturally thrown upon the authorities of Nassau by that unwarrantable act." So, too, when the Confederate Government purchased in Great Britain, as a neutral country (and with strict observance both of the law of nations and the municipal law of Great Britain), vessels which were subsequently armed and commissioned as vessels of war, after they had been far removed from English waters, the British Government, in violation of its own laws and in deference to the importunate demands of the United States, made an ineffectual attempt to seize one vessel, and did actually seize and detain another which touched at the island of Nassau on her way to a Confederate port being openly shipped from British ports to New York, to port, and subjected her to an unfounded prosecution at the very time when cargoes of munitions of war were to be used in warfare against us. Even now the public journals bring intelligence that the British Government has ordered the seizure in a British port of two vessels, on the suspicion that they may have been sold to this Government and may be hereafter armed and equipped in our service, while British subjects are engaged in Ireland by tens of thousands to proceed to the United States for warfare against the Confederacy, in defiance both of the law of nations and of the express terms of the British statutes, and are transported in British ships, without an effort at concealment, to the ports of the United States, there to be armed with rifles imported from Great Britain and to be employed against our people in a war for conquest. No royal prerogative is invoked, no executive interference is interposed against this flagrant breach of municipal and international law on the part of our enemies, while strained constructions are placed on existing statutes, new enactments proposed, and questionable expedients devised for precluding the possibility of purchase by this Government of vessels that are useless for belligerent purposes, unless hereafter armed and equipped outside of the neutral jurisdiction of Great Britain.

For nearly three years this Government has exercised unquestioned jurisdiction over many millions of willing and united people. It has met and defeated vast armies of invaders, who have in vain sought its subversion. Supported by the confidence and affection of its citizens, the Confederacy has lacked no element which distinguishes an independent nation according to the principles of public law. Its legislative, executive, and judicial Departments, each in its sphere, have performed their appropriate functions with a regularity as undisturbed as in a time of profound peace, and the whole energies of the people have been developed in the organization of vast armies, while their rights and liberties have rested secure under the protection of courts of justice. This Confederacy is either independent or it is a dependency of the United States; for no other earthly power claims the right to govern it. Without one historic fact on which the pretension can rest, without one line or word of treaty or covenant which can give color to title, the United States have asserted, and the British Government has chosen to concede, that these sovereign States are dependencies of the Government which is administered at Washington. Great Britain has accordingly entertained with that Government the closest and most intimate relations, while refusing, on its demands, ordinary amicable intercourse with us, and has, under arrangements made with the other nations of Europe, not only denied our just claim of admission into the family of nations, but interposed a passive though effectual bar to the knowledge of our rights by other powers. So soon as it had become apparent by the declarations of the British Ministers in the debates of the British Parliament in July last that Her Majesty's Government was determined to persist indefinitely in a course of policy which under professions of neutrality had become subservient to the designs of our enemy, I felt it my duty to recall the Commissioner formerly accredited to that Court, and the correspondence on the subject is submitted to you.

It is due to you and to our country that this full statement should be made of the just grounds which exist for dissatisfaction with the conduct of the British Government. I am well aware that we are unfortunately without adequate remedy for the injustice under which we have suffered at the hands of a powerful nation, at a juncture when our entire resources are absorbed in the defense of our lives, liberties, and independence, against an enemy possessed of greatly superior numbers and material resources. Claiming no favor, desiring no aid, conscious of our own ability to defend our own rights against the utmost efforts of an infuriate foe, we had thought it not extravagant to expect that assistance would be withheld from our enemies, and that the conduct of foreign nations would be marked by a genuine impartiality between the belligerents. It was not supposed that a professed neutrality would be so conducted as to justify the Foreign Secretary of the British nation in explaining, in correspondence with our enemies, how "the impartial observance of neutral obligations by Her Majesty's Government has thus been exceedingly advantageous to the cause of the more powerful of the two contending parties." The British Government may deem this war a favorable occasion for establishing, by the temporary sacrifice of their neutral rights, a precedent which will justify the future exercise of those extreme belligerent pretensions that their naval power renders so formidable. The opportunity for obtaining the tacit assent of European governments to a line of conduct which ignores the obligations of the declaration of Paris, and treats that instrument rather as a theoretical exposition of principle than a binding agreement, may be considered by the British ministry as justifying them in seeking a great advantage for their own country at the expense of ours. But we cannot permit, without protest, the assertion that international law or morals regard as "impartial neutrality" the conduct avowed to be "exceedingly advantageous" to one of the belligerents.

I have stated that we are without adequate remedy against the injustice under which we suffer. There are but two measures that seem applicable to the present condition of our relations with neutral powers. One is to imitate the wrong of which we complain, to retaliate by the declaration of a paper blockade of the coast of the United States, and to capture all neutral vessels trading with their ports that our cruisers can intercept on the high seas. This measure I cannot recommend. It is true that in so doing we should but follow the precedents set by Great Britain and France in the Berlin and Milan decrees, and the British orders in council at the beginning of the present century. But it must be remembered that we ourselves protested against those very measures as signal violations of the law of nations, and declared the attempts to excuse them on the ground of their being retaliatory utterly insufficient. Those blockades are now quoted by writers on public law as a standing reproach on the good name of the nations who were betrayed by temporary exasperation into wrongdoing, and ought to be regarded rather as errors to be avoided than as examples to be followed.

The other measure is not open to this objection. The second article of the declaration of Paris, which provides "that the neutral flag covers enemy's goods, with the exception of contraband of war," was a new concession by belligerents in favor of neutrals, and not simply the enunciation of an acknowledged preëxisting rule like the fourth article, which referred to blockades. To this concession we bound ourselves by the convention with Great Britain and France, which took the shape of the resolutions adopted by your predecessors on the 13th of August, 1861. The consideration tendered us for that concession has been withheld. We have therefore the undeniable right to refuse longer to remain bound by a compact which the other party refuses to fulfill. But we should not forget that war is but temporary, and that we desire that peace shall be permanent. The future policy of the Confederacy must ever be to uphold neutral rights to their full extent. The principles of the declaration of Paris commend themselves to our judgment as more just, more humane, and more consonant with modern civilization than those belligerent pretensions which great naval powers have heretofore sought to introduce into the maritime code. To forego our undeniable right to the exercise of those pretensions is a policy higher, worthier of us and our cause, than to revoke our adherence to principles that we approve. Let our hope for redress rest rather on a returning sense of justice which cannot fail to awaken a great people to the consciousness that the war in which we are engaged ought rather to be made a reason for forbearance of advantage than an occasion for the unfriendly conduct of which we make just complaint.

The events of the last year have produced important changes in the condition of our Southern neighbor. The occupation of the capital of Mexico by the French army, and the establishment of a provisional government, followed by a radical change in the constitution of the country, have excited lively interest. Although preferring our own Government and institutions to those of other countries, we can have no disposition to contest the exercise by them of the same right of self-government which we assert for ourselves. If the Mexican people prefer a monarchy to a republic, it is our plain duty cheerfully to acquiesce in their decision and to evince a sincere and friendly interest in their prosperity. If, however, the Mexicans prefer maintaining their former institutions, we have no reason to apprehend any obstacle to the free exercise of their choice. The Emperor of the French has solemnly disclaimed any purpose to impose on Mexico a form of government not acceptable to the nation; and the eminent personage to whom the throne has been tendered declines its acceptance unless the offer be sanctioned by the suffrages of the people. In either event, therefore, we may confidently expect the continuance of those peaceful relations which have been maintained on the frontier, and even a large development of the commerce already existing to the mutual advantage of the two countries.

It has been found necessary since your adjournment to take action on the subject of certain foreign Consuls within the Confederacy. The nature of this action and the reasons on which it was based are so fully exhibited in the correspondence of the State Department, which is transmitted to you, that no additional comment is required.

In connection with this subject of our relations with foreign countries, it is deemed opportune to communicate my views in reference to the treaties made by the Government of the United States at a date anterior to our separation, and which were consequently binding on us as well as on foreign powers when the separation took effect. It was partly with a view to entering into such arrangements as the change in our Government had made necessary that we felt it our duty to send commissioners abroad for the purpose of entering into the negotiations proper to fix the relative rights and obligations of the parties to those treaties. As this tender on our part has been declined, as foreign nations have refused us the benefit of the treaties to which we were parties, they certainly have ceased to be binding on us, and in my opinion our relations with European nations are therefore now controlled exclusively by the general rules of the law of nations. It is proper to add that these remarks are intended to apply solely to treaty obligations toward foreign governments, and have no reference to rights of individuals.

FINANCES.

The state of the public finances is such as to demand your earliest and most earnest attention. I need hardly say that a prompt and efficacious remedy for the present condition of the currency is necessary for the successful performance of the functions of government. Fortunately the resources of our country are so ample and the spirit of our people so devoted to its cause that they are ready to make any necessary contribution. Relief is thus entirely within our reach if we have the wisdom to legislate in such manner as to render available the means at our disposal.

At the commencement of the war we were far from anticipating the magnitude and duration of the struggle in which we were engaged. The most sagacious foresight could not have predicted that the passions of the Northern people would lead them blindly to the sacrifice of life, treasure, and liberty in so vain a hope as that of subjugating thirteen independent States inhabited by many millions of people whose birthright of freedom is dearer to them than life. A long exemption from direct taxation by the General Government had created an aversion to its raising revenue by any other means than by duties on imports, and it was supposed that these duties would be ample for current peace expenditure, while the means for conducting the war could be raised almost exclusively by the use of the public credit.

The first action of the Provisional Congress was therefore confined to passing a tariff law, and to raising a sum of $15,000,000 by loan, with a pledge of a small export duty on cotton to provide for the redemption of the debt. At its second session war was declared to exist between the Confederacy and the United States, and provision was made for the issue of $20,000,000 in Treasury notes, and for borrowing $30,000,000 on bonds. The tariff was revised and preparatory measures taken to enable Congress to levy internal taxation at its succeeding session. These laws were passed in May, and the States of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas having joined the Confederacy, the Congress adjourned to meet in the city of Richmond in the following month of July.

Prior to the assembling of your predecessors in Richmond at their third session, near the end of July, 1861, the President of the United States had developed in his message the purpose "to make the contest a short and a decisive one," and had called on Congress for 400,000 men and $400,000,000. The Congress had exceeded the Executive recommendation, and had authorized the levy of half a million of volunteers, besides largely increasing the regular land and naval forces of the United States. The necessity thus first became urgent that a financial scheme should be devised on a basis sufficiently large for the vast proportions of the contest with which we were threatened. Knowing that the struggle, instead of being "short and decisive," would be indefinite in duration, and could end only when the United States should awaken from their delusion of conquest, a permanent system was required fully adapted to the great exigencies before us.

The plan devised by Congress at that time was based on the theory of issuing Treasury notes convertible at the pleasure of the holder into 8 per cent bonds, the interest of which was to be payable in coin, and it was correctly assumed that any tendency to depreciation that might arise from overissue of the currency would be checked by the constant exercise of the holder's right to fund the notes at a liberal interest, payable in specie. This system depended for success on the continued ability of the Government to pay the interest in specie, and means were therefore provided for that purpose in the law authorizing the issues. An internal tax, termed a war tax, was levied, the proceeds of which, together with the revenue from imports, were deemed sufficient for the object designed. This scheme required for its operation that our commerce with foreign nations should not be suspended. It was not to be anticipated that such suspension would be permitted otherwise than by an effective blockade; and it was absurd to suppose that a blockade "sufficient really to prevent access" to our entire coast could be maintained.

We had the means, therefore (if neutral nations had not combined to aid our enemies by the sanction of an illegal prohibition on their commerce), to secure the receipt into the Treasury of coin sufficient to pay the interest on the bonds, and thus maintain the Treasury notes at rates nearly equal to par in specie. So long as the interest continued to be thus paid with the reserve of coin preëxisting in our country, experience sustained the expectations of those who devised the system. Thus, on the 1st of the following December coin had reached a premium of only about 20 per cent, although it had already become apparent that the commerce of the country was threatened with permanent suspension by reason of the conduct of neutral nations, and that the necessary result must be the exhaustion of our specie reserve. Wheat, in the beginning of the year 1862, was selling at $1.30 per bushel, not exceeding, therefore, its average price in time of peace. The other agricultural products of the country were at similar moderate rates, thus indicating that there was no excess of circulation, and that the rate of premium on specie was heightened by the exceptional causes which tended to its exhaustion without the possibility of renewing the supply.

This review of the policy of your predecessors is given in justice to them, and it exhibits the condition of the finances at the date when the permanent Government was organized.

In the meantime the popular aversion to internal taxation by the General Government had influenced the legislation of the several States, and in only three of them, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas, were the taxes actually collected from the people. The quotas devolving upon the remaining States had been raised by the issue of bonds and State Treasury notes, and the public debt of the country was thus actually increased instead of being diminished by the taxation imposed by Congress.

Neither at the first nor second session of the present Congress were means provided by taxation for maintaining the Government, the legislation being confined to authorizing further sales of bonds and issues of Treasury notes. Although repeated efforts were made to frame a proper system of taxation, you were confronted with an obstacle which did not exist for your predecessors, and which created grave embarrassment in devising any scheme of taxation. About two-thirds of the entire taxable property of the Confederate States consists of lands and slaves. The general power of taxation vested in Congress by the Provisional Constitution (which was to be only temporary in its operation) was not restricted by any other condition than that "all duties, imposts, and excises should be uniform throughout the States of the Confederacy." But the permanent Constitution, sanctioning the principle that taxation and representation ought to rest on the same basis, specially provides that "representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all slaves."

It was further ordered that a census should be made within three years after the first meeting of Congress, and that "no capitation or other direct tax shall be laid unless in proportion to the census or enumeration hereinbefore directed to be taken."

It is plain that under these provisions capitation and direct taxes must be levied in proportion to the census when made. It is also plain that the duty is imposed on Congress to provide for making a census prior to the 22d of February, 1865. It may further be stated that according to the received construction of the Constitution of the United States (a construction acquiesced in for upward of sixty years) taxes on lands and slaves are direct taxes, and the conclusion seems necessarily to be that, in repeating without modification in our Constitution this language of the Constitution of 1787, our convention intended to attach to it the meaning which had been sanctioned by long and uninterrupted acquiescence.

