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

THIRD SESSION.

MET AT RICHMOND, VA., JANUARY 12, 1863. ADJOURNED MAY 1, 1863.

MESSAGES.

Richmond, January 12, 1863.

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

At the date of your last adjournment the preparations of the enemy for further hostilities had assumed so menacing an aspect as to excite in some minds apprehension of our ability to meet them with sufficient promptness to avoid serious reverses. These preparations were completed shortly after your departure from the seat of government, and the armies of the United States made simultaneous advance on our frontiers on the western rivers, and on the Atlantic Coast, in masses so great as to evince their hope of overbearing all resistance by mere weight of numbers. This hope, however, like those previously entertained by our foes, has vanished. In Virginia their fourth attempt at invasion by armies whose assured success was confidently predicted has met with decisive repulse. Our noble defenders, under the consummate leadership of their general, have again, at Fredericksburg, inflicted on the forces under General Burnside the like disastrous overthrow as had been previously suffered by the successive invading armies commanded by Generals McDowell, McClellan, and Pope.

In the West obstinate battles have been fought with varying fortunes, marked by frightful carnage on both sides; but the enemy's hopes of decisive results have again been baffled, while at Vicksburg another formidable expedition has been repulsed with considerable loss on our side and severe damage to the assailing forces. On the Atlantic Coast the enemy has been unable to gain a footing beyond the protecting shelter of his fleets, and the city of Galveston has just been recovered by our forces, which succeeded not only in the capture of the garrison, but of one of the enemy's vessels of war, which was carried by boarding parties from merchant river steamers. Our fortified positions have everywhere been much strengthened and improved, affording assurance of our ability to meet with success the utmost efforts of our enemies, in spite of the magnitude of their preparations for attack.

A review of our history during the two years of our national existence affords ample cause for congratulation and demands the most fervent expression of our thankfulness to the Almighty Father, who has blessed our cause. We are justified in asserting, with a pride surely not unbecoming, that these Confederate States have added another to the lessons taught by history for the instruction of man; that they have afforded another example of the impossibility of subjugating a people determined to be free; and have demonstrated that no superiority of numbers or available resources can overcome the resistance offered by such valor in combat, such constancy under suffering, and such cheerful endurance of privation as have been conspicuously displayed by this people in the defense of their rights and liberties. The anticipations with which we entered into the contest have now ripened into a conviction which is not only shared with us by the common opinion of neutral nations, but is evidently forcing itself upon our enemies themselves. If we but mark the history of the present year, by resolute perseverance in the path we have hitherto pursued, by vigorous effort in the development of all our resources for defense, and by the continued exhibition of the same unfaltering courage in our soldiers and able conduct in their leaders as have distinguished the past, we have every reason to expect that this will be the closing year of the war. The war, which in its inception was waged for forcing us back into the Union, having failed to accomplish that purpose, passed into a second stage, in which it was attempted to conquer and rule these States as dependent provinces. Defeated in this second design, our enemies have evidently entered upon another, which can have no other purpose than revenge and thirst for blood and plunder of private property. But, however implacable they may be, they can have neither the spirit nor the resources required for a fourth year of a struggle uncheered by any hope of success, kept alive solely for the indulgence of mercenary and wicked passions, and demanding so exhaustive an expenditure of blood and money as has hitherto been imposed on their people. The advent of peace will be hailed with joy. Our desire for it has never been concealed. Our efforts to avoid the war, forced on us as it was by the lust of conquest and the insane passions of our foes, are known to mankind. But, earnest as has been our wish for peace and great as have been our sacrifices and sufferings during the war, the determination of this people has with each succeeding month become more unalterably fixed to endure any sufferings and continue any sacrifices, however prolonged, until their right to self-government and the sovereignty and independence of these States shall have been triumphantly vindicated and firmly established.

In this connection the occasion seems not unsuitable for some reference to the relations between the Confederacy and the neutral powers of Europe since the separation of these States from the former Union. Four of the States now members of the Confederacy were recognized by name as independent sovereignties in a treaty of peace concluded in the year 1783 with one of the two great maritime powers of Western Europe, and had been, prior to that period, allies in war of one another. In the year 1778 they formed a Union with nine other States under Articles of Confederation. Dissatisfied with that Union, three of them, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia, together with eight of the States now members of the United States, seceded from it in 1789, and these eleven seceding States formed a second Union, although by the terms of the Articles of Confederation express provision was made that the first Union should be perpetual. Their right to secede, notwithstanding this provision, was neither contested by the States from which they separated nor made the subject of discussion with any third power. When at a later period North Carolina acceded to that second Union, and when, still later, the other sovereign[1] States, now members of this Confederacy, became also members of the same Union, it was upon the recognized footing of equal and independent sovereignties; nor had it then entered into the minds of men that sovereign States could be compelled by force to remain members of a confederation into which they had entered of their own free will, if at a subsequent period the defense of their safety and honor should, in their judgment, justify withdrawal. The experience of the past had evinced the futility of any renunciation of such inherent rights, and accordingly the provision for perpetuity contained in the Articles of Confederation of 1778 was omitted in the Constitution of 1789. When, therefore, in 1861, eleven of the States again thought proper, for reasons satisfactory to themselves, to secede from the second Union and to form a third one under an amended constitution, they exercised a right which, being inherent, required no justification to foreign nations, and which international law did not permit them to question. The usages of intercourse between nations do, however, require that official communication be made to friendly powers of all organic changes in the constitution of States, and there was obvious propriety in giving prompt assurance of our desire to continue amicable relations with all mankind. It was under the influence of these considerations that your predecessors, the Provisional Government, took early measures for sending to Europe commissioners charged with the duty of visiting the capitals of the different powers and making arrangements for the opening of more formal diplomatic intercourse. Prior, however, to the arrival abroad of those commissioners the United States had commenced hostilities against the Confederacy by dispatching a secret expedition for the reënforcement of Fort Sumter, after an express promise to the contrary, and with a duplicity which has been fully unveiled in a former message.[2] They had also addressed communications to the different Cabinets of Europe in which they assumed the attitude of being sovereign over this Confederacy, alleging that these independent States were in rebellion against the remaining States of the Union, and threatening Europe with manifestations of their displeasure if it should treat the Confederate States as having an independent existence. It soon became known that these pretensions were not considered abroad to be as absurd as they were known to be at home, nor had Europe yet learned what reliance was to be placed on the official statements of the Cabinet at Washington.

The delegation of power granted by these States to the Federal Government to represent them in foreign intercourse had led Europe into the grave error of supposing that their separate sovereignty and independence had been merged into one common sovereignty, and had ceased to have a distinct existence. Under the influence of this error, which all appeals to reason and historical fact were vainly used to dispel, our commissioners were met by the declaration that foreign governments could not assume to judge between the conflicting representations of the two parties as to the true nature of their previous mutual relations. The Governments of Great Britain and France accordingly signified their determination to confine themselves to recognizing the self-evident fact of the existence of a war, and to maintaining a strict neutrality during its progress. Some of the other powers of Europe pursued the same course of policy, and it became apparent that by some understanding, express or tacit, Europe had decided to leave the initiative in all action touching the contest on this continent to the two powers just named, who were recognized to have the largest interests involved, both by reason of proximity and of the extent and intimacy of their commercial relations with the States engaged in war. It is manifest that the course of action adopted by Europe, while based on an apparent refusal to determine the question, or to side with either party, was in point of fact an actual decision against our rights and in favor of the groundless pretensions of the United States. It was a refusal to treat us as an independent Government. If we were independent States, the refusal to entertain with us the same international intercourse as was maintained with our enemy was unjust, and was injurious in its effects, whatever may have been the motive which prompted it. Neither was it in accordance with the high moral obligations of that international code whose chief sanction is the conscience of sovereigns and the public opinion of mankind, that those eminent powers should decline the performance of a duty peculiarly incumbent on them from any apprehension of the consequences to themselves. One immediate and necessary result of their declining the responsibility of a decision which must have been adverse to the extravagant pretensions of the United States was the prolongation of hostilities to which our enemies were thereby encouraged, and which have resulted in nothing but scenes of carnage and devastation on this continent, and of misery and suffering on the other, such as have scarcely a parallel in history. Had those powers promptly admitted our right to be treated as all other independent nations, none can doubt that the moral effect of such action would have been to dispel the delusion under which the United States have persisted in their efforts to accomplish our subjugation. To the continued hesitation of the same powers in rendering this act of simple justice toward this Confederacy is still due the continuance of the calamities which mankind suffers from the interruption of its peaceful pursuits, both in the Old and the New World.

There are other matters in which less than justice has been rendered to this people by neutral Europe, and undue advantage conferred on the aggressors in a wicked war. At the inception of hostilities the inhabitants of the Confederacy were almost exclusively agriculturists; those of the United States, to a great extent, mechanics and merchants. We had no commercial marine, while their merchant vessels covered the ocean. We were without a navy, while they had powerful fleets. The advantage which they possessed for inflicting injury on our coasts and harbors was thus counterbalanced in some measure by the exposure of their commerce to attack by private armed vessels. It was known to Europe that within a very few years past the United States had peremptorily refused to accede to proposals for abolishing privateering, on the ground, as alleged by them, that nations owning powerful fleets would thereby obtain undue advantage over those possessing inferior naval forces. Yet no sooner was war flagrant between the Confederacy and the United States than the maritime powers of Europe issued orders prohibiting either party from bringing prizes into their ports. This prohibition, directed with apparent impartiality against both belligerents, was in reality effective against the Confederate States alone, for they alone could find a hostile commerce on the ocean. Merely nominal against the United States, the prohibition operated with intense severity on the Confederacy, by depriving it of the only means of maintaining with some approach to equality its struggle on the ocean against the crushing superiority of naval force possessed by its enemies. The value and efficiency of the weapon which was thus wrested from our grasp by the combined action of neutral European powers in favor of a nation which professes openly its intention of ravaging their commerce by privateers in any future war is strikingly illustrated by the terror inspired among the commercial classes of the United States by a single cruiser of the Confederacy. One national steamer, commanded by officers and manned by a crew who are debarred, by the closure of neutral ports, from the opportunity of causing captured vessels to be condemned in their favor as prizes, has sufficed to double the rates of marine insurance in Northern ports and consign to forced inaction numbers of Northern vessels, in addition to the direct damage inflicted by captures at sea. How difficult, then, to overestimate the effects that must have been produced by the hundreds of private armed vessels that would have swept the seas in pursuit of the commerce of our enemy if the means of disposing of their prizes had not been withheld by the action of neutral Europe.