So long as there seemed to be a probability of being able to carry out these provisions of the Constitution in their entirety and in conformity with the intentions of its authors there was an obvious difficulty in framing any system of taxation. A law which should exempt from the burden two-thirds of the property of the country would be as unfair to the owners of the remaining third as it would be inadequate to meet the requirements of the public service.

The urgency of the need was such, however, that after very great embarrassment and more than three months of assiduous labor you succeeded in framing the law of the 24th April, 1863, by which you sought to reach, so far as was practicable, every resource of the country except the capital invested in real estate and slaves, and by means of an income tax and a tax in kind on the produce of the soil, as well as by licenses on business occupations and professions, to command resources sufficient for the wants of the country. But a very large proportion of these resources could be made available only at the close of the present and the commencement of the ensuing year, while the intervening exigencies permitted no delay. In this state of affairs, superinduced almost unavoidably by the fortunes of the war in which we are engaged, the issues of Treasury notes have been increased until the currency in circulation amounts to more than $600,000,000, or more than threefold the amount required by the business of the country.

I need not enlarge upon the evil effects of this condition of things. They are unfortunately but too apparent. In addition to the difficulty presented to the necessary operations of the Government and the efficient conduct of the war, the most deplorable of all its results is undoubtedly its corrupting influence on the morals of the people. The possession of large amounts of Treasury notes has naturally led to a desire for investment, and with a constantly increasing volume of currency there has been an equally constant increase of price in all objects of investment. This effect has stimulated purchase by the apparent certainty of profit, and a spirit of speculation has thus been fostered which has so debasing an influence and such ruinous consequences that it is our highest duty to remove the cause, and no measures directed to that end can be too prompt or too stringent.

Reverting to the constitutional provisions already cited, the question recurs whether it be possible to execute the duty of apportioning taxation in accordance with the census ordered to be made as a basis. So long as this appeared to be practicable, none can deny the propriety of your course in abstaining from the imposition of direct taxes till you could exercise the power in the precise mode pointed out by the terms of the fundamental law. But it is obvious that there are many duties imposed by the Constitution which depend for their fulfillment on the undisturbed possession of the territory within which they are to be performed. The same instrument which orders a census to be made in all the States imposes the duty on the Confederacy "to guarantee to every State a republican form of government." It enjoins on us "to protect each State from invasion;" and while declaring that its great objects and purposes are "to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity," it confers the means and thereby imposes on us the paramount duty of effecting its intent by "laying and collecting taxes, imposts, and excises necessary to pay the debts, provide for the common defense, and carry on the Government of the Confederate States."

None would pretend that the Constitution is violated because, by reason of the presence of hostile armies, we are unable to guarantee a republican form of government to these States or portions of States now temporarily held by the enemy, and as little justice would there be in imputing blame for the failure to make the census when that failure is attributable to causes not foreseen by the authors of the Constitution and beyond our control. The general intent of our constitutional charter is unquestionably that the property of the country is to be taxed in order to raise revenue for the common defense, and the special mode provided for levying this tax is impracticable from unforeseen causes. It is in my judgment our primary duty to execute the general intent expressed by the terms of the instrument which we have sworn to obey, and we cannot excuse ourselves for the failure to fulfill this obligation on the ground that we are unable to perform it in the precise mode pointed out. Whenever it shall be possible to execute our duty in all its parts we must do so in exact compliance with the whole letter and spirit of the Constitution. Until that period shall arrive we must execute so much of it as our condition renders practicable. Whenever the withdrawal of the enemy shall place it in our power to make a census and apportionment of direct taxes, any other mode of levying them will be contrary to the will of the lawgiver, and incompatible with our obligation to obey that will; until that period, the alternative left is to obey the paramount precept and to execute it according to the only other rule provided, which is to "make the tax uniform throughout the Confederate States."

The considerations just presented are greatly enforced by the reflection that any attempt to apportion taxes amongst States, some of which are wholly or partially in the occupation of hostile forces, would subvert the whole intention of the framers of the Constitution, and be productive of the most revolting injustice instead of that just correlation between taxation and representation which it was their purpose to secure. With large portions of some of the States occupied by the enemy, what justice would there be in imposing on the remainder the whole amount of the taxation of the entire State in proportion to its representation? What else would this be in effect than to increase the burthen of those who are the heaviest sufferers by the war, and to make our own inability to protect them from invasion, as we are required to do by the Constitution, the ground for adding to their losses by an attempted adherence to the letter, in violation of the spirit of that instrument? No such purpose could have been entertained and no such result contemplated by the framers of the Constitution. It may add weight to these considerations if we reflect that, although the Constitution provided that it should go into operation with a representation temporarily distributed among the States, it expressly ordains, after providing for a census within three years, that this temporary distribution of representative power is to endure "until such enumeration shall be made." Would any one argue that because the census cannot be made within the fixed period the Government must at the expiration of that period perish for want of a representative body? In any aspect in which the subject can be viewed I am led to the conclusion already announced, and which is understood to be in accordance with a vote taken in one or both Houses at your last session. I shall, therefore, until we are able to pursue the precise mode required by the Constitution, deem it my duty to approve any law levying the taxation which you are bound to impose for the defense of the country in any other practicable mode which shall distribute the burthen uniformly and impartially on the whole property of the people.

In your former legislation you have sought to avoid the increase in the volume of notes in circulation by offering inducements to voluntary funding. The measures adopted for that purpose have been but partially successful, and the evil has now reached such a magnitude as to permit no other remedy than the compulsory reduction of the currency to the amount required by the business of the country. This reduction should be accompanied by a pledge that under no stress of circumstances will that amount be exceeded. No possible mode of using the credit of the Government can be so disastrous as one which disturbs the basis of all exchanges, renders impossible all calculations of future values, augments, in constantly increasing proportions, the price of all commodities, and so depreciates all fixed wages, salaries, and incomes as to render them inadequate to bare subsistence. If to these be added the still more fatal influence on the morals and character of the people, to which I have already adverted, I am persuaded you will concur in the conclusion that an inflexible adherence to a limitation of the currency at a fixed sum is an indispensable element of any system of finance now to be adopted.

The holders of the currency now outstanding can be protected in the recovery of their just claims only by substituting for their notes some other security. If the currency is not greatly and promptly reduced, the present scale of inflated prices will not only continue to exist, but by the very fact of the large amounts thus made requisite in the conduct of the war those prices will reach rates still more extravagant, and the whole system will fall under its own weight, thus rendering the redemption of the debt impossible, and destroying its whole value in the hands of the holder. If, on the contrary, a funded debt, with interest secured by adequate taxation, can be substituted for the outstanding, currency, its entire amount will be made available to the holder, and the Government will be in a condition enabling it, beyond the reach of any probable contingency, to prosecute the war to a successful issue. It is therefore demanded, as well by the interest of the creditor as of the country at large, that the evidences of the public debt now outstanding in the shape of Treasury notes be converted into bonds bearing adequate interest, with a provision for taxation sufficient to insure punctual payment and final redemption of the whole debt.

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury presents the outlines of a system which, in conjunction with existing legislation, is intended to secure the several objects of a reduction of the circulation within fixed, reasonable limits; of providing for the future wants of the Government; of furnishing security for the punctual payment of interest and final extinction of the principal of the public debt, and of placing the whole business of the country on a basis as near a specie standard as is possible during the continuance of the war. I earnestly recommend it to your consideration, and that no delay be permitted to intervene before your action on this vital subject. I trust that it will be suffered to engross your attention until you shall have disposed of it in the manner best adapted to attain the important results which your country anticipates from your legislation.

It may be added that in considering this subject the people ought steadily to keep in view that the Government in contracting debt is but their agent; that its debt is their debt. As the currency is held exclusively by ourselves, it is obvious that, if each person held Treasury notes in exact proportion to the value of his means, each would in fact owe himself the amount of the notes held by him; and were it possible to distribute the currency among the people in this exact proportion, a tax levied on the currency alone to the amount sufficient to reduce it to proper limits would afford the best of all remedies. Under such circumstances the notes remaining in the hands of each holder after the payment of his tax would be worth quite as much as the whole sum previously held, for it would purchase at least an equal amount of commodities. This result cannot be perfectly attained by any device of legislation, but it can be approximated by taxation. A tax on all values has for its effect not only to impose a due share of the burden on the note holder, but to force those who have few or none of the notes to part with a share of their possessions to those who hold the notes in excess in order to obtain the means of satisfying the demands of the taxgatherer. This is the only mode by which it is practicable to make all contribute as equally as possible in the burden which all are bound to share, and it is for this reason that taxation adequate to the public exigencies, under our present circumstances, must be the basis of any funding system or other remedy for restoring stability to our finances.

THE ARMY.

To the report of the Secretary of War you are referred for details relative to the condition of the Army and the measures of legislation required for maintaining its efficiency, recruiting its numbers, and furnishing the supplies necessary for its support.

Though we have lost many of the best of our soldiers and most patriotic of our citizens (the sad but unavoidable result of the battles and toils of such a campaign as that which will render the year 1863 ever memorable in our annals), the Army is believed to be in all respects in better condition than at any previous period of the war. Our gallant defenders, now veterans, familiar with danger, hardened by exposure, and confident in themselves and their officers, endure privations with cheerful fortitude and welcome battle with alacrity. The officers, by experience in field service and the action of examining boards in relieving the incompetent, are now greatly more efficient than at the commencement of the war. The assertion is believed to be fully justified that, regarded as a whole, for character, valor, efficiency, and patriotic devotion, our Army has not been equaled by any like number of troops in the history of war.

In view of the large conscription recently ordered by the enemy and their subsequent call for volunteers, to be followed if ineffectual by a still further draft, we are admonished that no effort must be spared to add largely to our effective force as promptly as possible. The sources of supply are to be found by restoring to the Army all who are improperly absent, putting an end to substitution, modifying the exemption law, restricting details, and placing in the ranks such of the able-bodied men now employed as wagoners, nurses, cooks, and other employees as are doing service for which the negroes may be found competent.

The act of 16th of April, 1862, provides "that persons not liable for duty may be received as substitutes for those who are, under such regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of War." The policy of granting this privilege has not been sustained by experience. Not only has the numerical strength of the Army been seriously impaired by the frequent desertions for which substitutes have become notorious, but dissatisfaction has been excited among those who have been unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the opportunity thus afforded of avoiding the military service of their country.

I fully concur in the opinion expressed by the Secretary that there is no ground for the objection that a new provision to include those who furnished substitutes under the former call would be a breach of contract. To accept a substitute was to confer a privilege, not to enter into a contract, and whenever the substitute is rendered liable to conscription, it would seem to follow that the principal, whose place he had taken, should respond for him, as the Government had received no consideration for his exemption. Where, however, the new provision of law would fail to embrace a substitute now in the ranks, there appears, if the principal should again be conscribed. to be an equitable ground for compensation to the conscript, who then would have added to the service a soldier not otherwise liable to enrollment.

On the subject of exemptions, it is believed that abuses cannot be checked unless the system is placed on a basis entirely different from that now provided by law. The object of your legislation has been not to confer privileges on classes, but to exonerate from military duty such number of persons skilled in the various trades, professions, and mechanical pursuits as could render more valuable service to their country by laboring in their present occupation than by going into the ranks of the Army. The policy is unquestionable, but the result would, it is thought, be better obtained by enrolling all such persons and allowing details to be made of the number necessary to meet the wants of the country. Considerable numbers are believed to be now exempted from the military service who are not needful to the public in their civil vocation.

Certain duties are now performed throughout the country by details from the Army which could be as well executed by persons above the present conscript age. An extension of the limit so as to embrace persons over forty-five years and physically fit for service in guarding posts, railroads, and bridges, in apprehending deserters, and, where practicable, assuming the place of younger men detailed for duty with the Niter, Ordnance, Commissary, and Quartermaster's Bureaus of the War Department, would, it is hoped, add largely to the effective force in the field without an undue burden on the population.

If to the above measures be added a law to enlarge the policy of the act of the 21st of April, 1862, so as to enable the Department to replace not only enlisted cooks, but wagoners and other employees in the Army, by negroes, it is hoped that the ranks of the Army will be so strengthened for the ensuing campaign as to put to defiance the utmost efforts of the enemy.

In order to maintain unimpaired the existing organization of the Army until the close of the war, your legislation contemplated a frequent supply of recruits, and it was expected that before the expiration of the three years for which the men were enrolled under act of 16th of April, 1862, the majority of men in each company would consist of those who joined it at different dates subsequent to the original muster of the company into service, and that the discharge of those who had completed their term would at no time be sufficient to leave the company with a less number than is required to enable it to retain its organization. The difficulty of obtaining recruits from certain localities and the large number of exemptions from military service granted by different laws have prevented sufficient accessions in many of the companies to preserve their organizations after the discharge of the original members. The advantage of retaining tried and well-approved officers and of mingling recruits with experienced soldiers is so obvious and the policy of such a course is so clearly indicated that it is not deemed necessary to point out the evil consequences which would result from the destruction of the old organizations, or to dwell upon the benefits to be secured from filling up the veteran companies as long before the discharge of the earlier members as may be possible. In the cases where it may be found impracticable to maintain regiments in sufficient strength as to justify the retention of the present organization, economy and efficiency would be promoted by consolidation and reorganization. This would involve the necessity of disbanding a part of the officers and making regulations for securing the most judicious selection of those who are retained, while least wounding the feelings of those who are discharged.

Experience has shown the necessity for further legislation in relation to the horses of the cavalry. Many men lose their horses by casualties of service which are not included in the provisions made to compensate the owner for the loss, and it may thus not unfrequently happen that the most efficient troopers, without fault of their own — indeed, it may be because of their zeal and activity — are lost to the cavalry service.

It would also seem proper that the Government should have complete control over every horse mustered into service, with the limitation that the owner should not be deprived of his horse except upon due compensation being made therefor. Otherwise mounted men may not keep horses fit for the service, and the question whether they should serve mounted or on foot would depend not upon the qualifications of the men, but upon the fact of their having horses.

Some provision is deemed requisite to correct the evils arising from the long-continued absence of commissioned officers. Where it is without sufficient cause, it would seem but just that the commission should be thereby vacated. Where it results from capture by the enemy, which under their barbarous refusal to exchange prisoners of war may be regarded as absence for an indefinite time, there is a necessity to supply their places in their respective commands. This might be done by temporary appointments to endure only until the return of the officers regularly commissioned. Where it results from permanent disability incurred in the line of their duty, it would be proper to retire them and fill the vacancies according to established mode. I would also suggest the organization of an invalid corps, and that the retired officers be transferred to it. Such a corps, it is thought, could be made useful in various employments for which efficient officers and troops are now detached.

An organization of the general staff of the Army would be highly conducive to the efficiency of that most important branch of the service. The plan adopted for the military establishment furnishes a model for the staff of the Provisional Army, if it be deemed advisable to retain the distinction; but I recommend to your consideration the propriety of abolishing it and providing for the organization of the several staff corps in such number and with such rank as will meet all the wants of the service. To secure the requisite ability for the more important positions, it will be necessary to provide for officers of higher rank than is now authorized for these corps. To give to officers the proper relation and cointelligence in their respective corps, and to preserve in the chief of each the influence and control over his subordinates, there should be no gradation on the basis of the rank of the general with whom they might be serving by appointment. To the personal staff of a general it would seem proper to give a grade corresponding with his rank, and the number might be fixed to correspond with his command. To avoid the consequence of discharge upon a change of duty the variable portion of the personal staff might be taken from the line of the Army and allowed to retain their line commissions.

The disordered condition of the currency, to which I have already alluded, has imposed on the Government a system of supplying the wants of the Army which is so unequal in its operation, vexatious to the producer, injurious to the industrial interest, and productive of such discontent among the people as only to be justified by the existence of an absolute necessity. The report of the Secretary on this point establishes conclusively that the necessity which has forced the bureaus of supply to provide for the Army by impressment has resulted from the impossibility of purchase by contract or in the open market, except at such rapidly increased rates as would have rendered the appropriations inadequate to the wants of the Army. Indeed, it is believed that the temptation to hoard supplies for the higher prices which could be anticipated with certainty has been checked mainly by fear of the operation of the impressment law, and that commodities have been offered in the markets principally to escape impressment and obtain higher rates than those fixed by appraisement. The complaints against this vicious system have been well founded, but the true cause of the evil has been misapprehended. The remedy is to be found not in a change of the impressment law, but in the restoration of the currency to such a basis as will enable the Department to purchase necessary supplies in the open market, and thus render impressment a rare and exceptionable process.

The same remedy will effect the result, universally desired, of an augmentation of the pay of the Army. The proposals made at your previous sessions to increase the pay of the soldier by an additional amount of Treasury notes would have conferred little benefit on him, but a radical reform of the currency will restore the pay to a value approximating that which it originally had, and materially improve his condition.

The reports from the Ordnance and Mining Bureaus are very gratifying, and the extension of our means of supply of arms and munitions of war from our home resources has been such as to insure our ability soon to become mainly, if not entirely, independent of supplies from foreign countries. The establishments for the casting of guns and projectiles, for the manufacture of small arms and of gunpowder, for the supply of niter from artificial niter beds, and mining operations generally, have been so distributed through the country as to place our resources beyond the reach of partial disasters.

The recommendations of the Secretary of War on other points are minutely detailed in his report, which is submitted to you, and, extending as they do to almost every branch of the service, merit careful consideration.

EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS.

I regret to inform you that the enemy has returned to the barbarous policy with which they inaugurated the war, and that the exchange of prisoners has been for some time suspended.[5] The correspondence of the commissioners of exchange is submitted to you by the Secretary of War, and it has already been published for the information of all now suffering useless imprisonment. The conduct of the authorities of the United States has been consistently perfidious on this subject. An agreement for exchange in the incipiency of the war had just been concluded when the fall of Fort Donelson reversed the previous state of things and gave them an excess of prisoners. This agreement was immediately repudiated by them, and so remained until the fortune of war again placed us in possession of the larger number. A new cartel was then made; and under it, for many months, we restored to them many thousands of prisoners in excess of those whom they held for exchange, and encampments of the surplus paroled prisoners delivered up by us were established in the United States, where the men were able to receive the comforts and solace of constant communication with their homes and families. In July last the fortune of war again favored the enemy, and they were enabled to exchange for duty the men previously delivered to them against those captured and paroled at Vicksburg and Port Hudson. The prisoners taken at Gettysburg, however, remained in their hands, and should have been at once returned to our lines on parole, to await exchange. Instead of executing a duty imposed by the plainest dictates of justice and good faith, pretexts were instantly sought for holding them in permanent captivity. General orders rapidly succeeded each other from the bureaus at Washington, placing new constructions on an agreement which had given rise to no dispute while we retained the advantage in the number of prisoners. With a disregard of honorable obligations almost unexampled, the enemy did not hesitate, in addition to retaining the prisoners captured by them, to declare null the paroles given by the prisoners captured by us in the same series of engagements and liberated on condition of not again serving until exchanged. They have since openly insisted on treating the paroles given by their own soldiers as invalid, and those of our soldiers, given under precisely similar circumstances, as binding. A succession of similar unjust pretensions has been set up in a correspondence tediously prolonged, and every device employed to cover the disregard of an obligation which, between belligerent nations, is to be enforced only by a sense of honor.

No further comment is needed on this subject, but it may be permitted to direct your special attention to the close of the correspondence submitted to you, from which you will perceive that the final proposal made by the enemy, in settlement of all disputes under the cartel, is that we should liberate all prisoners held by us without the offer to release from captivity any of those held by them.

In the meantime a systematic and concerted effort has been made to quiet the complaints in the United States of those relatives and friends of the prisoners in our hands, who are unable to understand why the cartel is not executed in their favor, by the groundless assertion that we are the parties who refuse compliance. Attempts are also made to shield themselves from the execration excited by their own odious treatment of our officers and soldiers, now captive in their hands, by misstatements, such as that the prisoners held by us are deprived of food. To this last accusation the conclusive answer has been made that, in accordance with our law and the general orders of the Department, the rations of the prisoners are precisely the same, in quantity and quality, as those served out to our own gallant soldiers in the field, and which have been found sufficient to support them in their arduous campaigns, while it is not pretended by the enemy that they treat prisoners by the same generous rule. By an indulgence, perhaps unprecedented, we have even allowed the prisoners in our hands to be supplied by their friends at home with comforts not enjoyed by the men who captured them in battle. In contrast to this treatment the most revolting inhumanity has characterized the conduct of the United States toward prisoners held by them. One prominent fact, which admits no denial or palliation, must suffice as a test. The officers of our Army, natives of southern and semitropical climates, and unprepared for the cold of a northern winter, have been conveyed for imprisonment during the rigors of the present season to the most northern and exposed situation that could be selected by the enemy. There, beyond the reach of comforts, and often even of news from home and family, exposed to the piercing cold of the northern lakes, they are held by men who cannot be ignorant of, even if they do not design, the probable result. How many of our unfortunate friends and comrades, who have passed unscathed through numerous battles, will perish on Johnson's Island, under the cruel trial to which they are subjected, none but the Omniscient can foretell. That they will endure this barbarous treatment with the same stern fortitude that they have ever evinced in their country's service, we cannot doubt. But who can be found to believe the assertion that it is our refusal to execute the cartel, and not the malignity of the foe, which has caused the infliction of such intolerable cruelty on our loved and honored defenders?

TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT.

Regular and punctual communication with the Trans-Mississippi is so obstructed as to render difficult a compliance with much of the legislation vesting authority in the Executive branch of the Government. To supply vacancies in office; to exercise discretion on certain matters connected with the military organizations; to control the distribution of the funds collected from taxation or remitted from the Treasury; to carry on the operations of the Post Office Department, and other like duties, require, under the Constitution and existing laws, the action of the President and Heads of Departments. The necessities of the military service frequently forbid delay, and some legislation is required providing for the exercise of temporary authority until regular action can be had at the seat of government. I would suggest, especially in the Post Office Department, that an assistant be provided for the States beyond the Mississippi, with authority in the Head of that Department to vest in this assistant all such powers now exercised by the Postmaster General as may be requisite for provisional control of the funds of the Department in those States and their application to the payment of mail contractors; for superintendents of the local post offices and the contracts for carrying the mail; for the temporary employment of proper persons to fulfill the duties of postmasters and contractors in urgent cases, until appointments can be made, and for other like purposes. Without some legislative provision on the subject, there is serious risk of the destruction of the mail service by reason of the delays and hardships suffered by contractors under the present system, which requires constant reference to Richmond of their accounts, as well as of the returns of the local postmasters, before they can receive payment for services rendered. Like provision is also necessary in the Treasury Department, while for military affairs it would seem to be sufficient to authorize the President and Secretary of War to delegate to the commanding general so much of the discretionary powers vested in them by law as the exigencies of the service shall require.

NAVY.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy gives in detail the operations of that Department since January last, embracing information of the disposition and employment of the vessels, officers, and men, and the construction of vessels at Richmond, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, Selma, and on the rivers Roanoke, Neuse, Pedee, Chattahoochee, and Tombigbee; the accumulation of ship timber and supplies, and the manufacture of ordnance, ordnance stores, and equipments. The foundries and workshops have been greatly improved, and their capacity to supply all demands for heavy ordnance for coast and harbor defenses is limited only by our deficiency in the requisite skilled labor. The want of such labor and of seamen seriously affects the operations of the Department.

The skill, courage, and activity of our cruisers at sea cannot be too highly commended. They have inflicted heavy losses on the enemy without suffering a single disaster, and have seriously damaged the shipping interests of the United States by compelling their foreign commerce to seek the protection of neutral flags.

Your attention is invited to the suggestions of the report on the subject of supplying seamen for the service, and of the provisions of the law in relation to the Volunteer Navy.

POST OFFICE.

The Postmaster General reports the receipts of that Department for the fiscal year ending the 30th of June last to have been $3,337,853.01, and the expenditures for the same period $2,662,804.67. The statement thus exhibits an excess of receipts amounting to $675,048.34, instead of a deficiency of more than $1,000,000, as was the case in the preceding fiscal year. It is gratifying to perceive that the Department has thus been made self-sustaining in accordance with sound principle, and with the express requirement of the Constitution that its expenses should be paid out of its own revenues after the 1st of March, 1863.

The report gives a full and satisfactory account of the operations of the Post Office Department for the last year, and explains the measures adopted for giving more certainty and regularity to the service in the States beyond the Mississippi, and on which reliance is placed for obviating the difficulties heretofore encountered in that service. The settlement of the accounts of the Department is greatly delayed by reason of the inability of the First Auditor to perform all the duties now imposed on him by law. The accounts of the Department of State, of the Treasury, of the Navy, and of Justice, are all supervised by that officer, and more than suffice to occupy his whole time. The necessity for a third auditor to examine and settle the accounts of a Department so extensive as that of the Post Office appears urgent, and his recommendation on that subject meets my concurrence.

CONDUCT OF ENEMY.

I cannot close this message without again adverting to the savage ferocity which still marks the conduct of the enemy in the prosecution of the war. After their repulse from the defenses before Charleston they first sought revenge by an abortive attempt to destroy the city with an incendiary composition thrown by improved artillery from a distance of four miles. Failing in this, they changed their missiles, but fortunately have thus far succeeded in killing only two women in the city. Their commanders, Butler, McNeil, and Turchin, whose terrible barbarities have made their names widely notorious and everywhere execrable, are still honored and cherished by the authorities at Washington. The first-named, after having been withdrawn from the scenes of his cruelties against women and prisoners of war, in reluctant concession to the demands of outraged humanity in Europe, has just been put in a new command at Norfolk, where helpless women and children are again placed at his mercy.

Nor has less unrelenting warfare been waged by these pretended friends of human rights and liberties against the unfortunate negroes. Wherever the enemy have been able to gain access they have forced into the ranks of their army every able-bodied man that they could seize, and have either left the aged, the women, and the children to perish by starvation, or have gathered them into camps where they have been wasted by a frightful mortality. Without clothing or shelter, often without food, incapable without supervision of taking the most ordinary precautions against disease, these helpless dependents, accustomed to have their wants supplied by the foresight of their masters, are being rapidly exterminated wherever brought in contact with the invaders. By the Northern man, on whose deep-rooted prejudices no kindly restraining influence is exercised, they are treated with aversion and neglect. There is little hazard in predicting that in all localities where the enemy have gained a temporary foothold the negroes, who under our care increased sixfold in number since their importation into the colonies by Great Britain, will have been reduced by mortality during the war to no more than one-half their previous number.

Information on this subject is derived not only from our own observation and from the reports of the negroes who succeed in escaping from the enemy, but full confirmation is afforded by statements published in the Northern journals by humane persons engaged in making appeals to the charitable for aid in preventing the ravages of disease, exposure, and starvation among the negro women and children who are crowded into encampments.

The frontier of our country bears witness to the alacrity and efficiency with which the general orders of the enemy have been executed in the devastation of farms, the destruction of the agricultural implements, the burning of the houses, and the plunder of everything movable. Its whole aspect is a comment on the ethics of the general order issued by the United States on the 24th of April, 1863, comprising "Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field," and of which the following is an example:

Military necessity admits of all direct destruction of life or limb of armed enemies, and of other persons whose destruction is incidentally unavoidable in the armed contests of the war; it allows of the capturing of every armed enemy, and every enemy of importance to the hostile Government, or of peculiar danger to the captor; it allows of all destruction of property, and obstructions of the ways and channels of traffic, travel, or communication, and of all withholding of sustenance of means of life from the enemy; of the appropriation of whatever an enemy's country affords necessary for the subsistence and safety of the Army, and of such deception as does not involve the breaking of good faith, either positively pledged regarding agreements entered into during the war or supposed by the modern law of war to exist. Men who take up arms against one another in public war do not cease on this account to be moral beings, responsible to one another and to God.