But it is especially in relation to the so-called blockade of our coast that the policy of European powers has been so shaped as to cause the greatest injury to the Confederacy and to confer signal advantages on the United States. The importance of this subject requires some development. Prior to the year 1856 the principles regulating this subject were to be gathered from the writings of eminent publicists, the decisions of admiralty courts, international treaties, and the usages of nations. The uncertainty and doubt which prevailed in reference to the true rules of maritime law in time of war, resulting from the discordant and often conflicting principles announced from such varied and independent sources, had become a grievous evil to mankind. Whether a blockade was allowable against a port not invested by land as well as by sea; whether a blockade was valid by sea if the investing fleet was merely sufficient to render ingress to the blockaded port "evidently dangerous," or whether it was further required for its legality that it should be sufficient "really to prevent access," and numerous other similar questions had remained doubtful and undecided.

Animated by the highly honorable desire to put an end "to differences of opinion between neutrals and belligerents, which may occasion serious difficulties and even conflicts" (I quote the official language), the five great powers of Europe, together with Sardinia and Turkey, adopted in 1856 the following "solemn declaration" of principles:

1. Privateering is, and remains, abolished.

2. The neutral flag covers enemy's goods with the exception of contraband of war.

3. Neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war, are not liable to capture under enemy's flag.

4. Blockades, in order to be binding, must be effective; that is to say, maintained by a force sufficient really to prevent access to the coast of the enemy.

Not only did this solemn declaration announce to the world the principles to which the signing powers agreed to conform in future wars, but it contained a clause to which those powers gave immediate effect, and which provided that the States not parties to the Congress of Paris should be invited to accede to the declaration. Under this invitation every independent State in Europe yielded its assent — at least, no instance is known to me of refusal; and the United States, while declining to assent to the proposition which prohibited privateering, declared that the three remaining principles were in entire accordance with their own views of international law. No instance is known in history of the adoption of rules of public law under circumstances of like solemnity, with like unanimity, and pledging the faith of nations with a sanctity so peculiar.

When, therefore, this Confederacy was formed, and when neutral powers, while deferring action on its demand for admission into the family of nations, recognized it as a belligerent power, Great Britain and France made informal proposals about the same time that their own rights as neutrals should be guaranteed by our acceding as belligerents to the declaration of principles made by the Congress of Paris. The request was addressed to our sense of justice, and therefore met immediate favorable response in the resolutions of the Provisional Congress of the 13th of August, 1861, by which all the principles announced by the Congress of Paris were adopted as the guide of our conduct during the war, with the sole exception of that relative to privateering. As the right to make use of privateers was one in which neutral nations had, as to the present war, no interest; as it was a right which the United States had refused to abandon, and which they remained at liberty to employ against us; as it was a right of which we were already in actual enjoyment, and which we could not be expected to renounce flagrante bello against an adversary possessing an overwhelming superiority of naval forces, it was reserved with entire confidence that neutral nations could not fail to perceive that just reason existed for the reservation. Nor was this confidence misplaced, for the official documents published by the British Government, usually called "Blue Books," contained the expression of the satisfaction of that Government with the conduct of the officials who conducted successfully the delicate business confided to their charge.

These solemn declarations of principle — this implied agreement between the Confederacy and the two powers just named — have been suffered to remain inoperative against the menaces and outrages on neutral rights committed by the United States with unceasing and progressive arrogance during the whole period of the war. Neutral Europe remained passive when the United States, with a naval force insufficient to blockade effectively the coast of a single State, proclaimed a paper blockade of thousands of miles of coast, extending from the capes of the Chesapeake to those of Florida, and encircling the Gulf of Mexico from Key West to the mouth of the Rio Grande. Compared with this monstrous pretension of the United States, the blockades known in history under the names of the Berlin and Milan decrees and the British orders in council, in the years 1806 and 1807, sink into insignificance. Yet those blockades were justified by the powers that declared them on the sole ground that they were retaliatory; yet those blockades have since been condemned by the publicists of those very powers as violations of international law; yet those blockades evoked angry remonstrances from neutral powers, among which the United States were the most conspicuous; yet those blockades became the chief cause of the war between Great Britain and the United States in 1812; yet those blockades were one of the principal motives that led to the declaration of the Congress of Paris, in 1856, in the fond hope of imposing an enduring check on the very abuse of maritime power which is now renewed by the United States in 1861 and 1862, under circumstances and with features of aggravated wrong without precedent in history.

The records of our State Department contain the evidence of the repeated and formal remonstrances made by this Government to neutral powers against the recognition of this blockade. It has been shown by evidence not capable of contradiction, and which has been furnished in part by the officials of neutral nations, that the few ports of this Confederacy, before which any naval forces at all have been stationed, have been invested so inefficiently that hundreds of entries have been effected into them since the declaration of the blockade; that our enemies have themselves admitted the inefficiency of their blockade in the most forcible manner by repeated official complaints of the sale to us of goods contraband of war, a sale which could not possibly affect their interests if their pretended blockade was sufficient "really to prevent access to our coast;" that they have gone farther and have alleged their inability to render their paper blockade effective as the excuse for the odious barbarity of destroying the entrance to one of our harbors by sinking vessels loaded with stone in the channel; that our commerce with foreign nations has been intercepted, not by effective investment of our ports, nor by the seizure of ships in the attempt to enter them, but by the capture on the high seas of neutral vessels by the cruisers of our enemies whenever supposed to be bound to any point on our extensive coast, without inquiry whether a single blockading vessel was to be found at such point; that blockading vessels have left the ports at which they were stationed tor distant expeditions, have been absent for many days, and have returned without notice either of the cessation or renewal of the blockade; in a word, that every prescription of maritime law and every right of neutral nations to trade with a belligerent, under the sanction of principles heretofore universally respected, have been systematically and persistently violated by the United States. Neutral Europe has received our remonstrances and has submitted in almost unbroken silence to all the wrongs that the United States have chosen to inflict on its commerce. The Cabinet of Great Britain, however, has not confined itself to such implied acquiescence in these breaches of international law as results from simple inaction, but has, in a published dispatch of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, assumed to make a change in the principle enunciated by the Congress of Paris, to which the faith of the British Government was considered to be pledged; a change too important and too prejudicial to the interests of the Confederacy to be overlooked, and against which I have directed solemn protest to be made, after a vain attempt to obtain satisfactory explanations from the British Government. In a published dispatch from Her Majesty's Foreign Office to her Minister at Washington, under the date of 11th of February, 1862, occurs the following passage:

Her Majesty's Government, however, are of opinion that, assuming that the blockade was duly notified, and also that a number of ships are stationed and remain at the entrance of a port sufficient really to prevent access to it, or to create an evident danger on entering it or leaving it, and that these ships do not voluntarily permit ingress or egress, the fact that various ships may have successfully escaped through it (as in the particular instance here referred to) will not of itself prevent the blockade from being an effectual one by international law.

The words which I have italicized are an addition made by the British Government of its own authority to a principle the exact terms of which were settled with deliberation by the common consent of civilized nations and by implied convention with this Government, as already explained, and their effect is clearly to reopen to the prejudice of the Confederacy one of the very disputed questions on the law of blockade which the Congress of Paris professed to settle. The importance of this change is readily illustrated by taking one of our ports as an example. There is "evident danger" in entering the port of Wilmington from the presence of a blockading force, and by this test the blockade is effective. "Access is not really prevented" by the blockading fleet to the same port, for steamers are continually arriving and departing, so that tried by this test the blockade is ineffective and invalid. The justice of our complaint on this point is so manifest as to leave little room for doubt that further reflection will induce the British Government to give us such assurances as will efface the painful impressions that would result from its language if left unexplained.

From the foregoing remarks you will perceive that during nearly two years of struggle, in which every energy of our country has been evoked for maintaining its very existence, the neutral nations of Europe have pursued a policy which, nominally impartial, has been practically most favorable to our enemies and most detrimental to us. The exercise of the neutral right of refusing entry into their ports to prizes taken by both belligerents was eminently hurtful to the Confederacy. It was sternly asserted and maintained. The exercise of the neutral right of commerce with a belligerent whose ports are not blockaded by fleets sufficient really to prevent access to them would have been eminently hurtful to the United States. It was complacently abandoned. The duty of neutral States to receive with cordiality and recognize with respect any new confederation that independent States may think proper to form was too clear to admit of denial, but its postponement was eminently beneficial to the United States and detrimental to the Confederacy. It was postponed.

In this review of our relations with the neutral nations of Europe it has been my purpose to point out distinctly that this Government has no complaint to make that those nations declared their neutrality. It could neither expect nor desire more. The complaint is that the neutrality has teen rather nominal than real, and that recognized neutral rights have been alternately asserted and waived in such manner as to bear with great severity on us, and to confer signal advantages on our enemy.

I have hitherto refrained from calling to your attention this condition of our relations with foreign powers for various reasons. The chief of these was the fear that a statement of our just grounds of complaint against a course of policy so injurious to our interests might be misconstrued into an appeal for aid. Unequal as we were in mere numbers and available resources to our enemies, we were conscious of powers of resistance, in relation to which Europe was incredulous, and our remonstrances were therefore peculiarly liable to be misunderstood. Proudly self-reliant, the Confederacy, knowing full well the character of the contest into which it was forced, with full trust in the superior qualities of its population, the superior valor of its soldiers, the superior skill of its generals, and above all in the justice of its cause, felt no need to appeal for the maintenance of its rights to other earthly aids, and it began and has continued this struggle with the calm confidence ever inspired in those who, with consciousness of right, can invoke the Divine blessing on their cause. This confidence has been so assured that we have never yielded to despondency under defeat, nor do we feel undue elation at the present brighter prospect of successful issue to our contest. It is, therefore, because our just grounds of complaint can no longer be misinterpreted that I lay them clearly before you. It seems to me now proper to give you the information, and, although no immediate results may be attained, it is well that truth should be preserved and recorded. It is well that those who are to follow us should understand the full nature and character of the tremendous conflict in which the blood of our people has been poured out like water, and in which they have resisted, unaided, the shock of hosts which would have sufficed to overthrow many of the powers which, by their hesitation in according our rights as an independent nation, imply doubt of our ability to maintain our national existence. It may be, too, that if in future times unfriendly discussions not now anticipated shall unfortunately arise between this Confederacy and some European power, the recollection of our forbearance under the grievances which I have enumerated may be evoked with happy influence in preventing any serious disturbance of peaceful relations.

It would not be proper to close my remarks on the subject of our foreign relations without adverting to the fact that the correspondence between the Cabinets of France, Great Britain, and Russia, recently published, indicate a gratifying advance in the appreciation by those Governments of the true interest of mankind as involved in the war on this continent. It is to the enlightened ruler of the French nation that the public feeling of Europe is indebted for the first official exhibition of its sympathy for the sufferings endured by this people with so much heroism, of its horror at the awful carnage with which the progress of the war has been marked, and of its desire for a speedy peace. The clear and direct intimation contained in the language of the French note, that our ability to maintain our independence has been fully established, was not controverted by the answer of either of the Cabinets to which it was addressed. It is indeed difficult to conceive a just ground for a longer delay on this subject after reading the following statement of facts contained in the letter emanating from the Minister of His Imperial Majesty:

There has been established, from the very beginning of this war, an equilibrium of forces between the belligerents, which has since been almost constantly maintained, and after the spilling of so much blood they are to-day in this respect in a situation which has not sensibly changed. Nothing authorizes the prevision that more decisive military operations will shortly occur. According to the last advices received in Europe, the two armies were, on the contrary, in a condition which permitted neither to hope within a short delay advantages sufficiently marked to turn the balance definitely and to accelerate the conclusion of peace.

As this Government has never professed the intention of conquering the United States, but has simply asserted its ability to defend itself against being conquered by that power, we may safely conclude that the claims of this Confederacy to its just place in the family of nations cannot long be withheld, after so frank and formal an admission of its capacity to cope on equal terms with its aggressive foes, and to maintain itself against their attempts to obtain decisive results by arms.

It is my painful duty again to inform you of the renewed examples of every conceivable atrocity committed by the armed forces of the United States at different points within the Confederacy, and which must stamp indelible infamy not only on the perpetrators but on their superiors, who, having the power to check these outrages on humanity, numerous and well-authenticated as they have been, have not yet in a single instance of which I am aware inflicted punishment on the wrongdoers. Since my last communication to you one General McNeil murdered seven prisoners of war in cold blood, and the demand for his punishment has remained unsatisfied. The Government of the United States, after promising examination and explanation in relation to the charges made against General Benjamin F. Butler, has by its subsequent silence, after repeated efforts on my part to obtain some answer on the subject, not only admitted his guilt but sanctioned it by acquiescence, and I have accordingly branded this criminal as an outlaw,[3] and directed his execution in expiation of his crimes if he should fall into the hands of any of our forces. Recently I have received apparently authentic intelligence of another general by the name of Milroy who has issued orders in Western Virginia for the payment of money to him by the inhabitants, accompanied by the most savage threats of shooting every recusant, besides burning his house, and threatening similar atrocities against any of our citizens who shall fail to betray their country by giving him prompt notice of the approach of any of our forces, and this subject has also been submitted to the superior military authorities of the United States with but faint hope that they will evince any disapprobation of the act. Humanity shudders at the appalling atrocities which are being daily multiplied under the sanction of those who have obtained temporary possession of power in the United States, and who are fast making its once fair name a byword of reproach among civilized men. Not even the natural indignation inspired by this conduct should make us, however, so unjust as to attribute to the whole mass of the people who are subjected to the despotism that now reigns with unbridled license in the city of Washington a willing acquiescence in its conduct of the war. There must necessarily exist among our enemies very many, perhaps a majority, whose humanity recoils from all participation in such atrocities, but who cannot be held wholly guiltless while permitting their continuance without an effort at repression.

The public journals of the North have been received, containing a proclamation, dated on the 1st day of the present month, signed by the President of the United States, in which he orders and declares all slaves within ten of the States of the Confederacy to be free, except such as are found within certain districts now occupied in part by the armed forces of the enemy. We may well leave it to the instincts of that common humanity which a beneficent Creator has implanted in the breasts of our fellowmen of all countries to pass judgment on a measure by which several millions of human beings of an inferior race, peaceful and contented laborers in their sphere, are doomed to extermination, while at the same time they are encouraged to a general assassination of their masters by the insidious recommendation "to abstain from violence unless in necessary self-defense." Our own detestation of those who have attempted the most execrable measure recorded in the history of guilty man is tempered by profound contempt for the impotent rage which it discloses. So far as regards the action of this Government on such criminals as may attempt its execution, I confine myself to informing you that I shall, unless in your wisdom you deem some other course more expedient, deliver to the several State authorities all commissioned officers of the United States that may hereafter be captured by our forces in any of the States embraced in the proclamation, that they may be dealt with in accordance with the laws of those States providing for the punishment of criminals engaged in exciting servile insurrection. The enlisted soldiers I shall continue to treat as unwilling instruments in the commission of these crimes, and shall direct their discharge and return to their homes on the proper and usual parole.

In its political aspect this measure possesses great significance, and to it in this light I invite your attention. It affords to our whole people the complete and crowning proof of the true nature of the designs of the party which elevated to power the present occupant of the Presidential chair at Washington and which sought to conceal its purpose by every variety of artful device and by the perfidious use of the most solemn and repeated pledges on every possible occasion. I extract in this connection as a single example the following declaration, made by President Lincoln under the solemnity of his oath as Chief Magistrate of the United States, on the 4th of March, 1861:

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so; and I have no inclination to do so. Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them; and more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance and as a law to themselves and to me the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

"Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control Its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes."

Nor was this declaration of the want of power or disposition to interfere with our social system confined to a state of peace. Both before and after the actual commencement of hostilities the President of the United States repeated in formal official communication to the Cabinets of Great Britain and France that he was utterly without constitutional power to do the act which he has just committed, and that in no possible event, whether the secession of these States resulted in the establishment of a separate Confederacy or in the restoration of the Union, was there any authority by virtue of which he could either restore a disaffected State to the Union by force of arms or make any change in any of its institutions. I refer especially for verification of this assertion to the dispatches addressed by the Secretary of State of the United States, under direction of the President, to the Ministers of the United States at London and Paris, under date of 10th and 22d of April, 1861.

The people of this Confederacy, then, cannot fail to receive this proclamation as the fullest vindication of their own sagacity in foreseeing the uses to which the dominant party in the United States intended from the beginning to apply their power, nor can they cease to remember with devout thankfulness that it is to their own vigilance in resisting the first stealthy progress of approaching despotism that they owe their escape from consequences now apparent to the most skeptical. This proclamation will have another salutary effect in calming the fears of those who have constantly evinced the apprehension that this war might end by some reconstruction of the old Union or some renewal of close political relations with the United States. These fears have never been shared by me, nor have I ever been able to perceive on what basis they could rest. But the proclamation affords the fullest guarantee of the impossibility of such a result; it has established a state of things which can lead to but one of three possible consequences — the extermination of the slaves, the exile of the whole white population from the Confederacy, or absolute and total separation of these States from the United States.

This proclamation is also an authentic statement by the Government of the United States of its inability to subjugate the South by force of arms, and as such must be accepted by neutral nations, which can no longer find any justification in withholding our just claims to formal recognition. It is also in effect an intimation to the people of the North that they must prepare to submit to a separation, now become inevitable, for that people are too acute not to understand a restoration of the Union has been rendered forever impossible by the adoption of a measure which from its very nature neither admits of retraction nor can coexist with union.

Among the subjects to which your attention will be specially devoted during the present session you will no doubt deem the adoption of some comprehensive system of finance as being of paramount importance. The increasing public debt, the great augmentation in the volume of the currency, with its necessary concomitant of extravagant prices for all articles of consumption, the want of revenue from a taxation adequate to support the public credit, all unite in admonishing us that energetic and wise legislation alone can prevent serious embarrassment in our monetary affairs. It is my conviction that the people of the Confederacy will freely meet taxation on a scale adequate to the maintenance of the public credit and the support of their Government. When each family is sending forth its most precious ones to meet exposure in camp and death in battle, what ground can there be to doubt the disposition to devote a tithe of its income, and more, if more be necessary, to provide the Government with means for insuring the comfort of its defenders? If our enemies submit to an excise on every commodity they produce and to the daily presence of the taxgatherer, with no higher motive than the hope of success in their wicked designs against us, the suggestion of an unwillingness on the part of this people to submit to the taxation necessary for the success of their defense is an imputation on their patriotism that few will be disposed to make and that none can justify.

The legislation of your last session, intended to hasten the funding of outstanding Treasury notes, has proved beneficial, as shown by the returns annexed to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury. But it was neither sufficiently prompt nor far-reaching to meet the full extent of the evil. The passage of some enactment carrying still further the policy of that law by fixing a limitation not later than the 1st of July next to the delay allowed for funding the notes issued prior to the 1st of December, 1862, will, in the opinion of the Secretary, have the effect to withdraw from circulation nearly the entire sum issued previous to the last-named date. If to this be added a revenue from adequate taxation, and a negotiation of bonds guaranteed proportionately by the several States, as has already been generally proposed by some of them in enactments spontaneously adopted, there is little doubt that we shall see our finances restored to a sound and satisfactory condition, our circulation relieved of the redundancy now productive of so many mischiefs, and our credit placed on such a basis as to relieve us from further anxiety relative to our resources for the prosecution of the war.