The striking contrast to these teachings and practices presented by our army when invading Pennsylvania illustrates the moral character of our people. Though their forbearance may have been unmerited and unappreciated by the enemy, it was imposed by their own self-respect which forbade their degenerating from Christian warriors into plundering ruffians, assailing the property, lives, and honor of helpless noncombatants. If their conduct, when thus contrasted with the inhuman practices of our foe, fail to command the respect and sympathy of civilized nations in our day, it cannot fail to be recognized by their less deceived posterity.

The hope last year entertained of an early termination of the war has not been realized. Could carnage have satisfied the appetite of our enemy for the destruction of human life, or grief have appeased their wanton desire to inflict human suffering, there has been bloodshed enough on both sides, and two lands have been sufficiently darkened by the weeds of mourning to induce a disposition for peace.

If unanimity in a people could dispel delusion, it has been displayed too unmistakably not to have silenced the pretense that the Southern States were merely disturbed by a factious insurrection, and it must long since have been admitted that they were but exercising their reserved right to modify their own Government in such manner as would best secure their own happiness. But these considerations have been powerless to allay the unchristian hate of those who, long accustomed to draw large profits from a union with us, cannot control the rage excited by the conviction that they have by their own folly destroyed the richest sources of their prosperity. They refuse even to listen to proposals for the only peace possible between us — a peace which, recognizing the impassable gulf which divides us, may leave the two peoples separately to recover from the injuries inflicted on both by the causeless war now waged against us. Having begun the war in direct violation of their Constitution, which forbade the attempt to coerce a State, they have been hardened by crime until they no longer attempt to veil their purpose to destroy the institutions and subvert the sovereignty and independence of these States. We now know that the only reliable hope for peace is in the vigor of our resistance, while the cessation of their hostility is only to be expected from the pressure of their necessities.

The patriotism of the people has proved equal to every sacrifice demanded by their country's need. We have been united as a people never were united under like circumstances before. God has blessed us with success disproportionate to our means, and under his divine favor our labors must at last be crowned with the reward due to men who have given all they possessed to the righteous defense of their inalienable rights, their homes, and their altars.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., December 9th, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of State, covering copies of his correspondence referred to in my message delivered yesterday; and I invite your attention to the reason he gives for withholding them until to-day.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Dec. 11, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, covering estimates of sums needed for the public service among the Indian tribes.

I recommend an appropriation of the amount specified for the purpose indicated.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Dec. 15, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

In response to your resolution of the 10th inst., asking to be furnished with "copies of the several reports of Major General Whiting in relation to running the blockade of Wilmington, North Carolina," I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of the reports referred to.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Dec. 16, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 10th instant, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War relative to the exemption of mail contractors "under the act of April 14, 1863," and to the action of the Department upon the subject.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Dec. 16, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Attorney General ad interim, submitting additional estimates for the expenditures of the Department of Justice.

I recommend an appropriation of the amount specified for the purpose designated.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Dec. 16, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.[6]

I herewith transmit for your consideration, in secret session, a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, covering a report in relation to foreign cotton loans.

I recommend the ratification by Congress of the accompanying contract[7] for a second foreign loan, and of the issue of the cotton certificates made for the use of the Navy Department.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Dec. 17, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

In partial response to your resolution of the 11th instant, I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a list of exempts in the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Further information on this subject will be communicated when received.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Dec. 19, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of several reports of military operations.

Jefferson Davis.

[The same message was sent to the House of Representatives.]


Richmond, Va., Dec. 21, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

In response to your resolution of the 10th instant, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War relative to the Quartermaster General.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Dec. 22, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 10th inst., I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering "a list of the officers of artillery in the Provisional Army, for the performance of ordnance duty, appointed since the 16th day of September, 1862," and the "roll of merit" reported by the Board of Examiners.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Dec. 23, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering "General Lee's report of the operations of the Army of Northern Virginia, from the date of his assumption of command to and including the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1863," and the subordinate reports appertaining thereto.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, Va., December 28, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of State, covering a copy of that portion of his correspondence referred to in my message of the 7th instant, which has not been previously submitted.

Jefferson Davis.

[The same message was sent to the House of Representatives.]


Richmond, Va., December 28, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of additional reports of military operations of the year 1862 which should have accompanied the report of Gen. R. E. Lee, submitted for your information on the 24th [23d] instant.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., December 29, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 11th inst., I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a copy of the report of Gen. J. E. Johnston of his operations in Mississippi during the months of May, June, and July, 1863, together with a copy of the report of Lieut. Gen. J. C. Pemberton of his operations during the same time.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., December 31, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of several reports of military operations.

Jefferson Davis.

[The same message was sent to the House of Representatives.]


Richmond, Va., Dec. 31st, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 18th inst., I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a copy of the report of Brig. Gen. Echols, relative to the battle of Droop Mountain.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., December 31, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

In further response to your resolution of the 11th inst., I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of several reports of military operations.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Jan. 7, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, submitting an estimate of the amount "necessary for the payment of interest on the Removal and Subsistence Fund due the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina."

I recommend an appropriation of the sum specified for the purpose indicated.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 7, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of several additional reports of military operations.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 7, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a copy of the report of Brig. Gen. R. S. Ripley of operations from August 21 to September 10, 1863.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 8, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of the "report of Gen. J. E. Johnston of his operations in the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana," and of the report of Lieut. Gen. J. C. Pemberton of the battles of Port Gibson, Baker's Creek, and the siege of Vicksburg, to which is appended a copy of the correspondence of the Department with him relative to some points of the report which were thought to require explanation.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Jan. 11, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith submit for your consideration a communication from the Attorney General, containing an estimate of an additional sum required by the Department of Justice.

I recommend that an appropriation be made of the amount specified for the purpose indicated.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 11, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In partial response to your resolution of the 11th ult., I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, showing "the number of officers and men, including the police and mounted guard, employed in executing the conscript law" in the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Further information on the subject will be furnished when received.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 12, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, submitting "the condensed estimates of appropriations required for the support of the Government for the period from January 1 to June 30, 1864, inclusive.

It was intended that these estimates should accompany my message[8] of the 7th ultimo, but they seem to have failed to reach the committees.

I recommend that appropriations be made of the sums specified for the purposes indicated.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, Va., Jan. 13, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 12th ultimo, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a list of those persons who have been specially noticed and promoted from the ranks for gallantry in the field.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Jan. 13, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 17th ult., I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, relative to the steps taken in reference to "An Act to prevent the absence of officers and soldiers without leave," approved the 16th of April, 1863.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, January 13, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a copy of Maj. Gen. Hindman's report of his operations while in command of the Trans-Mississippi District.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 15, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States of America.

I have received from your honorable body, through the hands of your secretary, a copy of the report and resolution adopted by you in executive session on the 9th instant.

The resolution is in the following words:

Resolved, That the Senate do advise and consent to the appointment of the military officers nominated in the four several messages of the President dated on the 8th instant, all of whom are from States west of the Mississippi River, for the reasons stated in the foregoing report; and that the action of the Senate herein is not to be construed as sanctioning or recognizing the right of the Executive, in nominating officers to the Senate, to fix the time at which they shall take rank anterior to the preceding session of Congress, or at any time during such session.

By the first four lines of the resolution I am informed that the Senate acknowledge the legality and concur in the propriety of my action in regard to these nominations, by their advising and consenting to the appointments as proposed. This is the whole action usually taken on nominations, and seems to exhaust the authority over appointments vested in the Senate by the Constitution.

The reservation, however, in the present instance, that the Senate is not to be considered as sanctioning or recognizing the right of the Executive to do in the future what the Senate have approved of his doing in the cases before them, as explained in the report to which the resolution refers, imposes on me the necessity of this communication.

On referring to that report I confess to my surprise at finding myself apparently charged with a violation of the Constitution, although no foundation exists for the implication conveyed in the report. I feel sure, therefore, that neither the committee nor the Senate could have intended or sanctioned such a charge; but I could not in justice to myself fail to call your attention to the language employed. It is as follows:

. . . . The only difficulty presented to the committee is, that the date at which the officers nominated are to take rank is anterior to the last session of Congress.

The committee are of opinion that the Constitution contemplates that all officers appointed in the recess of Congress shall hold under such appointment only to the close of the next session of Congress, and that they should be renominated, if it is intended to retain them in their offices, to the Senate at its first session after their appointment. This has not been done in this case.

The Senate cannot but agree with me that the plain inference from these passages is that the Constitution has been violated by my having appointed these officers during the recess and retained them in office without nominating them to the Senate at its next session. It has thus become incumbent on me (while satisfied that neither the committee nor the Senate could have intended to make such an accusation) to repel any inference that might hereafter be drawn from my silence on the subject, by stating that not only had no appointments of these officers been made prior to the nominations on which the Senate has just acted, but that the fact of the necessity for the appointments reached the Executive only since the commencement of your present session, by communication received last month from the Trans-Mississippi Department.

Upon the point suggested in the close of the resolution, that the Executive is without the right to make a nomination to a military grade, coupled with rank from a date prior to a former session of the Senate, it is not deemed proper to anticipate any future disagreement with the Senate by presenting the reasons for the opposite conclusion as being the only one consistent with the laws for the regulation of the Army, as well as with long-settled usage and the necessities of the service.

When the occasion shall arise I cannot doubt that the Senate will, notwithstanding this resolution, refuse to abandon its own constitutional power to act on nominations at its pleasure, according to the merits of each case and the good of the service. I am confirmed in this conclusion by observing that the resolution was passed without a call for the yeas and nays, and therefore with probably less than the usual consideration, as well as by the further reflection that as Executive nominations which meet the disapproval of the Senate on any ground are always subject to rejection without assignment of reasons, experience will show that no advantage can arise from the Senate's curtailing its own discretion in future cases by binding its own judgment in advance.

Jefferson Davis.


Confederate States of America, Executive Department,
Richmond, Va.,
Jan. 15, 1864.

Hon. E. S. Dargan, M. C. from Alabama.

Sir: In further response to your letter to the President of the 22d ult., and by his direction, I have the honor to inclose to you the reports[9] of the Secretary of the Navy and of the Secretary of War upon the subject to which it relates. Very respectfully,

Yr. obt. Sert. Burton N. Harrison, Private Secretary.


Richmond, Va., Jan. 18, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 30th ultimo, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of regulations and orders relative to the payment of assessments of damages made by commanding officers in the field, "without intervention of courts-martial or boards of survey."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Jan. 19, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 11th instant, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, relative to "the collection and distribution of the 'tax in kind,' under the act approved April 24, 1863."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 19, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of several additional reports of military operations during the last year.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Jan. 25, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 11th ult., I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, showing, as far as the records of the Department enable him to do, the number of men liable to conscription who have been removed from the Commissary and Quartermaster's Departments, to give place to disabled soldiers, as directed by law.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 26, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a copy of an additional report of military operations during the last year.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, Va., January 26, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

In response to your resolution of the 16th instant, I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering information relative to the officers appointed under the act to raise troops, approved October 11, 1862.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, January 27, 1864.

To the Senate.

I submit to the Senate herewith the nomination of A. R. Lawton, of Georgia, to be Quartermaster General, with the rank of brigadier general, to take rank from the 13th day of April, 1861, and deem it proper to communicate the reasons which induce this course.

On the passage of the act of the 20th of March last, entitled "An Act to amend an act for the establishment and organization of the general staff for the Army of the Confederate States of America," inquiry was made to aid in the selection of the most competent person then made eligible, and the office of Quartermaster General was tendered to General Lawton, who was averse to accepting it if it involved a nomination and new appointment, for the reasons that it withdrew him from service in the field, interfered with his chances for promotion, and that, as he was then the oldest brigadier in the service, he would, by acceptance of a new commission, be deprived of his relative rank as compared with other brigadiers. There were two other officers recommended to me as specially fitted to discharge the duties of Quartermaster General, who could be spared from service in the field, and they were both major generals and could not therefore be expected to accept a lower grade in the staff than that which they held in the line.

The name of the officer then performing the duties of Quartermaster General was also presented to me with recommendations entitled to carry great respect, but my own observation of the manner in which those duties had been discharged had previously satisfied me that the public interests required an officer of greater ability and one better qualified to meet the pressing emergencies of the service during the war.

On examination of the law above referred to, its language, although not free from doubt, was held, after consultation and advice, to justify the conclusion that the intention of Congress would be fulfilled by assigning to the performance of the duties of Quartermaster General an officer already confirmed as brigadier general in the Provisional Army, without again submitting his nomination to the Senate. The grounds for this conclusion were that the eighth section of the act of 6th of March, 1861, organizing the Regular Army, expressly authorized the Executive to assign the brigadier generals to any duties he might specially direct, and when the five brigadier generals were raised to the rank of generals by the act of 16th of May, 1861, the President was again empowered to assign them to such commands and "duties" as he might specially direct. As it had, therefore, been permitted by Congress that any one of the generals of the Regular Army might be assigned to staff or any other duty at Executive discretion, it seemed a fair inference that when by the law of last session provision was made that the rank, pay, and allowances of Quartermaster General should be those of a brigadier in the Provisional Army the will of the Legislature was as well fulfilled by assigning to the duties of that office one who was already a brigadier general of the Provisional Army as by nominating a new officer.

This view of the question was fortified by the fact that the law last referred to did not create an office, but only provided that during the war the officer discharging the duties of Quartermaster General should have the rank of brigadier general, and by the further fact that the original act of 26th of February, 1861, for the establishment and organization of the general staff, contained a provision still in force, that officers of the Quartermaster General and other staff departments might by order of the President be assigned to the command of troops, according to their rank in the Army, thus indicating that positions in the quartermaster's and other staff departments were not distinct offices, but were posts of duty to which officers of the Army were appointed, and from which they might be withdrawn and assigned to other duties at Executive discretion. This is a provision of our law that did not exist in the former service of the United States, in which when an officer of the Army entered the Quartermaster's Department he surrendered his commission in the line and his right to command troops.

I am advised, however, that such is not the construction given to the law by many Senators, and I so far conform to their views as to give the Senate an opportunity to advise the Executive in relation to the appointment of this officer.