It is true that at its close our debt will be large; but it will be due to our own people, and neither the interest nor the capital will be exported to distant countries, impoverishing ours for their benefit. On the return of peace the untold wealth which will spring from our soil will render the burden of taxation far less onerous than is now supposed, especially if we take into consideration that we shall then be free from the large and steady drain of our substance to which we were subjected in the late Union through the instrumentality of sectional legislation and protective tariffs.

I recommend to your earnest attention the whole report of the Secretary of the Treasury on this important subject, and trust that your legislation on it will be delayed no longer than may be required to enable your wisdom to devise the proper measures for insuring the accomplishment of the objects proposed.

The operations of the War Department have been in the main satisfactory. In the report of the Secretary, herewith submitted, will be found a summary of many memorable successes. They are with justice ascribed in large measure to the reorganization and reinforcement of our armies under the operation of the enactments for conscription. The wisdom and efficacy of these acts have been approved by results, and the like spirit of unity, endurance, and self-devotion in the people, which has hitherto sustained their action, must be relied on to assure their enforcement under the continuing necessities of our situation. The recommendations of the Secretary to this effect are tempered by suggestions for their amelioration, and the subject deserves the consideration of Congress. For the perfection of our military organization no appropriate means should he rejected, and on this subject the opinions of the Secretary merit early attention. It is gratifying to perceive that under all the efforts and sacrifices of war the power, means, and resources of the Confederacy for its successful prosecution are increasing. Dependence on foreign supplies is to be deplored, and should, as far as practicable, be obviated by the development and employment of internal resources. The peculiar circumstances of the country, however, render this difficult and require extraordinary encouragements and facilities to be granted by the Government. The embarrassments resulting from the limited capacity of the railroads to afford transportation and the impossibility of otherwise commanding and distributing the necessary supplies for the armies render the control of the roads under some general supervision and resort to the power of impressment military exigencies. While such powers have to be exercised, they should be guarded by judicious provisions against perversion or abuse and be, as recommended by the Secretary, under due regulation of law.

I specially recommend in this connection some revision of the exemption law of last session. Serious complaints have reached me of the inequality of its operation from eminent and patriotic citizens whose opinions merit great consideration, and I trust that some means will be devised for leaving at home a sufficient local police without making discriminations, always to be deprecated, between different classes of our citizens.

Our relations with the Indians generally continue to be friendly. A portion of the Cherokee people have assumed an attitude hostile to the Confederate Government, but it is gratifying to be able to state that the mass of intelligence and worth in that nation have remained true and loyal to their treaty engagements. With this exception there have been no important instances of disaffection among any of the friendly nations and tribes. Dissatisfaction recently manifested itself among certain portions of them, but this resulted from a misapprehension of the intentions of the Government in their behalf. This has been removed, and no further difficulty is anticipated.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy, herewith transmitted, exhibits the progress made in this branch of the public service since your adjournment, as well as its present condition. The details embraced in it are of such a nature as to render it, in my opinion, incompatible with the public interests that they should be published with this message. I therefore confine myself to inviting your attention to the information therein contained.

The report of the Postmaster General shows that during the first postal year under our Government, terminating on the 30th of June last, our revenues were in excess of those received by the former Government in its last postal year, while the expenses were greatly decreased. There is still, however, a considerable deficit in the revenues of the Department as compared with its expenses, and although the grants already made from the general Treasury will suffice to cover all liabilities to the close of the fiscal year ending on the 30th of June next, I recommend some legislation, if any can be constitutionally devised, for aiding the revenues of that Department during the ensuing fiscal year, in order to avoid too great a reduction of postal facilities. Your attention is also invited to numerous other improvements in the service recommended in the report, and for which legislation is required.

I recommend to the Congress to devise a proper mode of relief to those of our citizens whose property has been destroyed by order of the Government, in pursuance of a policy adopted as a means of national defense. It is true that full indemnity cannot now be made, but some measure of relief is due to those patriotic citizens who have borne private loss for the public good, whose property in effect has been taken for public use, though not directly appropriated. Our Government, born of the spirit of freedom and of the equality and independence of the States, could not have survived a selfish or jealous disposition, making each only careful of its own interest or safety. The fate of the Confederacy, under the blessing of Divine Providence, depends upon the harmony, energy, and unity of the States. It especially devolves on you, their representatives, as far as practicable, to reform abuses, to correct errors, to cultivate fraternity, and to sustain in the people a just confidence in the Government of their choice. To that confidence and to the unity and self-sacrificing patriotism hitherto displayed is due the success which has marked the unequal contest, and has brought our country into a condition at the present time such as the most sanguine would not have ventured to predict at the commencement of our struggle. Our armies are larger, better disciplined, and more thoroughly armed and equipped than at any previous period of the war. The energies of a whole nation devoted to the single object of success in this war have accomplished marvels, and many of our trials have, by a beneficent Providence, been converted into blessings. The magnitude of the perils which we encountered has developed the true qualities and illustrated the heroic character of our people, thus gaining for the Confederacy from its birth a just appreciation from the other nations of the earth. The injuries resulting from the interruption of foreign commerce have received compensation by the development of our internal resources. Cannon crown our fortresses that were cast from the products of mines opened and furnaces built during the war. Our mountain caves yield much of the niter for the manufacture of powder, and promise increase of product. From our own foundries and laboratories, from our own armories and workshops, we derive in a great measure the warlike material, the ordnance and ordnance stores which are expended so profusely in the numerous and desperate engagements that rapidly succeed each other. Cotton and woolen fabrics, shoes and harness, wagons and gun carriages are produced in daily increasing quantities by the factories springing into existence. Our fields, no longer whitened by cotton that cannot be exported, are devoted to the production of cereals and the growth of stock formerly purchased with the proceeds of cotton. In the homes of our noble and devoted women, without whose sublime sacrifices our success would have been impossible, the noise of the loom and of the spinning wheel may be heard throughout the land. With hearts swelling with gratitude let us, then, join in returning thanks to God, and in beseeching the continuance of his protecting care over our cause and the restoration of peace with its manifold blessings to our beloved country.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, Va., January 15, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, covering certain estimates.[4]

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Jany. 15, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury in reference to a matter which I commend to your special attention and early decision, in secret session.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 17, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a copy of an official report[5] recently made by Colonel Imboden, asked for in a resolution of the House of Representatives, on the 15th instant.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Jany. 19, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of the reports of Major General G. W. Smith and his subordinates, of recent military operations in North Carolina, in response to a resolution of the Senate of the 14th instant.

Jefferson Davis.


Executive Office,
Richmond,
January 20, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I have the honor to request that my message[6] sent to the Senate at the opening of the session may be returned to me, to change a word which is an error.

Jefferson Davis.

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


Richmond, Va., Jan. 21, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith return my message[6] sent to you on the 14th [12th] instant, calling your attention to the 12th line on the 7th page, where I have substituted the word "sovereign"[7] for "seven," as it previously stood, incorrectly written.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 24th, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, forwarding for your information copies of certain reports of military operations, being a response in part to your resolution of the 22d inst.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., January 27, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering an estimate of funds required by the Ordnance Bureau.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Jan. 30, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit, for your information, a communication from the Secretary of War, forwarding copies of "orders of impressment," in reply to your resolution of the 15th inst.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 3d, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication[8] from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of the 27th ult.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 3d, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, in reference to the examination and appointment of ordnance officers, being a response to your resolution asking for information on the subject.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 3, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication[9] from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of the 27th ult.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 4, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a report of the Quartermaster General, in response to your resolution relative to communication, etc., of officers serving in cities.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 4, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, submitting estimates for the Indian Service to June 30, 1863.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 4, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering reports from the Surgeon General and the Chief of Engineers, in response to your resolution of the 22d ultimo.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 4th, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, forwarding the report of the Chief of Ordnance, in partial response to your resolution of the 10th of September, 1862.

Jefferson Davis.


Executive Office,
Richmond,
February 7, 1863.

To the House of Representatives of the Confederate States.

I have this day received the following resolution —

Resolved, That the President be requested to inform this House whether private property of citizens not in the Army has been seized and confiscated by his order or not; and if it has been, for what offense and under what law such seizure and confiscation have been ordered —

and reply that no private property of citizens, either in or not in the Army, has been seized and confiscated by my order.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 7, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration, in secret session, a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, submitting an estimate of the amount required to carry into effect the act entitled "An Act to authorize a foreign loan."

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

Jefferson Davis.


To the House of Representatives of the Confederate States.

In reply to your resolution of the 28th ult., I herewith transmit a letter from the Secretary of the Navy, in which will be found a partial answer to the inquiries submitted. It contains full information in relation to the number of vessels, their cost, and mode of payment, with a reference to laws conferring authority for what has been done.

I have not deemed it proper to communicate the names of officers employed abroad, and still less the names of contractors in foreign countries, for the obvious reason that to do so would endanger the execution of the work undertaken and for the paramount consideration that to reveal the names of parties who have contracted abroad with us would subject them to the penalties imposed by the laws of their own country, and to violate the faith at least impliedly given to them when they entered into contracts with the officers of our Government.

From such considerations, while the reports of the Secretary of the Navy made to this and previous sessions of Congress endeavored to give the fullest information in relation to the operations of the Department, executed or to be executed within the limits of our country, those in foreign countries were stated, with the reservation that whatever might be injurious to the public interest, or to persons who encountered hazards to render us service, should be considered in secret session.

The laws and resolutions to which reference is made as giving authority for the construction of vessels abroad, of necessity contemplated their execution in places where the laws would forbid any subject or citizen being a party to the transaction, and therefore implied so much of secrecy as would be inconsistent with the exhibition of contracts and the exposure of the names of contractors, at least until time should have removed them from the danger of prosecution or damages.

Although these considerations do not apply so strongly to a communication made in secret session, the objections still remain that the danger of the parties is increased by the multiplication of authentic papers, any one of which would furnish conclusive proof against them, a hazard which it is fair to presume they would be unwilling to incur, and which if known to them might have prevented their consent to the contract.

I trust that the House will find in the above stated reasons a justification for withholding fuller information than is contained in the message and the accompanying letter of the Secretary of the Navy.

Jefferson Davis.

[Received February 7, 1863.]


Richmond, Va., February 7, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering an estimate of the amount required for the remuneration of additional clerks in the War Department.

T recommend an appropriation of the amount, and for the purpose specified.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 11, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, in reference to the case of Colonel Richard Thomas, in response to your resolution of the 24th inst.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 11, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, inclosing copies of the findings of a general court-martial, in the cases of persons charged with desertion and absence without leave, being a response to your resolution of the 27th ult.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 13, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of War, covering an estimate for the incidental and contingent expenses of the Army, and of the Department of War, until the 30th of June next.

I recommend an appropriation of the amount, and for the purpose specified.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 16, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a list of all the civilians now in custody, under authority of the War Department, in the city of Richmond, being a response in part to your resolution of the 5th instant.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 16, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of the 19th ult., in reference to impressments of flour, &c., in Petersburg and Lynchburg.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 17, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a report of the Postmaster General, supplemental to his report submitted to Congress at the opening of the present session, to which I invite your special attention.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 17, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of the 30th ult., with regard to Lieut. Colonel Breadwell.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 17, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, asking for an appropriation to meet a claim of the State of North Carolina for reimbursement of sums expended upon clothing, etc., for troops of that State in the Confederate service.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 19, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, in reference to the settlement of the claims of deceased soldiers, in response to your resolution of the 12th inst.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 19, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of the 18th instant, in regard to the number of quartermasters on duty in the city of Richmond.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 19th, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Navy, in response to your resolution of the 10th inst., asking for information "in regard to the quality and abundance of iron and coal to be obtained in the place in Alabama at which it is contemplated to establish a cannon foundry, &c."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 19th, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Navy in regard to the destruction of the enemy's sloop "Hatteras," by the Confederate States steam sloop "Alabama," to which I invite your attention.

The conduct of the commander, officers, and crew is commended to your favorable notice.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 20th, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a report from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in response to your resolution of the 6th inst., in regard to sums invested or funded for the Cherokee Indians, under the treaty of New Echota.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 20, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, submitting an estimate for an additional appropriation required by the Engineer Bureau for the period ending June 30, 1863.

I recommend an appropriation for the purpose specified.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 20, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Postmaster General, submitting an estimate of the sum required for the compensation of certain officers and employees of the Post Office Department, from July 1st to October 12th, 1863.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 20, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, submitting an estimate for the contingent expenses of the Adjutant and Inspector General's office for the period ending June 30, 1863.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Executive Department,
Richmond,
Feb. 21, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

Agreeably to the recommendation of the Secretary of War, I nominate the officers on the accompanying list to the rank affixed to their names respectively.

Jefferson Davis.

Generals —

Samuel Cooper, Virginia, to take rank May 16, '61.
Robert E. Lee, Virginia, to take rank June 14, '61.
Joseph E. Johnston, Virginia, to take rank July 4, '61.
P. G. T. Beauregard, Louisiana, to take rank July 21, '61.

Note. — The fifth General[10] has been nominated and confirmed by the Senate, to rank from the date affixed, being that of the happening of the vacancy to which he succeeded.

J. D.


Executive Office,
Richmond, Va.,
Feb. 23, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Postmaster General, with accompanying papers, in reply to the resolution of your body, of October 13th, 1862, asking information relative to the telegraphic companies in the Confederate States; the expenditures of the Government in that connection, and "such other information as may be deemed useful in determining the policy and practicability of merging the telegraph in the postal system of the Confederate States."

The documents presented contain all the information that it is practicable at present to furnish. As to the propriety of merging the telegraph in the postal system, it may well be doubted whether the development of the art of telegraphing would be better promoted by withdrawing the management of the lines from private companies, and placing it in the hands of the Government, and it is also doubted whether the present is an opportune time so largely to increase the administrative labors of the Executive Departments.

The extension of Executive patronage involving the political effect of giving the Government control of the transmission of the first intelligence, as well as the question of constitutional power, were, it is to be supposed, considered by the House before transmitting the resolution, and are therefore not regarded as proper subjects for remark on this occasion.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 24th, 1863.

To the Senate.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Attorney General, in reference to the shares held by alien enemies in the Washington and New Orleans Telegraph Company, in response to your resolution of the 10th inst.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 25, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information communications from the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General, in regard to the sequestration of real estate belonging to alien enemies, in response to your resolution of the 12th inst.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 25th, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, in reference to the amount of funds paid into the Treasury under the operation of the sequestration act, in response to your resolution of the 21st inst.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 27, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a list of the civilian prisoners now in custody at the military prison at Salisbury, N. C., in further response to your resolution of the 5th instant, and invite attention to the recommendation in regard to a class of officers to be charged with the special duty of inquiring into the cases of prisoners arrested by military authority. I think such officers would be useful, they being selected for special qualifications, and invested with specific powers.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 27, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit for your information communications from the Secretaries of the Treasury, of War, and of the Navy, in reference to claims for vessels seized for public use, in response to your resolution of the 5th inst.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., Feb. 27, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Attorney General in relation to the marshalship of Louisiana, in response to your resolution of the 19th inst.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 27th, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

In further response to your resolution of the 10th inst., in reference to the shares held by alien enemies in the Washington and New Orleans Telegraph Company, I herewith transmit a communication from the Postmaster General.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., March 3rd, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of the reports of Generals Polk, Hardee, and Cheatham of the part borne by their commands in the battle of Shiloh, April 6th and 7th, 1862.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., March 4, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering an estimate of additional funds required for the service of the Ordnance Bureau, for the period ending June 30, 1863.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., March 5, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith inclose for your information a copy of an act of the Legislature of South Carolina, offering a guaranty by that State of the bonds of the Confederate States, to which I invite your special attention.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., March 10, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Navy, in further response to your resolution of the 5th ult., in regard to the number and amount of claims for vessels seized for public use.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., March 10, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering an estimate of additional funds required for the subsistence of the Army for the period ending June 30, 1863.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., March 10, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, submitting an estimate of the amount required for the fulfillment of contracts made by the Medical Purveyors.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., March 11, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 3d ultimo, I herewith transmit for your information a copy of my correspondence, together with that of the Secretaries of War and of the Navy, with the Governor of Louisiana and Major General Lovell, during the period beginning October 25, 1861, and ending with the date of the capture of the city of New Orleans, in reference to the defenses of that city.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., March 11, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering several reports of engagements with the enemy.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., March 12, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, in further response to your resolution of the 5th instant, in reference to claims for vessels seized for public use.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., March 12, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 28th ultimo, I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, relative to cotton purchased for the Government in the State of Louisiana.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., March 16, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

Agreeably to the recommendation of the Secretary of State, I hereby nominate Lucius Q. C. Lamar to be Commissioner to Russia, and Walker Fearn to be Secretary of the Commission.

Jefferson Davis.


Executive Session.
To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I deem it proper to inform the Senate that I have given commissions to James M. Mason, John Slidell, and Lucius Q. C. Lamar, investing them with the powers of Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary of this Government near the respective courts of London, Paris, and St. Petersburg.

As these commissions were to take effect only upon the contingency of the recognition of the Confederacy by those courts respectively, and are held in abeyance till that event, I considered that it would not be proper to submit the nominations for these appointments to the Senate for its advice and consent until the time arrived when the commissions are to take effect.

It has occurred to me, however, that the Senate may be of opinion that these nominations should be submitted to it at the present session. If such should be the judgment of the Senate, the nominations will be submitted before its adjournment.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, Va., March 17, 1863.


Richmond, Va., March 18, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

Herewith is transmitted a communication from the Postmaster General, calling attention to the serious embarrassments in which the postal service is becoming involved under the operation of the act of 11th of October last, which rendered all postmasters, except those appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and all contractors for carrying the mails, their riders and drivers, between the ages of 18 and 45, liable to military duty. In the opinion of the Postmaster General, it will be impracticable to continue the postal service in large districts of our country, without some modification of this legislation.

Under present military necessities, I am very reluctant to increase the list of exemptions, and, were this a case which did not involve a great public interest, would decline to communicate the recommendation to you. In view of the vital importance of maintaining mail communications throughout our country, and the small number of persons who appear to be necessary to the continuance of the postal service, I present the communication of the Postmaster General, and commend it to your attention.

Should you concur with me in the propriety of allowing some exemptions for the purpose proposed, I would suggest that it be confined to contractors, to the exclusion of subcontractors, and that the number of drivers be limited so as not to exceed one for, say, every 25 miles of service in coaches, and that the whole number of exemptions shall not exceed, say, 1,500.

With these or similar restrictions, I am of the opinion that the rule of subjecting all citizens alike to the performance of their duty in defense of the country might be relaxed in the present case as being for the interest both of the people at large and their defenders in the field.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., March 25, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of the 21st ult., inquiring whether official notice has been given to the proper officers of the provisions of "An Act to protect the rights of owners of slaves taken by or employed in the Army."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 2d, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of State, to be read in secret session, in partial response to your resolution of February 28th, asking for copies of such portions of the correspondence between the State Department and our commissioners abroad as can be communicated without detriment to the public interest.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 6, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Navy, to be read in secret session.

I invite your especial attention to the subject he presents.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 10th, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of General Braxton Bragg's reports of several battles.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 11, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, covering estimates for the support of the Government from July 1st to December 31st, 1863, in compliance with resolutions adopted respectively by the Senate and House of Representatives.