This statement was also necessary in explanation of the proposal that General Lawton's rank should date from the 13th of April, 1861, that being the date of his present commission of brigadier general in the Provisional Army.

Since the foregoing message was written I observe by the published proceedings of the Senate that it has adopted the following resolutions:

Resolved, That, in the opinion of the Senate, A. C. Myers is now Quartermaster General of the C. S. Army, and is by law authorized and required to discharge the duties thereof.

Resolved, That A. R. Lawton is not authorized by law to discharge the duties of said office.

Refraining from any further remark on these resolutions than the expression of my conviction that they are not sustained by the Constitution or the law, their passage enforces the propriety of submitting to you the nomination which accompanies this message.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Jan. 27, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

In response to your resolution of the 20th inst., I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, conveying information relative to the Chief Collector of Taxes for the State of Louisiana.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 29, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 11th ultimo, I herewith transmit for your information a copy of my correspondence, together with that of the Secretary of War and of the Adjutant and Inspector General, with General Joseph E. Johnston during the months of May, June, and July, 1863, concerning his command and the operations in his department.

As the resolution fixes definitely the dates within which the correspondence is desired, I have not deemed it proper to add anything which was prior or subsequent to those dates.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 29, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration, in secret session, a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, to which I invite your special attention.

I recommend an appropriation of the sum specified for the purpose indicated.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 30, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 21st inst., I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, showing the present state of the question pending between the two Governments, of the Confederate States and the United States, relative to the exchange of prisoners.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Jan. 30, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of War, covering an estimate[10] of an additional sum needed by the Engineer Bureau.

I recommend an appropriation of the amount specified for the purpose indicated.

Jefferson Davis.


February 3, 1864.

The Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States.

The present state of the Confederacy, in my judgment, requires that I should call your attention to a condition of things existing in the country which has already been productive of serious evil, and which threatens still graver consequences unless an adequate remedy shall be speedily applied by the legislation of Congress. It has been our cherished hope — and hitherto justified by the generous self-devotion of our citizens — that when the great struggle in which we are engaged was passed we might exhibit to the world the proud spectacle of a people unanimous in the assertion and defense of their rights and achieving their liberty and independence after the bloodiest war of modern times without the necessity of a single sacrifice of civil right to military necessity. But it can no longer be doubted that the zeal with which the people sprang to arms at the beginning of the contest has, in some parts of the Confederacy, been impaired by the long continuance and magnitude of the struggle.

While brigade after brigade of our brave soldiers who have endured the trials of the camp and battlefield are testifying their spirit and patriotism by voluntary reënlistment for the war, discontent, disaffection, and disloyalty are manifested among those who, through the sacrifices of others, have enjoyed quiet and safety at home. Public meetings have been held, in some of which a treasonable design is masked by a pretense of devotion to State sovereignty, and in others is openly avowed. Conventions are advocated with the pretended object of redressing grievances, which, if they existed, could as well be remedied by ordinary legislative action, but with the real design of accomplishing treason under the form of law. To this end a strong suspicion is entertained that secret leagues and associations are being formed. In certain localities men of no mean position do not hesitate to avow their disloyalty and hostility to our cause, and their advocacy of peace on the terms of submission and the abolition of slavery. In districts overrun by the enemy or liable to their encroachments, citizens of well-known disloyalty are holding frequent communication with them, and furnishing valuable information to our injury, even to the frustration of important military movements. And yet must they, through too strict regard to the technicalities of the law, be permitted to go at large till they have perfected their treason by the commission of an overt act? After the commission of the act the evidence is often unattainable, because within the enemy's lines. Again and again such persons have been arrested, and as often they have been discharged by the civil authorities, because the Government could not procure the testimony from within the lines of the enemy. On one occasion, when a party of officers were laying a torpedo in James River, persons on shore were detected communicating with the enemy, and were known to pilot them to a convenient point for observing the nature of the service in which the party were engaged. They were arrested and were discharged on habeas corpus, because, although there was moral certainty of their guilt, it could not be proved by competent testimony. Twice the Government has received secret and confidential information of plots to release the prisoners confined in Richmond. This information was sufficiently definite to enable preventive measures to be adopted with success; but as it pointed out the guilty conspirators by strong suspicion only, and not by competent testimony, they could not be arrested, and are still at large, ready to plot again. A citizen possessing the means and opportunity of doing much injury to the service was arrested for disloyalty. He was twice tried before different commissioners. Upon each examination he avowed his hostility to our cause and his desire to join the enemy. Both commissioners decided that it would be dangerous to suffer him to go at large. Yet, upon the demand of the civil authorities, he had to be released for want of competent legal testimony.

The Capital of the Government is the object of peculiar attention to the enemy. I have satisfactory reasons for believing that spies are continually coming and going in our midst. Information has been repeatedly received from friendly parties at the North that particular individuals then in Richmond were sent as spies by the enemy. Yet, however accurate and reliable such information might be, it was not competent testimony; and it was idle to arrest them only to be discharged by the civil authorities. Important information of secret movements among the negroes fomented by base white men has been received from faithful servants, but no arrests of instigators could be made because there was no competent testimony. Apprehensions have more than once been entertained of a servile insurrection in Richmond. The Northern papers inform us that Butler is perfecting some deep-laid scheme to punish us for our refusal to hold intercourse with him. If, as is not improbable, his designs should point to servile insurrection in Richmond, incendiarism, and the destruction of public works so necessary to our defense, and so impossible to be replaced, how can we hope to fathom it and reach the guilty emissaries and contrivers but by incompetent negro testimony? In some of the States civil process has been brought to bear with disastrous efficiency upon the Army. Every judge has the power to issue the writ of habeas corpus, and if one manifests more facility in discharging petitioners than his associates the application is made to him, however remote he may be. In one instance a general on the eve of an important movement, when every man was needed, was embarrassed by the command of a judge — more than two hundred miles distant — to bring if in his custody, or send if in custody of another, before him, on habeas corpus, some deserters who had been arrested and returned to his command. In another, the commandant of a camp of conscripts, who had a conscript in camp, was commanded to bring him before a judge more than a hundred miles distant, although there was a judge competent to hear and determine the cause resident in the place where the writ was executed. He consulted eminent counsel, and was advised that, from the known opinions of the judge selected, the conscript would undoubtedly be released, and the officer was therefore advised to discharge him at once, and return the facts informally; that such a return was not technically sufficient, but would be accepted as accomplishing the purpose of the writ. He acted on the advice of his counsel, and was immediately summoned by the judge to show cause why he should not be attached for a contempt in making an insufficient return, and was compelled to leave his command at a time when his services were pressingly needed by the Government and travel over a hundred miles and a considerable distance away from any railroad, to purge himself of the technical contempt. These particular instances may serve to show the nature of the delays, difficulties, and embarrassments which are constantly occurring. And injurious as they are, they are but light and trivial in comparison with evils which are reasonably to be anticipated.

It is understood that questions are to be multiplied as to the constitutionality of the late act of Congress placing in the military service those who had furnished substitutes. If a single judge, in any State, should hold the act to be unconstitutional, it is easy to foresee that that State will either furnish no soldiers from this class, or furnish them only when too late for the pressing need of the country. Every application will be made to that particular judge, and he will discharge the petitioners in each. And although the officer may have the right of appeal, yet the delay will be tantamount in its consequences to a discharge. Indeed, this result is likely to ensue, though every judge in the Confederacy should hold the law to be perfectly constitutional and valid.

A petition for a habeas corpus need not and ordinarily does not disclose the particular grounds upon which the petitioner claims his discharge. A general statement on oath that he is illegally restrained of his liberty is sufficient to induce and even to require the judge to issue the writ. In every case the enrollment will be followed by the writ, and every enrolling officer will be kept in continual motion to and from the judge, until the embarrassment and delay will amount to the practical repeal of the law. Its provisions will add no more soldiers to the Army. But this is not all. We shall not be able to retain those already in the service. Nothing has done so much to inspirit our brave soldiers as the determination evinced by Congress to send to their aid those who have thus far lived in ease at home while they have endured dangers, toils, and privations. When the hope of equal justice and of speedy reinforcement shall thus have failed, disappointment and despondency will displace the buoyant fortitude which animates them now. Desertion, already a frightful evil, will become the order of the day. And who will arrest the deserter, when most of those at home are engaged with him in the common cause of setting the Government at defiance? Organized bands of deserters will patrol the country, burning, plundering, and robbing indiscriminately, and our armies, already too weak, must be still further depleted at the most imminent crisis of our cause, to keep the peace and protect the lives and property of our citizens at home. Must these evils be endured? Must the independence for which we are contending, the safety of the defenseless families of the men who have fallen in battle and of those who still confront the invader, be put in peril for the sake of conformity to the technicalities of the law of treason?

Having thus presented some of the threatening evils which exist, it remains to suggest the remedy. And in my judgment that is to be found only in the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. It is a sharp remedy, but a necessary one. It is a remedy plainly contemplated by the Constitution. All the powers of the Government, extraordinary as well as ordinary, are a sacred trust, to be faithfully executed whenever the public exigency may require. Recognizing the general obligation, we cannot escape from the duty in one case more than in another. And a suspension of the writ when demanded by the public safety is as much a duty as to levy taxes for the support of the Government. If the state of invasion declared by the Constitution to be a proper case for the exercise of this power does not exist in our country now, when can it ever be expected to arise? It is idle to appeal against it to the history of the old Union. That history contains no parallel case. England, whose reverence for the great bill of right is at least as strong as our own, and the stability of whose institutions is the admiration of the world, has repeatedly within the last hundred years resorted to this remedy when only threatened with invasion. It may occasion some clamor, but this will proceed chiefly from the men who have already been too long the active agents of evil. Loyal citizens will not feel danger, and the disloyal must be made to fear it. The very existence of extraordinary powers often renders their exercise unnecessary. To temporize with disloyalty in the midst of war is but to quicken it to the growth of treason. I therefore respectfully recommend that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus be suspended.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 3, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

In response to your resolution of the 15th ult., I herewith transmit for your information in executive session a communication from the Secretary of War, relative to the general officers appointed under the act approved October 13, 1862.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 5, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 25th ultimo, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, relative to the steps taken to carry out the provisions of the act of Congress "in relation to the arrest and disposition of slaves who have been recaptured from the enemy."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, February 5, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit communications from the Secretaries of the Treasury and of War, which convey the information asked for in your resolution of the 13th ultimo, relative to the amount of money forwarded to the Trans-Mississippi Department since the adjournment of Congress, and to the adjustment of claims against the Government for articles illegally impressed and not paid for at the time.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 8, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of the 15th ult., requesting to be informed "by what authority Gens. Sam Jones and Imboden have prohibited the transportation of food from the military districts in which they are located to the city of Richmond for private use and consumption."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 8, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 12th ultimo, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, relative to the "domestic passport system" now enforced upon citizens traveling in some parts of the Confederate States outside of the lines of the armies.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 8, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 12th ultimo, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, stating that the records of the War Office "do not show any authority granted to raise troops of conscript age, except in localities where the operation of the conscript law has been suspended, or from the control of the enemy it cannot be enforced."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 8, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a copy of the report by Gen. Jno. S. Williams of the operations of the forces under his command at Blue Springs, Henderson, and Rheatown, Tenn.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 11, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of War, submitting an estimate of the sum needed for the conscription service.

I recommend an appropriation of the amount specified for the purpose indicated.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 11, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 31st December, 1863, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, concerning the "correspondence with Gen. Whiting relative to the defense of Wilmington, North Carolina," and the aid which "can be given by further legislation to the complete defense of that important post."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 11, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, submitting estimates of additional sums needed for the support of the Government.

I recommend an appropriation of the amount specified for the purposes indicated.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 11, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit, and recommend to your favorable consideration in secret session, a communication from the Secretary of the Navy, asking for authority to transfer the amount appropriated under secret act No. 6, approved September 19, 1862, to the appropriation under secret act No. 31, approved October 6, 1862.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 12, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 21st ultimo, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, relative to the delivery of the "tax in kind" at the Government depots by the producers.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 12, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 29th ultimo, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, submitting copies of papers relating "to the trial and conviction of W. E. Coffman by a military court," and to "a writ of habeas corpus issued from the circuit court of Rockingham County, Va., to prevent the execution of said Coffman."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 12, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of several additional reports of General Beauregard, connected with the defense of Charleston.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 12, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

In response to your resolution of the 2d ult., I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, relative to the assessment and collection of taxes under the act approved May 1, 1863.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feby. 12, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, submitting an estimate of additional sums needed for the support of the Government.

I recommend an appropriation of the amount specified for the purposes indicated.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 13, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States.

I feel impelled by the condition of the country earnestly to recommend to your adoption the extension of the conscription already recommended[11] in my annual message of the 7th of December last, and to inform you that the preparations made by the enemy for the campaign of the present year warn us that our armies in the field must be reënforced to the utmost possible extent.

The agricultural interests of the country must be protected and fostered, or we shall be unable to raise the supplies necessary for the subsistence of the Army as well as of the people at home. How is this to be done?

There is no possibility of affording adequate local protection by our armies in the field, which must of necessity be kept concentrated to resist the main columns of the invading forces of the enemy. Our farms and depots can be protected from destructive raids only by men who remain at home engaged in manufactural, agricultural, and other pursuits. There are but two modes of rendering these classes available for such purposes. One is by calling them out as militia; the other by enrolling them under Confederate authority. I propose in a few words to contrast these modes.

If those left at home are available only as militia, it will become necessary to make requisitions for them on the States in advance of any pressing necessity for their services, because of the delays which are always involved in obtaining forces under such calls. When called out it will naturally result that the men will be retained for long periods in the field or in camp, to be ready for emergencies, as they could not, if discharged, be promptly recalled when required. This method of using the reserves will tell with disastrous effect on our agriculture.

On the other hand, troops for local defense and special service, as organized under the act of 21st of August, 1861, would afford the Commander in Chief the means of calling out the men embraced in such organizations at a moment's warning, and enable him, without imprudence, to dismiss them the moment the danger had disappeared. They would probably not be absent from the fields and workshops more than two or three weeks at a time, and there would thus be no serious interruption to the productive industry of the country. If the spirit which rendered the volunteering so general among all classes of citizens at the beginning of the war were still prevalent, there would be no necessity for the proposed legislation, as the citizens would readily join the organizations provided in the law above mentioned. But as this is not the case, it is necessary that conscription for local defense should replace volunteering.