I recommend that appropriation be made of the amounts for the purposes specified.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 16, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

Having approved and signed a bill, which originated in your body, entitled, "An Act to allow minors to hold commissions in the Army," I deem it due to many meritorious officers in the service to make a short explanation.

The bill, in my opinion, is only declaratory of the preëxisting law. No prohibition existed, prior to its passage, against the issue of commissions either in the Permanent or Provisional Army to persons under twenty-one years of age. Many of the commissioned officers of the Provisional Army have attained high rank by election and promotion before attaining the age of twenty-one years. The only objection, therefore, that I could entertain to signing the bill in question, was based on the apprehension that the approval of an act allowing commissions to be issued to minors "from and after the passage of the act," might imply that the commissions heretofore issued to minors are invalid.

It seemed, however, more proper to sign the act which in itself was unobjectionable, and to address to you this explanation, which will obviate, it is believed, the only ill consequence that could flow from the passage of the law.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 18, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering an estimate of the amount required to liquidate claims to be paid for river defense service.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 18, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I hereby transmit for your information, in executive session, a communication from the Secretary of State, in response to your resolution of the 13th inst., and setting forth generally the reasons upon which I have deemed it expedient to send a commissioner to Russia.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 18, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering an estimate of the amount required for the use of the Surgeon General before the close of the current fiscal year.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 18th, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of the 4th inst., relative to the case of Surgeon J. E. Dixon, a prisoner of Johnson's Island.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 18, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information, in secret session, a communication from the Secretary of State, in further response to your resolution of February 28th, asking for copies of such portions of the correspondence between the State Department and our commissioners abroad as can be communicated without detriment to the public service.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 18, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of the 2d instant, and stating that no orders have been issued for the arrest and confinement of soldiers in Richmond whose furloughs have not expired.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 20, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of the official reports of several engagements with the enemy.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 20th, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of the first and fourth inst., calling for copies of the official reports of certain battles.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 20, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of January 24th, in reference to the exchange or release "of persons who, taken from civil life, have been transported and confined beyond the limits of the Confederacy."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 21, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information communications from the Secretary of War and the Attorney General, in response to your resolution of February 21st, inquiring "whether the Government holds, or has at any time held, itself liable for the value of slaves impressed by its authority and escaping to the enemy while so impressed, and whether the owners of such slaves have been paid."

Whether the liability of the Government shall be extended to such cases is a question to be determined, not by the Executive, but by Congress.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 21, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit for your information, in secret session, a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, in response to your resolution of the 11th instant, inquiring as to the terms on which cotton has been sold in foreign markets under cover of certificates referred to in his report dated January 10th, 1862. From the report it appears that cotton has not been thus sold.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 21, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit for your information, in secret session, a communication from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of the 11th instant, in reference to the revocation of restrictions upon commerce across the Rio Grande.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 23, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of certain reports of the battle of Murfreesboro.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 23, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration, in secret session, a communication from the Secretary of the Navy, submitting an estimate of the amount required to meet the charges upon exchange for the sum recently appropriated for the use of the Navy Department abroad.

I recommend an additional appropriation of the amount for the purpose specified, or such provision as will secure to the Department the use of the appropriation in funds current at the place where required.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 24, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, covering additional estimates of the sum required for the support of the Government from July 1st to December 31st, 1863.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Virginia, April 24th, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, in response to your resolution of the 2d inst., asking for certain information relative to hospitals, and the provision for the sick and wounded of the Army in them.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Virginia, April 25th, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Secretary of War, covering an estimate for the contingent expenses of the Adjutant and Inspector General's office, for the six months ending December 31st, 1863. I recommend an appropriation of the amount for the purpose specified.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Virginia, April 25th, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Postmaster General, submitting an estimate of the amount required to prepare a building for the post office for the city of Richmond. I recommend an appropriation of the sum for the purpose specified.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 25, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Postmaster General, relative to the removal of certain postmasters from office.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 29th, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of the Navy, in reference to your resolution of the 25th instant, asking for a copy of the finding of the court of inquiry in the case of John H. Mitchell, C. S. N.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 30, 1863.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I herewith transmit for your information, in secret session, communications from the Secretaries of the Treasury and of War, in response to your resolution of the 7th inst., of inquiry relative "to the sale or hypothecation of cotton, or cotton certificates or bonds, in Europe."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 30, 1863.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of the Navy in reference to a recent act of Congress establishing a "Volunteer Navy."

I concur with him in the opinion that the injunction of secrecy should be removed from the law.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., April 30th, 1863.

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 to pay for a submarine telegraph cable at Charleston, S. C.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 1st, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 29th January and the 28th February, I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a report of the Commissary General and copies of other papers relative to Lt. Col. W. A. Broadwell.

In addition to the information furnished by the Secretary of War, I may state that, before his appointment to his present commission, Mr. Broadwell was an agent of the Government to pay and purchase certain supplies for the troops of the State of Missouri in the year 1861. His accounts were adjusted to the satisfaction of the accounting officers of the Government.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 1st, 1863.

To the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of the reports of the battle of McDowell, in response to your resolution of the 25th ult.

Jefferson Davis.


VETO MESSAGES.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I regret that a sense of duty compels me to return to you, with my objections, an act which originated in the Senate, entitled "An Act to increase the strength and efficiency of heavy artillery for seacoast defense."

This act selects from the Provisional Army a particular regiment, known as the First Regiment of South Carolina Infantry, and directs that it shall hereafter be known as the Second Regiment of South Carolina Artillery, and shall have the same organization as is now allowed by law to the First Regiment of South Carolina Artillery.

It next directs that the First and Second Regiments of South Carolina Artillery shall be increased to twelve companies each, and that the complement of a company shall be one hundred and twenty-five enlisted men.

The objections entertained to these provisions are grave, and I submit them as succinctly as possible.

1. The organization of artillery into regiments is subject to great inconvenience and impairs the efficiency of that important arm of the service.

Both in the Regular and in the Provisional Army, the organization of the artillery is a corps composed of batteries, the commander of a battery being a captain, and the men being formed into companies. This organization applies to both heavy or siege and field artillery, and experience has shown it to be more efficient than the organization into regiments.

Under the law, as it now exists, the exact number of batteries required at any point can be ordered there, and an officer of such rank as is appropriate to the number of guns is assigned to their command. It is thus in the power of commanders to assign officers to the duties for which they are most competent, some having greater merit in heavy, and others in light artillery. The system has worked exceedingly well, and I should greatly regret to see it changed or impaired by exceptions. If the organization by regiments be better, it ought to be adopted for the whole artillery service. If not, why should the exceptions to a good system be increased in number?

Where the organization is uniform throughout the service, the troops are better satisfied, and the administration of the Army is much more easy and efficient. Where there are exceptions, there is constant effort on the part of the men to change from one organization to another, discontent is engendered, and embarrassments arise in administration.

It rarely occurs that the service of artillery is required at one point to the number of ten or twelve companies. The exigencies of the service will require that these regiments (if organized as contemplated in the bill now returned to you) shall be broken into detachments, and the field officers, in such event, would be in command of fractions not proportional to their rank.

The First Regiment of South Carolina Artillery was organized by the State before the formation of the Confederacy, and, when it was transferred to this Government, it was necessarily accepted with the existing organization; but that organization was exceptional and objectionable for the reasons already stated. It has been retained in Fort Sumter, which is one of the points where such an organization is least detrimental to the service, but no satisfactory reason is perceived for augmenting the number of companies of which it is composed, or for the organization of another regiment.

The First Regiment of South Carolina Infantry, or a part of it, I am informed, has been assigned to duty and has received instruction in the artillery service, and can be so employed without the passage of the act in question, as long as the exigencies of the service may require. It still remains, however, infantry, and could, in case of necessity, be used as such in the field. If the act should become a law, this advantage would be lost, without any apparent compensating benefit.

2. The act seems to me objectionable as being special legislation.

It is well known that the artillery service is very generally preferred by our troops to infantry service. It is believed that there would be little difficulty now in raising a regiment of artillerists from citizens exempt from conscription, while such is not the case with infantry. If the example be once set of converting regiments into artillery, it needs little foresight to predict that Congress will be beset with applications for such change from regiments now serving as infantry, and claims will be sent forward for equal favors in each of the States. Wherever siege artillery is required, the delegations of the different States will naturally expect and apply for a grant of the same favor to some infantry regiment from their State, and this result would be far from conducive to the discipline of the Army and the good of the service.

There are now numbers of our citizens who, after having volunteered in the infantry, have been found too feeble in constitution to withstand the fatigue and exhaustion of the rapid movements on which the success of our military operations depends. Such soldiers would deem it a great favor to be transferred to the service of heavy artillery, for which they would be well fitted; and their claims for this favorite service appear to be better founded than those of the enlisted men of the infantry regiment designated in the act.

If the purpose of the act be, as it apparently is, to provide for twenty-four companies of artillerists to serve together, the command of these companies would be of sufficient importance to require the appointment of a brigadier general to command them, and it is feared that such special legislation, without apparent necessity for one State, would be made the precedent for similar demands from other States, thus leading to consequences which did not, perhaps, suggest themselves to Congress when the bill received its assent.

3. It is finally suggested, for the consideration of Congress whether some of the provisions of this bill are not equivalent to the exercise of the Executive functions by the legislative department of the Government, and therefore an infringement of the principles of the Constitution which so carefully separate the duties of these different Departments.

Congress has power to "make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces" as well as to "raise armies."

Under these powers Congress could undoubtedly order the raising of regiments of artillery for seacoast defense, and by change of organization direct that a certain number of regiments of infantry be converted into artillery. But such is not the bill under discussion. Congress, in that bill, orders a specified regiment to be employed for seacoast defense.

If this be a legitimate exercise of legislative power, Congress can, of course, select other regiments and order them to the defense of the Indian country, and select again other regiments and order them to be sent to the Tennessee, the Virginia, or the Texan frontier.

Such orders seem to me purely Executive. They have hitherto been made through the Adjutant General of the Army, and it requires but little reflection to perceive that the exercise of such powers by Congress withdraws from the Executive the authority indispensable to the fulfillment of his functions as Commander in Chief.

These reasons have appeared to my mind decisive of the question, and I therefore respectfully return them to the Senate as those which have prevented my approval of the act, which is also herewith returned.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, Va., March 31, 1863.


To the Honorable House of Representatives, Confederate States of America.

I herewith return to the House the act to provide for holding elections for Representatives in the Congress of the Confederate States in the State of Tennessee, with a statement of the objections which have caused me to withhold my approval of the same.

The first clause of the fourth section of the first article of the Constitution authorizes Congress to legislate as to the time, place, and manner of holding elections for Representatives.

I have grave doubts whether this extends to the proposed change from the district to the general ticket system of representation, which seems to me to be rather to change the mode of representation than to alter the manner of holding elections.

The fifth section of the bill is, in my judgment, unconstitutional in this, that it assumes that a citizen may forfeit his right of citizenship by adhering to the enemy, and recognizes the right of a citizen to elect to be a citizen, not of his own State, but of the United States, a foreign nation. This directly repudiates State sovereignty and admits that a citizen's allegiance to his State may be renounced while resident therein.

This section is subject also to the objection that it exercises the power of prescribing the qualifications of voters, which belongs exclusively to the States.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, Va., May 1st, 1863.


PROCLAMATIONS.

By the President of the Confederate States.

A PROCLAMATION.

It is meet that, as a people who acknowledge the supremacy of the living God, we should be ever mindful of our dependence on him; should remember that to him alone can we trust for our deliverance; that to him is due devout thankfulness for signal victories bestowed on us, and that by prayer alone can we hope to secure the continued manifestation of that protecting care which has hitherto shielded us in the midst of trials and danger. In obedience to his precepts, we have from time to time been gathered together with prayers and thanksgiving, and he has been graciously pleased to hear our supplications and to grant abundant exhibitions of his favor to our armies and our people; through many conflicts we have now attained a place among the nations which commands their respect, and to the enemy who encompass us around, and seek our destruction, the Lord of hosts has again taught the lesson of his inspired word, that "the battle is not to the strong, but to whomsoever he willeth to exalt." Again our enemy, with loud boasting of the power of their armed men and mailed ships, threaten us with subjugation and with evil machinations; seek even in our own homes and at our own firesides to pervert menservants and our maidservants into accomplices in their wicked designs. Under these circumstances, it is my privilege to invite you once more to meet together and to prostrate yourselves in humble supplications to Him who has been our constant and never-failing support in the past, and to whose protection and guidance we trust for the future. To this end, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, do issue this, my proclamation, setting apart Friday, the 27th day of March, as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer; and I do invite the people of the said States to repair, on that day, to their usual places of public worship, and to join in prayer to Almighty God that he will continue his merciful protection over our cause, that he will scatter our enemies, set at naught their evil designs, and that he will graciously restore to our beloved country the blessings of peace and security. In faith whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, at the city of Richmond, on the 27th day of February, in the year of our Lord 1863.

Jefferson Davis.

By the President:

J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of State.


By the President of the Confederate States.

A PROCLAMATION.

Letters Patent Revoking Exequatur of George Moore, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Richmond

To All Whom It May Concern: Whereas, George Moore, Esq., Her Britannic Majesty's Consul for the port of Richmond and State of Virginia (duly recognized by the exequatur issued by a former Government, which was, at the time of the issue, the duly authorized agent for that purpose of the State of Virginia), did recently assume to act as consul for a place other than the city of Richmond, and a State other than the State of Virginia, and was, thereupon, on the twentieth day of February last, 1863, requested by the Secretary of State to submit to the Department of State his consular commission, as well as any other authority he may have received to act in behalf of the Government of Her Britannic Majesty, before further correspondence could be held with him as Her Majesty's Consul at the port of Richmond; and whereas, the said George Moore has lately, without acceding to said request, entered into correspondence, as Her Majesty's Consul, with the Secretary of War of these Confederate States, thereby disregarding the legitimate authority of this Government:

These, therefore, are to declare that I do no longer recognize the said George Moore as Her Britannic Majesty's Consul in any part of these Confederate States, nor permit him to exercise or enjoy any of the functions, powers, or privileges allowed to the consuls of Great Britain. And I do wholly revoke and annul any exequatur heretofore given to the said George Moore by the Government which was formerly authorized to grant such exequatur as agent of the State of Virginia, and do declare the said exequatur to be absolutely null and void from this day forward.

In testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to be made patent, and the seal of the Confederate States of America to be herewith affixed.

[SEAL.] Given under my hand this fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three.

Jefferson Davis.

By the President:

J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of State.


By the President of the Confederate States.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas, it is provided by an act of Congress entitled "An Act to further provide for the public defense," approved on the 16th day of April, 1862, and by another act of Congress approved on 27th of September, 1862, entitled "An Act to amend an act entitled 'An Act to provide further for the public defense,' approved

16th of April, 1862," that the President be authorized to call out and place in the military service of the Confederate States for three years, unless the war shall have been sooner ended, all white men who are residents of the Confederate States between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years at the time the call may be made, and who are not at such time legally exempted from military service, or such part thereof as in his judgment may be necessary to the public defense;

And whereas, in my judgment the necessities of the public defense require that every man capable of bearing arms between the ages aforesaid should now be called out to do his duty in the defense of his country, and in driving back the invaders now within the limits of the Confederacy:

Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, do, by virtue of the powers vested in me as aforesaid, call out and place in the military service of the Confederate States all white men residents of said States between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, not legally exempted from military service, and I do hereby order and direct that all persons subject to this call and not now in the military service do, upon being enrolled, forthwith repair to the conscript camps established in the respective States of which they may be residents, under pain of being held and punished as deserters in the event of their failure to obey this call, as provided in said laws. And I do further order and direct that the enrolling officers of the several States proceed at once to enroll all persons embraced within the terms of this proclamation not heretofore enrolled. And I do further order that it shall be lawful for any person embraced within this call to volunteer for service before enrollment, and that persons so volunteering be allowed to select the arm of service and the company which they desire to join, provided such company be deficient in the full number of men allowed by law for its organization.

[SEAL.] Given under my hand and the seal of the Confederate States of America, at the city of Richmond, this fifteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three.

Jefferson Davis.

By the President:

J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of State.


By the President of the Confederate States.

A PROCLAMATION.

Again do I call upon the people of the Confederacy — a people who believe that the Lord reigneth and that his overruling providence ordereth all things — to unite in prayer and humble submission under his chastening hand, and to beseech his favor on our suffering country.

It is meet that when trials and reverses befall us we should seek to take home to our hearts and consciences the lessons which they teach, and profit by the self-examination for which they prepare us. Had not our successes on land and sea made us self-confident and forgetful of our reliance on him; had not love of lucre eaten like a gangrene into the very heart of the land, converting too many among us into worshipers of gain and rendering them unmindful of their duty to their country, to their fellowmen, and to their God — who, then, will presume to complain that we have been chastened or to despair of our just cause and the protection of our Heavenly Father?

Let us rather receive in humble thankfulness the lesson which he has taught in our recent reverses, devoutly acknowledging that to him, and not to our own feeble arms, are due the honor and glory of victory; that from him, in his paternal providence, come the anguish and sufferings of defeat, and that, whether in victory or defeat, our humble supplications are due at his footstool.

Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of these Confederate States, do issue this, my proclamation, setting apart Friday, the twenty-first day of August ensuing, as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer; and I do hereby invite the people of the Confederate States to repair on that day to their respective places of public worship, and to unite in supplication for the favor and protection of that God who has hitherto conducted us safely through all the dangers that environed us.

[SEAL.] In faith whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and the seal of the Confederate States, at Richmond, this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three.

Jefferson Davis.

By the President:

J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of State.


By the President of the Confederate States.

A PROCLAMATION.

The Soldiers of the Confederate States.

After more than two years of warfare scarcely equaled in the number, magnitude, and fearful carnage of its battles, a warfare in which your courage and fortitude have illustrated your country and attracted not only gratitude at home, but admiration abroad, your enemies continue a struggle in which our final triumph must be inevitable. Unduly elated with their recent successes, they imagine that temporary reverses can quell your spirit or shake your determination, and they are now gathering heavy masses for a general invasion in the vain hope that by a desperate effort success may at length be reached.

You know too well, my countrymen, what they mean by success. Their malignant rage aims at nothing less than the extermination of yourselves, your wives, and children. They seek to destroy what they cannot plunder. They purpose as the spoils of victory that your homes shall be partitioned among the wretches whose atrocious cruelties have stamped infamy on their Government. They design to incite servile insurrection and light the fires of incendiarism wherever they can reach your homes, and they debauch the inferior race, hitherto docile and contented, by promising indulgence of the vilest passions as the price of treachery. Conscious of their inability to prevail by legitimate warfare, not daring to make peace lest they should be hurled from their seats of power, the men who now rule in Washington refuse even to confer on the subject of putting an end to outrages which disgrace our age, or to listen to a suggestion for conducting the war according to the usages of civilization.

Fellow-citizens, no alternative is left you but victory or subjugation, slavery, and the utter ruin of yourselves, your families, and your country. The victory is within your reach. You need but stretch forth your hands to grasp it. For this end all that is necessary is that those who are called to the field by every motive that can move the human heart should promptly repair to the post of duty, should stand by their comrades now in front of the foe, and thus so strengthen the armies of the Confederacy as to insure success. The men now absent from their posts would, if present in the field, suffice to create numerical equality between our force and that of the invaders; and when with any approach to such equality have we failed to be victorious? I believe that but few of those absent are actuated by unwillingness to serve their country, but that many have found it difficult to resist the temptation of a visit to their homes and the loved ones from whom they have been so long separated; that others have left for temporary attention to their affairs with the intention of returning, and then have shrunk from the consequence of the violation of duty; that others again have left their posts from mere restlessness and desire of change, each quieting the upbraidings of his conscience by persuading himself that his individual services could have no influence on the general result. These and other causes (although far less disgraceful than the desire to avoid danger or to escape from the sacrifices required by patriotism) are, nevertheless, grievous faults, and place the cause of our beloved country and of everything we hold dear in imminent peril.