If Congress should decline to adopt this measure, which my sense of what is needed for the public defense forces me again to urge upon its attention, I am unable to perceive from what source we are to obtain the men necessary not only to repel raids but to relieve the large number of able-bodied soldiers now detailed from the Army for local service in the States.

I trust that my conviction of the pressing necessity for this legislation in aid of the public defense will be received by Congress as a sufficient justification for this renewal of the recommendation contained in the message addressed to you at the commencement of the present session.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 15, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

In response to your resolution of the 12th inst., I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, conveying the information asked for relative to Gen. A. R. Lawton and Gen. J. B. Gordon.

The terms of the inquiry to which this reply is made suggest the propriety of informing the Senate that other general officers, who have been wounded in battle and separated from their commands, have been regarded as having a continuing right to receive the prescribed pay and allowances of their grade, notwithstanding the appointment of others to supply the want created by their indefinite absence. For example, the recent nominations of brigadier generals, who had been selected to command the brigades of Gen. W. H. F. Lee, of Virginia, and of Gen. D. W. Adams, of Louisiana, were not intended to vacate the commissions or to suspend the pay of those gallant officers, but to use the authority to appoint supernumerary generals for one of the purposes for which it was understood to have been given.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 15, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith submit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of War, covering an estimate of an additional appropriation required by the War Department.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 15, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information communications from the Secretary of War, covering copies of several additional reports of military operations.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 15, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

In response to your resolution of December 24, 1863, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, submitting copies of the charges and specifications, and of the accompanying papers, in the case of Major H. C. Guerin, C. S.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 16, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 5th instant, I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, conveying the information asked for relative to the hospitals in and near the city of Richmond, and to the surgeons and assistant surgeons attached to them.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 16th, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In partial response to your resolution of the 11th December, 1863, I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, conveying the information asked for relative to the officers of the Commissary Department who have failed to render their accounts, and stating the cause of his inability at present to furnish the desired information concerning such officers of the Quartermaster's Department.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 17, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of the Navy, covering an estimate for an additional appropriation required under an act[12] approved on the 16th inst.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 17, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith submit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of War, covering an estimate for an additional appropriation required by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 17, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

In response to your resolution of the 12th ult., I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, conveying the information asked for relative to the returns of the company commanders of the Army for the clothing transferred to them for issue and distribution.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 17, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith submit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of the Navy, covering ah estimate for an additional appropriation required under an act approved on the 16th instant.

Jefferson Davis.


VETO MESSAGES.

Richmond, Va., December 31, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States of America.

The act entitled "An Act to amend an act entitled 'An Act to aid the State of Kentucky, and for other purposes,'" approved 29th of January, 1862, has been duly considered, and I find myself constrained, though very reluctantly, because of the purpose in view, to return the same to the House in which it originated with a statement of the objections which cause me to withhold my approval.

The act to which this is amendatory was for the declared object of aiding the Governor and Council of Kentucky to raise and organize troops in that State for the Confederate service, and to supply them with clothing, subsistence, transportation, arms, and ammunition. The second section of that act carefully provided the manner of making requisitions on the appropriation, so as to secure its application to the object for which it was designed — viz., to provide for troops raised for the Confederate service anterior to their being mustered into the same, and therefore before they could be supplied by the officers of the Confederate Army.

The act now before me devotes one-half of that appropriation to a purpose entirely different from that originally contemplated, and authorizes the Governor and Council to draw from the Treasury a million of dollars, to be expended in purchasing clothing for the use and benefit of the Kentucky troops now in the service. These already receive the same allowance of clothing as all other troops. The act under consideration makes an appropriation for an object for which other money is appropriated, and directs its expenditure by agents other than the bonded officers charged with supplying clothing to the whole Army. If it be designed, as equity would seem to require, to make a proportionate provision for all the other troops, the Senate will not fail to observe the very large expenditure which it would involve, and that the method is objectionable, because it would be to employ two sets of agents to perform the same duty, who, buying in the same market, would necessarily be bidders against each other.

If the allowance of clothing be not sufficient, a better remedy would seem to be an increase of the appropriation for the clothing for the whole Army, that the grateful duty might in that case be performed by the Confederate authorities of issuing to the soldier whatever additional allowance the Government may be able to procure and his wants may require.

It will be further perceived that to recognize as well founded the implication contained in this bill that extra supplies of clothing furnished to the soldiers ought to be paid for by the Confederacy would lay the foundation for large claims to be made hereafter by the States for reimbursement on account of clothing supplied by them to their soldiers.

If the discrimination made by this act in favor of the gallant soldiers of our sister State of Kentucky originates from the natural sympathy excited by their separation from such comforts as they might expect to receive if able to communicate with their homes, Congress will not fail to perceive that there are many other troops in the service in like condition, and whose claims to consideration stand on precisely the same footing.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 11, 1864.

The House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America.

Having carefully considered the act entitled "An Act to provide for wounded and disabled officers, soldiers, and seamen an asylum to be called the 'Veteran Soldiers' Home,'" I feel constrained to return it with my objections to the House of Representatives, in which it originated. The object of the act appeals most strongly to the sympathies of all; but in providing the means for effectuating that object, it enacts provisions which, in my judgment, are unwarranted by the Constitution. Without affirming that the act creates a perfect corporation, there can be no doubt that it confers upon the board of managers of the institution which it is intended to found corporate powers and franchises of a well-defined character, which constitute them what is known as a quasi corporation. They are to organize themselves into a board, by the election of a president, treasurer, and their necessary officers; are to continue in office until their successors are appointed, thus providing for a continual succession; and they are to be subject to the general approval and direction of the Secretary of War, thus constituting the Secretary a visitor, a usual incident of eleemosynary corporations. They have powers to make bylaws, or, as the act expresses it, the "power to make all requisite rules and regulations" for the government of the institution; and they are authorized to receive endowments from individuals and from the States. These are all ordinary and well-known corporate franchises. But if any doubt could exist as to whether they are granted to the board as a corporation, or quasi corporation, or only intrusted to them as individual trustees, that doubt is removed by the second section of the act. That section provides that the treasurer shall give bond with security for the faithful discharge of his duties, which bond shall be payable to the said board of managers and their successors in office, and may by them be put in suit in any State or Confederate court having jurisdiction. It cannot be understood that this bond is to be taken to and sued upon by the board of managers in their individual capacities as natural persons. This is evident from two considerations:

First. Such a power would be supererogatory and useless, since as natural persons they already had by the common law ample right to make any contract and take any bond or other security not contravening the policy of the law.

Second. The right of action on a bond payable to the managers as individuals would, in the courts of law, remain in and be under the control of the managers after they had gone out of office; and in case of the death of all of them would belong to the personal representative of the last survivor; and to prevent these inconveniences it is expressly provided that the bond should be payable to and be sued on by "the board of managers and their successors in office," which could be accomplished only by constituting them to that extent a corporation.

From these considerations it is apparent that the intent of the act is to confer corporate powers upon the board of managers; and that intent is, in my judgment, beyond the powers intrusted to Congress by the Constitution. However enlightened opinions may have differed under the old Government, the whole history and theory of the contest in which we are engaged and the express recognition in our Constitution of the sovereignty of the States preclude all idea of so widely extending by construction the field of implied powers. That there is no such power expressly granted need scarcely be remarked.

But if this view of the intent and operation of the act be discarded as incorrect, then it can be susceptible of but one other interpretation. It provides for the support and comfort of soldiers and seamen disabled in the public service — a class in all countries regarded as the peculiar objects of governmental benevolence. The institution which it founds is endowed, in part at least, from the funds of the Government. The real estate necessary for the purpose of this act is to be leased or purchased by the Secretary of War, under the approval of the President, as the property of the Government. Officers in the service and pay of the Government are to be assigned for duty at the asylum. Its whole management is to be subject to the general direction and control of a high officer of the Government — the Secretary of War; and the board of managers are required to report to the Secretary, to be communicated to Congress at every regular session, a statement of the condition of the institution. It is then a Government institution, and its officers are officers of the Confederate States; but they are not to be appointed in any of the ways by which alone such appointments can be constitutionally made — neither by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, nor by the President alone, nor by the courts of law, nor by the Head of a Department. The managers are to be appointed by the Governors of the several States, and they in turn are to appoint their president and treasurer and fix their salaries.

These two are, in my judgment, the only interpretations of which the act is susceptible; and under either view its provisions are violative of the Constitution.

Jefferson Davis.


PROCLAMATION.

By the President of the Confederate States.

A PROCLAMATION.

The Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America have signified their desire that a day may be recommended to the people, to be set apart and observed as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, in the language following, to wit:

"Reverently recognizing the providence of God in the affairs of man, and gratefully remembering the guidance, support, and deliverance granted to our patriotic fathers in the memorable war which resulted in the independence of the American colonies, and now reposing in him our supreme confidence and hope in the present struggle for civil and religious freedom, and for the right to live under a government of our own choice, and deeply impressed with the conviction that without him nothing is strong, nothing wise, and nothing enduring; in order that the people of this Confederacy may have the opportunity at the same time of offering their adoration of the great Sovereign of the universe, of penitently confessing their sins, and strengthening their vows and purposes of amendment in humble reliance upon his gracious and almighty power:

"The Congress of the Confederate States of America do resolve, That it be recommended to the people of these States that Friday, the eighth day of April next, be set apart and observed as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, that Almighty God would so preside over our public councils and authorities, that he would so inspire our armies and their leaders with wisdom, courage, and perseverance, and so manifest himself in the greatness of his goodness and majesty of his power, that we may be safely and successfully led, through the chastenings to which we are being subjected, to the attainment of an honorable peace; so that while we enjoy the blessings of a free and happy government we may ascribe to him the honor and the glory of our independence and prosperity."

A recommendation so congenial to the feelings of the people will receive their hearty concurrence; and it is a grateful duty to the Executive to unite with their representatives in inviting them to meet in the courts of the Most High. Recent events awaken fresh gratitude to the Supreme Ruler of nations. Our enemies have suffered repeated defeats, and a nefarious scheme to burn and plunder our capital, and to destroy our civil government by putting to death the chosen servants of the people, has been baffled and set at naught. Our armies have been strengthened, our finances promise rapid progress to a satisfactory condition, and our whole country is animated with a hopeful spirit and a fixed determination to achieve independence.

In these circumstances it becomes us, with thankful hearts, to bow ourselves before the throne of the Most High, and, while gratefully acknowledging so many mercies, confess that our sins as a people have justly exposed us to his chastisement. Let us recognize the sufferings which we have been called upon to endure, as administered by a Fatherly hand for our improvement, and with resolute courage and patient endurance let us wait on him for our deliverance.

In furtherance of these objects, now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, do issue this, my proclamation, calling upon the people of the said States, in conformity with the desire expressed by their representatives, to set apart Friday, the eighth day of April, as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; and I do hereby invite them on that day to repair to their several places of public worship and beseech Almighty God "to preside over our public councils, and so inspire our armies and leaders with wisdom, courage, and perseverance, and so manifest himself in the greatness of his goodness and in the majesty of his power, that we may secure the blessings of an honorable peace and of free government, and that we, as a people, may ascribe to him all the honor and glory of his name."

[L. S.] Given under my hand and the seal of the Confederate States of America, at the city of Richmond, on this twelfth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four.

Jefferson Davis.

By the President:

J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of State.


ADDRESS.

General Orders No. 19.

Adjt. and Insp. General's Office,
Richmond,
February 10, 1864.

The following address of the President is published for the information of the Army:

Soldiers of the Armies of the Confederate States.

In the long and bloody war in which your country is engaged you have achieved many noble triumphs. You have won glorious victories over vastly more numerous hosts. You have cheerfully borne privations and toil to which you were unused. You have readily submitted to restraints upon your individual will that the citizen might better perform his duty to the State as a soldier. To all these you have lately added another triumph — the noblest of human conquests — a victory over yourselves.

As the time drew near when you who first entered the service might well have been expected to claim relief from your arduous labors and restoration to the endearments of home you have heeded only the call of your suffering country. Again you come to tender your service for the public defense — a free offering, which only such patriotism as yours could make — a triumph worthy of you and of the cause to which you are devoted.

I would in vain attempt adequately to express the emotions with which I received the testimonials of confidence and regard which you have recently addressed to me. To some of those first received separate acknowledgments were returned. But it is now apparent that a like generous enthusiasm pervades the whole Army, and that the only exception to such magnanimous tender will be of those who, having originally entered for the war, cannot display anew their zeal in the public service. It is, therefore, deemed appropriate, and it is hoped will be equally acceptable, to make a general acknowledgment, instead of successive special responses. Would that it were possible to render my thanks to you in person, and in the name of our common country as well as in my own, while pressing the hand of each war-worn veteran, to recognize his title to our love, gratitude, and admiration!

Soldiers! By your will (for you and the people are but one) I have been placed in a position which debars me from sharing your dangers, your sufferings, and your privations in the field. With pride and affection my heart has accompanied you in every march; with solicitude it has sought to minister to your every want; with exultation it has marked your every heroic achievement. Yet never, in the toilsome march, nor in the weary watch, nor in the desperate assault, have you rendered a service so decisive in results as in this last display of the highest qualities of devotion and self-sacrifice which can adorn the character of the warrior patriot.

Already the pulse of the whole people beats in unison with yours. Already they compare your spontaneous and unanimous offer of your lives for the defense of your country with the halting and reluctant service of the mercenaries who are purchased by the enemy at the price of higher bounties than have hitherto been known in war. Animated by this contrast, they exhibit cheerful confidence and more resolute bearing. Even the murmurs of the weak and timid, who shrink from the trials which make stronger and firmer your noble natures, are shamed into silence by the spectacle which you present. Your brave battle cry will ring loud and clear through the land of the enemy as well as our own, will silence the vainglorious boastings of their corrupt partisans and their pensioned press, and will do justice to the calumny by which they seek to persuade a deluded people that you are ready to purchase dishonorable safety by degrading submission.

Soldiers! The coming spring campaign will open under auspices well calculated to sustain your hopes. Your resolution needed nothing to fortify it. With ranks replenished under the influence of your example and by the aid of your representatives, who give earnest of their purpose to add, by legislation, largely to your strength, you may welcome the invader with a confidence justified by the memory of past victories. On the other hand, debt, taxation, repetition of heavy drafts, dissensions, occasioned by the strife for power, by the pursuit of the spoils of office, by the thirst for the plunder of the public Treasury, and, above all, the consciousness of a bad cause, must tell with fearful force upon the overstrained energies of the enemy. His campaign in 1864 must, from the exhaustion of his resources both in men and money, be far less formidable than those of the last two years, when unimpaired means were used with boundless prodigality and with results which are suggested by the mention of the glorious names of Shiloh and Perryville, and Murfreesboro and Chickamauga, and the Chickahominy and Manassas, and Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

Soldiers! Assured success awaits us in our holy struggle for liberty and independence, and for the preservation of all that renders life desirable to honorable men. When that success shall be reached, to you — your country's hope and pride — under Divine Providence, will it be due. The fruits of that success will not be reaped by you alone, but your children and your children's children, in long generations to come, will enjoy blessings derived from you that will preserve your memory ever living in their hearts.

Citizen-defenders of the homes, the liberties, and the altars of the Confederacy! That the God whom we all humbly worship may shield you with his Fatherly care, and preserve you for safe return to the peaceful enjoyment of your friends and the association of those you most love, is the earnest prayer of your Commander in Chief.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, February 9, 1864.

By order:

S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General.


OFFICIAL REGULATIONS TO CARRY INTO EFFECT THE ACT "TO IMPOSE REGULATIONS UPON THE FOREIGN COMMERCE OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES TO PROVIDE FOR THE PUBLIC DEFENSE."

I. — AS TO THE SEA.

1. The owners of any vessel intending to sail from a Confederate port with a cargo consisting in whole or in part of cotton, tobacco, military and naval stores, sugar, molasses, or rice, shall, before lading on board of any such articles, file with the collector of the port from which the vessel is to sail a copy of her register with a declaration of the names of the owners and officers thereof, the place of their birth and of their residence for the preceding year, together with the port or place to which the said vessel proposes to sail. The said declaration shall also set forth the quantity and value, in Confederate currency, of the cargo proposed to be taken out, as also the consent of the said owners that one-half of the tonnage of the said vessel may be employed by the Confederate Government for its own use, both on the outward and homeward voyage, at the rate of freight hereinafter mentioned. The collector shall submit a statement as to the owners and officers to the military commandant of the port, and if he shall not object to their loyalty or to the sailing of the vessel for reasons of military necessity the collector shall grant a permit for the lading of the said vessel, one-half for account of the owners and one-half for account of the Confederate States.

2. Before the said lading shall be completed the owners of the vessel shall execute to the Confederate States a bond in double the value of the vessel, with security deemed adequate by the collector, conditioned that she will pursue the voyage designated, and that she will return with reasonable dispatch to a Confederate port after her outward cargo shall be discharged, with a cargo consisting one-half of articles not prohibited by the laws of the Confederate Government and the other half of such articles as the Government shall offer for shipment from such port, at the rate of freight hereinafter mentioned.

3. Each shipper of any portion of the cargo proposed to be laden on board the said vessel shall, before the lading thereof, make application to the collector for a permit to lade the same, which application shall declare the articles to be shipped and the quantity and value thereof in Confederate currency, the port of destination, and the name of the consignee. A permit shall be granted by the collector if the application is deemed satisfactory. The lading shall be had under the inspection of a revenue officer, who shall be charged with the duty of seeing that the goods laden conform to the permit.

4. Before the completion of the lading on board or the granting a clearance each shipper of any portion of the cargo shall execute and deliver to the collector a bond to the Confederate States in double the value of his shipment in Confederate money, with security deemed adequate by the collector, with condition that at least one-half the net proceeds of said shipment shall be invested in goods or articles not prohibited by law, and that the said goods or articles shall be shipped by the same or some other vessel to the Confederate States within sixty days from the unlading of said cargo; or that the said half of the net proceeds shall be paid in coin or sterling exchange to the proper agent of the Confederate States, to be reimbursed to the shipper by the delivery to him of cotton at the port of departure in the Confederate States at the rate of 10 pence sterling per pound for middling uplands.

5. The freight to be paid by the Confederate States on all cotton and tobacco shipped from a Confederate port shall be 5 pence sterling per pound, payable on delivery at the port of destination in coin or sterling exchange. Return freight shall be at the rate of £25 per ton, payable on its delivery in the Confederate port, in cotton at 10 pence sterling per pound for middling uplands, and at a proportionate price for cotton of other qualities. In calculating the ton of freight by weight, 2,240 pounds shall be allowed; by measure, 40 cubic feet shall be allowed.

6. If the outward-bound vessel shall consent, at the request of the Government, to take two-thirds of her cargo for account of the Confederate States, the outward freight shall be 6 pence sterling per pound; and whenever the Government is not prepared to fill up any portion of the tonnage reserved for its use at the time at which any vessel may be made ready to sail, the owners may fill up the same on their own account; but no vessel shall, without consent of the Government, sail on her outward voyage until one-third of her cargo shall be laden for the use of the Government.

7. The rate of freight for articles other than cotton and tobacco shall be adjusted at the same relative rate and be payable in the same way.

8. The Government reserves the right to limit or prohibit the shipment of resin, turpentine, or any manufacture thereof, whenever deemed dangerous to its own shipment.

9. Upon the completion of the lading of the vessel, and before receiving her clearance, there shall be delivered to the collector, in addition to the usual manifest, another, setting forth the names, ages, and description of her officers and crew and of every passenger intending to sail in her. The said last-mentioned manifest shall be delivered to the commandant of the port, who shall thereupon cause the entire vessel to be searched, and if satisfied that the parties on board are persons who may safely be permitted to leave the Confederacy, and the passengers have the proper passports, he shall certify the same on the manifest and return the same to the collector, whereupon, and not before, a clearance shall be granted to the vessel, and she shall be permitted to sail.

10. The owners of each vessel and of each portion of a cargo sailing from a Confederate port shall be allowed to take up their respective bonds by producing to the collector the certificate of the proper agent of the Confederate Government at the port of delivery, setting forth the particulars showing that the said party has complied with the obligation of the said bond so far as the same was practicable; and the collector, upon being duly satisfied, shall be authorized to surrender the said bonds.

11. Nothing in these regulations shall be so construed as to conflict with the proviso of the law which declares "that nothing in this act shall be construed to prohibit the Confederate States, or any of them, from exporting any of the articles herein enumerated on their own account;" nor shall a bond be required of a State in any case.

12. The penalties of all bonds executed in conformity with these regulations shall be recovered in full on proof of breach of the conditions of the bond, and without proof of any damage suffered by the Confederate States in consequence of such breach, and all bonds shall be executed in such force as to give effect to this regulation.

13. Vessels sent into the Confederacy for the purpose of exporting cotton received in payment of any Confederate bond or obligation shall be subject to these regulations only as far as relates to such portion of the tonnage, if any, as may remain vacant after the lading of the cotton received in payment as aforesaid.

14. The regulations for overland commerce with neutral countries will be issued separately within a few days.

Approved.

C. G. Memminger, Secretary of the Treasury.

James A. Seddon, Secretary of War.

Approved March 5, 1864.

Jeff'n Davis.


RESOLUTIONS OF THANKS.

Whereas, the campaigns of the brave and gallant armies covering the capital of the Confederate States during the two successive years of eighteen hundred and sixty-two and eighteen hundred and sixty-three, under the leadership and command of General Robert E. Lee, have been crowned with glorious results, defeating greatly superior forces massed by the enemy for the conquest of these States, repelling the invaders with immense losses, and twice transferring the battlefield from our own country to that of the enemy; And whereas, the masterly and glorious achievements, rendering forever memorable the fields of the "Seven Days of Great Battles," which raised the siege of Richmond, as well as those of Cedar Run, Second Manassas, Harper's Ferry, Boonsboro, Sharpsburg, Shepherdstown, Fredericksburg, Winchester, Gettysburg, and Chancellorsville, command the admiration and gratitude of our country; And whereas, these and other illustrious services rendered by this able commander since the commencement of our war of independence have especially endeared him to the hearts of his countrymen, and have imposed on Congress the grateful duty of giving expression to their feelings: Therefore,

Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are tendered, to General Robert E. Lee and to the officers and soldiers of the Confederate armies under his command, for the great and signal victories they have won over the vast hosts of the enemy, and for the inestimable services they have rendered in defense of the liberty and independence of our country.

Resolved, That the President be requested to communicate these resolutions to General Robert E. Lee, and to the officers and soldiers herein designated.

Approved January 8, 1864.


Whereas, Major Heros von Borcke, of Prussia, Adjutant and Inspector General of the cavalry corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, having left his own country to assist in securing the independence of ours, and by his personal gallantry in the field having won the admiration of his comrades as well as that of his commanding general, all of whom deeply sympathize with him in his present sufferings from the wounds received in battle: Therefore,

Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and the same are hereby tendered, to Major von Borcke for his self-sacrificing devotion to our Confederacy, and for his distinguished services in support of its cause.

Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing resolution be transmitted to Major von Borcke by the President of the Confederate States.

Approved January 30, 1864.


Whereas, the Congress of the Confederate States have received, with the liveliest emotions, the cheering intelligence that a large portion of the Tennessee troops composing the Army of Tennessee, under the command of General Joseph E. Johnston, have tendered their services to the country during the war; it is, therefore,

Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are hereby cordially given to the gallant soldiers of Tennessee, who have, in advance of the legislation of Congress, and before their three years' term of service had expired, voluntarily tendered their services to the country during the war, with the heroic determination never to abandon the field till the last vandal invader is driven from our soil and our freedom won.

Resolved, That, in view of the magnitude of the struggle in which we are engaged, and the great stake at issue — the freedom of our country — the Congress indulges the confident hope that the example so heroically set by their brothers in arms will be followed by our whole Army, thus giving to the world, after nearly three years of arduous struggle, an earnest of their determination to die or be free.

Resolved, That the President be requested to have the foregoing preamble and resolution sent to the commanders of the Army, with the request that they communicate them to the officers and soldiers, as an evidence of the high appreciation in which they are gratefully held by the Congress of the Confederate States of America for their heroic valor displayed on so many memorable occasions, and for their fortitude and perseverance under so many trials.

Approved February 3, 1864.


The Congress of the Confederate States having learned through the public press of the reënlistment for the war of the North Carolina brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia serving under General Robert D. Johnston: Therefore,

Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the patriotism and spirit of the North Carolina troops, evinced by their prompt and voluntary devotion of themselves afresh to the service of the country, are beyond all praise, and deserve the unbounded gratitude of the country.

Approved February 6, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are tendered to the gallant troops from the State of Louisiana in the Army of Tennessee, who have, with signal unanimity, volunteered their services for the war.

Sec. 2. Resolved, That the lofty and self-sacrificing spirit exhibited by this noble act deserves, and will receive, the commendation and gratitude of every true patriot.

Sec. 3. Resolved, That the thanks of Congress are equally due and are tendered, to the patriotic and self-sacrificing troops who, at the commencement of the war, placed their services at the disposal of their country without condition or limit as to time.

Approved February 6, 1864.


Resolved, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to the officers and men of the Second Florida Regiment, who, after a service of distinguished gallantry and heroic suffering for nearly three years, did, on the twenty-eighth ultimo, at a meeting held near Rapidan Station, Virginia, resolve to reënlist for the war at the expiration of their present term of service.

Approved February 6, 1864.


Whereas, the Alabama troops composing the brigade commanded by Brigadier General Cullen A. Battle, in the Army of Northern Virginia, volunteered in the service of the Confederate States, in the early part of the year eighteen hundred and sixty-one, upon the first call for troops for the defense of Virginia, have participated in every battle fought by that army, from the battle of Seven Pines to that of Gettysburg, always winning by their gallantry and devotion deserved praise and honor, and now, after enduring for nearly three years the hardships and dangers of active military service, have reënlisted for the war: Therefore,

Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby cordially tendered, to the Alabama troops, who, by their renewing the offer of their services to the country for the war in advance of any legislative action, have shown a spirit undaunted, a heroic determination to battle ever until the independence of their country is established, and a consecration to the cause of liberty worthy of imitation by their comrades.

Resolved, That the President be requested to communicate a copy of the foregoing preamble and resolution to the commander and troops of said brigade as an evidence of the grateful appreciation by Congress of their fortitude and heroism during the trials and dangers of past services, and of their late act of patriotism, confirming the faith and reassuring the hope of the patriot.

Approved February 6, 1864.


The Congress of the Confederate States of America, having learned that the division of troops commanded by Major General Rodes have reënlisted for the war, do —

Resolve, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to the officers and troops commanded by Major General Rodes for the patriotism exhibited by them in reënlisting for the war as well as for the gallantry they have always displayed upon the field of battle; and they are assured that their country will always bear in grateful remembrance the noble manner in which they have come to her assistance in the hour of her need.

Resolved, further, That the President be requested to communicate this resolution to General Rodes and the officers and troops under his command.

Approved February 6, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and hereby cordially tendered, to the gallant brigade of North Carolina troops commanded by Brigadier General S. D. Ramseur, in the Army of Northern Virginia, for their devoted patriotism in unanimously offering their valuable services to the Confederacy for the war, after having already signalized their patriotic zeal, fortitude, and valor on many fields of battle and in many scenes of trial.

Approved February 6, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to Colonel Thomas G. Lamar and the officers and men engaged in the gallant and successful defense of Secessionville against the greatly superior numbers of the enemy on the sixteenth day of June, eighteen hundred and sixty-two.

Approved February 8, 1864.


Resolved, That the thanks of Congress are eminently due, and are hereby cordially given, to Captain Odium, Lieutenant Richard Dowling, and the forty-one men composing the Davis Guards, under their command, for their daring, gallant, and successful defense of Sabine Pass, Texas, against the attack made by the enemy on the eighth of September last, with a fleet of five gunboats and twenty-two steam transports, carrying a land force of fifteen thousand men.

Resolved, That this defense, resulting, under the providence of God, in the defeat of the enemy, the capture of two gunboats, with more than three hundred prisoners, including the commander of the fleet, the crippling of a third gunboat, the dispersion of the transports, and preventing the invasion of Texas, constitutes, in the opinion of Congress, one of the most brilliant and heroic achievements in the history of this war, and entitles the Davis Guards to the gratitude and admiration of their country.

Resolved, That the President be requested to communicate the foregoing resolutions to Captain Odium, Lieutenant Dowling, and the men under their command.

Approved February 8, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are eminently due, and are hereby cordially tendered, to General G. T. Beauregard and the officers and men of his command for their gallant and successful defense of the city of Charleston, South Carolina — a defense which for the skill, heroism, and tenacity displayed by the defenders during an attack scarcely paralleled in warfare — whether we consider the persistent efforts of the enemy or his almost boundless resources in the most improved and formidable artillery and the most powerful engines of war hitherto known — is justly entitled to be pronounced glorious by impartial history and an admiring country.

Resolved, That the President be requested to communicate the foregoing resolution to General Beauregard and the officers and men of his command.

Approved February 8, 1864.


Resolved, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to Major General Patrick R. Cleburne and the officers and men under his command for the victory obtained by them over superior forces of the enemy at Ringgold Gap, in the State of Georgia, on the twenty-seventh day of November, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, by which the advance of the enemy was impeded, our wagon train and most of our artillery saved, and a large number of the enemy killed and wounded.

Resolved, That the President be requested to communicate the foregoing resolution to Major General Cleburne and his command.

Approved February 9, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress and of the country are due, and are hereby tendered, to the members of McClung's battery for the chivalrous and patriotic manner in which they have revolunteered and tendered their services for the war, and that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to them without delay.

Approved February 13, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are eminently due, and are hereby tendered, to the officers and men of the Tenth Mississippi Regiment for having patriotically and in a spirit of self-sacrificing devotion reënlisted for the war.

Resolved, That a record of these proceedings be forthwith furnished to the troops comprising the Tenth Mississippi Regiment.

Approved February 13, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the communication of Major Francis W. Smith, commanding a battalion of Virginia artillery, stationed at Drewry's Bluff, composed of "United artillery," Captain Thomas Kevill; "Johnston artillery," Captain B. J. Epes; "Neblett's artillery," Captain W. G. Coleman; and "Southside artillery," Captain J. W. Drewry, announcing their voluntary reënlistment for the war, is hailed with pleasure by Congress as an evidence of unfaltering devotion to the cause of liberty and independence and of stern determination to resist to the utmost the wicked purposes of a relentless and merciless foe.

Resolved, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to the officers and men of this command for their gallant and patriotic conduct "in unanimously reënlisting for the war under such regulations as Congress may prescribe."

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress and of the country are due, and are hereby tendered, to the officers and men of the Twenty-Eighth and Thirteenth Regiments of North Carolina troops, who have so gallantly revolunteered for the war, and have pledged themselves, their lives, and fortunes never to lay down their arms until our soil is freed from the invading foe and our independence obtained.

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby, through its representatives in Congress, tendered, to the officers and men of the Third Georgia Regiment, who were the first to leave their State to battle on the soil of Virginia, whose gallant dead have been left on many of her historic battlefields, and which entire regiment, to a man, have cheerfully and unanimously reënlisted for the war, heroically resolving that, as they were among the first to take up arms in the cause of liberty and independence, they will be the last to lay them down.

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby gratefully tendered, to the officers and men of the gallant Twenty-Second Regiment of Virginia Infantry for their noble zeal and patriotism in reënlisting for the war.

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are hereby tendered to Hart's battery, Hampton's legion, South Carolina volunteers, for their gallant and patriotic resolution, recently adopted, to reënlist for the war.

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due to the officers and men of the Forty-Sixth and Fifty-Fifth Regiments of Tennessee volunteers for the promptness and patriotism they have displayed in unanimously reënlisting for the war "under such regulations as Congress may prescribe."

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are hereby tendered to the officers and men of the Sixteenth Regiment of Mississippi troops, Colonel Samuel E. Baker commanding, for their patriotic resolution, recently adopted, to reënlist for the war.

Approved February 15, 1864.


Whereas, in addition to the various brigades and regiments of veteran troops from the State of Alabama to whom Congress has heretofore given evidence of grateful appreciation by vote of thanks for reënlisting for the war, other brigades and regiments are nobly coming to the rescue of their imperiled country by such reënlistment, thus furnishing evidence that the citizen soldiery from that State have determined never to abandon the struggle in which we are engaged until our independence shall have been achieved: Therefore —

Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, alike to the gallant soldiery from the State of Alabama who, in the first instance, enlisted for the war, and to those who, notwithstanding the toils and hardships of many a weary march and perils of many a hard-fought battle, have voluntarily come forward and offered their labors and lives.

Resolved, That such noble examples of heroism and self-sacrifice will ever be remembered by a grateful country, and should stimulate all those who remain at home to redouble their exertions to provide, not only for the comfort and efficiency of those patriotic warriors, but for their families and loved ones whom they have left behind.

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby heartily tendered, to the Seventh and Twelfth Regiments Virginia Cavalry, for the patriotic and indomitable spirit they have displayed in so promptly reënlisting for the war, and that they have entitled themselves to the lasting gratitude of their country in thus renewing their vows of consecration to the sacred cause of Southern independence.

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of the Congress are due, and are hereby cordially tendered, to the gallant troops of Lomax's cavalry brigade, for their patriotic example in reënlisting for the war, and that the lofty and determined spirit they have displayed in thus dedicating themselves afresh to the cause of independence will entitle them to the lasting gratitude of their country.

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of the Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to the troops in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States from the State of Georgia, who have so promptly and so gallantly reënlisted for the war.

Sec. 2. That the action of those who, from the beginning, have stood in front of danger and endured every hardship, in thus so cheerfully resolving to remain the voluntary bulwark of our country's defense, is commended by the Congress to all the people of the Confederate States as an example worthy of patriotic emulation, and should be accepted by every one as the signal for renewed devotion to the cause and for increased and universal energy in the prosecution of a struggle on the issue of which depends not only Confederate and State independence, but the very existence of constitutional government in America.

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to the officers and men of the Sixty-First Virginia Regiment of Infantry and the Fifth Virginia Regiment of Cavalry, for having patriotically, and in a spirit of self-sacrificing devotion, reënlisted for the war.

Sec. 2. Resolved, That a record of these proceedings be forthwith furnished to the troops composing the above-named regiments.

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of the Congress of the Confederate States are due, and are hereby tendered, to Commander John Taylor Wood, Confederate States Navy, and to the officers and men under his command, for the daring and brilliantly executed plans which resulted in the capture of the United States transport schooner "Elmore," on the Potomac River; of the ship "Allegheny," and the United States gunboats "Satellite" and "Reliance;" and the United States transport schooners "Golden Rod," "Coquette," and "Two Brothers," on the Chesapeake; and, more recently, in the capture from under the guns of the enemy's works of the United States gunboat "Underwriter," on the Neuse River, near Newbern, North Carolina, with the officers and crews of the several vessels brought off as prisoners.

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are tendered to the Fifteenth, Twenty-Seventh, and Thirtieth Regiments of North Carolina troops for their patriotic devotion to our cause in reënlisting for the war.

Approved February 15, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are eminently due, and are hereby tendered, to the enlisted men of Douglas's (Texas) battery for the patriotic resolutions adopted by them on the eighteenth day of January last, and by which they reënlisted in the military service of the country for the war.

Approved February 16, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the reënlistment of the Fifteenth and Twenty-Seventh Regiments of North Carolina troops, Cooke's brigade, is a grateful testimony of devotion to the great cause of Southern independence, and entitles them to the thanks of Congress and the country.

Resolved, That the thanks of Congress are hereby tendered to the officers and men of said regiments for their noble and patriotic conduct in reënlisting for the war.

Approved February 16, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That Congress hails with delight the manifestations evinced by the brave and gallant officers and privates of the Ninth Regiment, Alabama Volunteers, who have stood under the fire of the enemy for near three years, never to yield to Northern oppression; and for this act of patriotism and exalted self-sacrifice in reënlisting for the war the thanks of Congress and the country are eminently due them. That the example of those brave men who have endured the dangers and perils of the war since its commencement is a happy omen for the future, and should encourage Congress and the country to rest with an abiding hope and confidence in the success of our arms and the final triumph of liberty, under the lead of those brave and unconquerable spirits.

Approved February 16, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to General E. Kirby Smith for the signal victory achieved by him in the battle of Richmond, Kentucky, on the thirtieth of August, eighteen hundred and sixty-one [1862], and to all the officers and soldiers of his command engaged in that battle; and especially to General Churchill, General Cleburne, and Colonel Preston Smith, of whom he says: "I almost fear to particularize, lest I do not full justice to all. But I cannot close without expressing my admiration at the promptness and intelligence with which Generals Churchill, Cleburne, and Colonel Preston Smith executed the orders given to them."

Sec. 2. Resolved, That special acknowledgments and commendation are declared for that highest order of generalship with which this victory was followed up, utterly annihilating with five thousand an army of ten thousand, of whom full five thousand were actually captured, besides the slain in battle; and for the brilliant campaign, in which the speed, vigor, and constancy of a rapid advance resulted in planting the Confederate flag upon the capitol of Kentucky, and upon the shores of the Ohio River, in front of the great city of Cincinnati.

Sec. 3. Resolved, That the superior generalship displayed in rapidly gathering the immediate fruits of a victory, and in following it promptly with a campaign of activity, enterprise, and unwearied constancy, renders it worthy of the applause of the Government and the emulation of the Army.

Sec. 4. Resolved, That the President is requested, in appropriate general orders, to make public the sense of Congress in the premises, and to cause the same to be communicated to General E. Kirby Smith and the officers named, and to be read at the head of each regiment engaged in that battle.

Approved February 17, 1864.


Whereas, Poague's artillery battalion, Third Army Corps, Northern Virginia, has patriotically reënlisted to serve during the war: Therefore —

Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress and of the country are due, and are hereby tendered, to the officers and men of said battalion for this act of noble and patriotic devotion to the cause in which we are engaged.

Approved February 17, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are eminently due, and are hereby tendered, to the officers and men of the Thirty-Ninth [Seventh] Mississippi Regiment for their patriotic determination to continue in the service until the independence of these States shall have been firmly established.

Resolved, That the President be requested to transmit a copy of this resolution to the regiment whose patriotic devotion to their country's cause it is designed to acknowledge.

Approved February 17, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress and the country are due, and are hereby tendered, to the officers and men of the Thirty-Seventh Regiment of North Carolina troops for their gallant conduct in revolunteering for the war.

Approved February 17, 1864.


The Congress of the Confederate States of America do resolve, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to the enlisted men of the Surry Light Artillery, Captain J. D. Harkins, for their patriotic resolutions adopted on the ninth day of February, eighteen hundred and sixty-four, and for their manifestation of zeal in our struggle and devotion to their country's cause by reënlisting for the war.

Approved February 17, 1864.


Whereas, the Pee Dee Artillery of South Carolina Volunteers, early in the present struggle for Southern independence, tendered their services to the Government for the period of the war, and have recently renewed their pledge to serve their country until the last invader is driven from our soil: Therefore —

Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are cordially tendered, Pee Dee Artillery of South Carolina Volunteers, for their patriotic reënlistment for the war.

Approved February 17, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to Orr's Rifles, the First, Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Regiments, South Carolina Volunteers, composing McGowan's Brigade, for their patriotic devotion to the cause of Southern independence, as manifested by their recent action, unanimously reiterating their determination to serve during the war; in thus renewing their pledges, after nearly three years of arduous and gallant service, they have met the expectation of their country, and are entitled to its approbation.

Approved February 17, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are again due, and are hereby tendered, to General N. B. Forrest and the officers and men of his command for meritorious service in the field, and especially for the daring, skill, and perseverance exhibited in the pursuit and capture of the largely superior forces of the enemy near Rome, Georgia, in May last; for gallant conduct at Chickamauga, and for his recent brilliant services in West Tennessee.

Approved February 17, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and hereby cordially tendered, to Lieutenant General James Longstreet and the officers and men of his command for their patriotic services and brilliant achievements in the present war, sharing, as they have, the arduous fatigues and privations of many campaigns in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Tennessee, and participating in nearly every great battle fought in those States; the commanding General ever displaying great ability, skill, and prudence in command, and the officers and men the most heroic bravery, fortitude, and energy, in every duty they may have been called upon to perform.

Resolved, That the President be requested to transmit a copy of the foregoing resolution to Lieutenant General Longstreet for publication to his command.

Approved February 17, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby cordially tendered, to Major General J. E. B. Stuart and to the officers and men under his command for their distinguished gallantry and skill during the present war, especially as displayed in the summer of eighteen hundred and sixty-two, in the raid around the army of McClellan across the Chickahominy, the expedition into Pennsylvania, and to Catlett's Station, and in the battles of Fleetwood, Chancellorsville, and other places.

That the President be requested to communicate this resolution to General Stuart and the officers and men under his command.

Approved February 17, 1864.



  1. Robert E. Lee.
  2. John W. Frazer.
  3. Braxton Bragg.
  4. Page 276.
  5. See page 339 for correspondence which resulted in the appointment of Vice President Stephens as military commissioner to United States for purpose of settling differences arising in the execution of the cartel for exchange of prisoners of war.
  6. A duplicate of this message was transmitted to Congress later in the day, inclosing additional papers.
  7. With Emile Erlanger & Co., Paris.
  8. Page 345.
  9. Relative to the Erlanger loan, and cotton accumulated by the Treasury Department.
  10. Of amount required to pay claims for the loss of slaves by impressment, etc.
  11. See page 370.
  12. To pay allowances authorized to officers of the Navy.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).