I repeat that the men who now owe duty to their country, who have been called out and have not yet reported for duty, or who have absented themselves from their posts are sufficient in number to secure us victory in the struggle now impending. I call on you, then, my countrymen, to hasten to your camps in obedience to the dictates of honor and of duty, and I summon those who have absented themselves without leave, or who have remained absent beyond the period allowed by their furloughs, to repair without delay to their respective commands; and I do hereby declare that I grant a general pardon and amnesty to all officers and men within the Confederacy now absent without leave who shall with the least possible delay return to their proper posts of duty; but no excuse will be received for any delay beyond twenty days after the first publication of this proclamation in the State in which the absentee may be at the date of publication. This amnesty and pardon shall extend to all who have been accused, or who have been convicted and are undergoing sentence for absence without leave or desertion, excepting only those who have been twice convicted of desertion.

Finally, I conjure my countrywomen, the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters of the Confederacy, to use their all-powerful influence in aid of this call, to add one crowning sacrifice to those which their patriotism has so freely and constantly offered on their country's altar, and to take care that none who owe service in the field shall be sheltered at home from the disgrace of having deserted their duty to their families, to their country, and to their God.

[SEAL.] Given under my hand and the seal of the Confederate States, at Richmond, this first day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three.

Jefferson Davis.

By the President:

J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of State.


ADDRESSES.

ADDRESS.

To the People of the Confederate States.

In compliance with the request of Congress, contained in resolutions passed on the 4th day of the current month, I invoke your attention to the present condition and future prospects of our country and to the duties which patriotism imposes on us all during this great struggle for our homes and our liberties. These resolutions are in the following language:

Whereas a strong impression prevails through the country that the war now being waged against the people of the Confederate States may terminate during the present year; and whereas, this impression is leading many patriotic citizens to engage largely in the production of cotton and tobacco, which they would not otherwise do; and whereas, in the opinion of Congress, it is of the utmost importance, not only with a view to the proper subsistence of our armies, but the interest and welfare of all the people, that the agricultural labor of the country should be employed chiefly in the production of a supply of food to meet every contingency: Therefore,

Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That it is the deliberate judgment of Congress that the people of these States, while hoping for peace, should look to prolonged war as the only condition proffered by the enemy short of subjugation; that every preparation necessary to encounter such a war should be persisted in; and that the amplest supply of provisions for armies and people should be the first object of all agriculturists; wherefore, it is earnestly recommended that the people, instead of planting cotton and tobacco, shall direct their agricultural labor mainly to the production of such crops as will insure a sufficiency of food for all classes and for every emergency, thereby with true patriotism subordinating the hope of gain to the certain good of the country.

Sec. 2. That the President is hereby requested to issue a proclamation to the people of these States urging upon them the necessity of guarding against the great perils of a short crop of provisions and setting forth such reasons therefor as his judgment may dictate.

Fully concurring in the views thus expressed by the Congress, I confidently appeal to your love of country for aid in carrying into effect the recommendations of your Senators and Representatives. We have reached the close of the second year of the war, and may point with just pride to the history of our young Confederacy. Alone, unaided, we have met and overthrown the most formidable combination of naval and military armaments that the lust of conquest ever gathered together for the subjugation of a free people. We began this struggle without a single gun afloat, while the resources of our enemy enabled them to gather fleets which, according to their official list published in August last, consisted of 427 vessels, measuring 340,036 tons and carrying 3,268 guns. Yet we have captured, sunk, or destroyed a number of these vessels, including two large frigates and one steam sloop of war, while four of their captured steam gunboats are now in our possession, adding to the strength of our little Navy, which is rapidly gaining in numbers and efficiency. To oppose invading forces composed of levies which have already exceeded 1,300,000 men, we had no resources but the unconquerable valor of a people determined to be free, and we were so destitute of military supplies that tens of thousands of our citizens were reluctantly refused admission into the service from our inability to provide them with arms, while for many months some of our important strongholds owed their safety chiefly to a careful concealment of the fact that we were without a supply of powder for our cannon. Your devotion and patriotism have triumphed over all these obstacles and called into existence the munitions of war, the clothing, and the subsistence which have enabled our soldiers to illustrate their valor on numerous battlefields, and to inflict crushing defeats on successive armies, each of which an arrogant foe fondly imagined to be invincible.

The contrast between our past and present condition is well calculated to inspire full confidence in the triumph of our arms. At no previous period of the war have our forces been so numerous, so well organized, and so thoroughly disciplined, armed, and equipped as at present. The season of high water, on which our enemies relied to enable their fleets of gunboats to penetrate into our country and devastate our homes, is fast passing away; yet our strongholds on the Mississippi still bid defiance to the foe, and months of costly preparations for their reduction have been spent in vain. Disaster has been the result of their every effort to turn or to storm Vicksburg and Port Hudson, as well as of every attack on our batteries on the Red River, the Tallahatchie, and other navigable streams. Within a few weeks the falling waters and the increasing heat of summer will complete their discomfiture and compel their baffled and defeated forces to the abandonment of expeditions on which was based their chief hope of success in effecting our subjugation. We must not forget, however, that the war is not yet ended, and that we are still confronted by powerful armies and threatened by numerous fleets; and that the Government which controls these fleets and armies is driven to the most desperate efforts to effect the unholy purposes in which it has thus far been defeated. It will use its utmost energy to arrest the impending doom, so fully merited by the atrocities it has committed, the savage barbarities which it has encouraged, and the crowning infamy of its attempt to excite a servile population to the massacre of our wives, our daughters, and our helpless children. With such a contest before us there is but one danger which the Government of your choice regards with apprehension, and to avert this danger it appeals to the never-failing patriotism and spirit of self-sacrifice which you have exhibited since the beginning of the war. The very unfavorable season, the protracted droughts of last year, reduced the harvests on which we depended far below an average yield, and the deficiency was unfortunately still more marked in the northern portion of the Confederacy, where supplies were specially needed for the Army. If through a confidence in early peace, which may prove delusive, our fields should be now devoted to the production of cotton and tobacco instead of grain and live stock, and other articles necessary for the subsistence of the people and the Army, the consequences may prove serious, if not disastrous, especially should the present season prove as unfavorable as the last.

Your country, therefore, appeals to you to lay aside all thought of gain, and to devote yourselves to securing your liberties, without which those gains would be valueless. It is true that the wheat harvest in the more southern States, which will be gathered next month, promises an abundant yield; but even if this promise be fulfilled, the difficulty of transportation, enhanced as it has been by an unusually rainy winter, will cause embarrassments in military operations and suffering among the people, should the crops in the middle and northern portions of the Confederacy prove deficient. But no uneasiness need be felt in regard to a mere supply of bread for man. It is for the large amount of corn and forage required for the raising of live stock and for the supply of the animals used in military operations that your aid is specially required. These articles are too bulky for distant transportation, and in them the deficiency in the last harvest was most felt. Let fields be devoted exclusively to the production of corn, oats, beans, peas, potatoes, and other food for man and beast; let corn be sown broadcast for fodder in immediate proximity to railroads, rivers, and canals, and let all your efforts be directed to the prompt supply of these articles in the districts where our armies are operating. You will thus add greatly to their efficiency and furnish the means without which it is impracticable to make those prompt and active movements which have hitherto stricken terror into our enemies and secured our most brilliant triumphs.

Having thus placed before you, my countrymen, the reasons for the call made on you for aid in supplying the wants of the coming year, I add a few words of appeal in behalf of the brave soldiers now confronting your enemies, and to whom your Government is unable to furnish all the comforts they so richly merit. The supply of meat for the Army is deficient. This deficiency is only temporary, for measures have been adopted which will, it is believed, soon enable us to restore the full ration. But that ration is now reduced at times to one-half the usual quantity in some of our armies. It is known that the supply of meat throughout the country is sufficient for the support of all, but the distances are so great, the condition of the roads has been so bad during the five months of winter weather through which we have just passed. and the attempt of groveling speculators to forestall the market and make money out of the lifeblood of our defenders have so much influenced the withdrawal from sale of the surplus in the hands of the producers that the Government has been unable to gather full supplies.

The Secretary of War has prepared a plan, which is appended to this address, by the aid of which, or some similar means to be adopted by yourselves, you can assist the officers of the Government in the purchase of the bacon, the pork, and the beef known to exist in large quantities in different parts of the country.

Even if the surplus be less than is believed, is it not a bitter and humiliating reflection that those who remain at home, secure from hardship and protected from danger, should be in the enjoyment of abundance, and that their slaves also should have a full supply of food, while their sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers are stinted in the rations on which their health and efficiency depend?

Entertaining no fear that you will either misconstrue the motives of this address or fail to respond to the call of patriotism, I have placed the facts fully and frankly before you. Let us all unite in the performance of our duty, each in his sphere, and with concerted, persistent, and well-directed effort there seems little reason to doubt that under the blessing of Him to whom we look for guidance, and who has been to us our shield and our strength, we shall maintain the sovereignty and independence of these Confederate States, and transmit to our posterity the heritage bequeathed to us by our fathers.

Jefferson Davis.

Executive Office, Richmond, April 10, 1863.


ADDRESS.

Headquarters Army of Tennessee,
October 14, 1863.

Soldiers: A grateful country has recognized your arduous service, and rejoiced over your glorious victory on the field of Chickamauga. When your countrymen shall more fully learn the adverse circumstances under which you attacked the enemy — though they cannot be more thankful — they may admire more the gallantry and patriotic devotion which secured your success. Representatives of every State of the Confederacy, your steps have been followed with affectionate solicitude by friends in every portion of the country. Defenders of the heart of our territory, your movements have been the object of intensest anxiety. The hopes of our cause greatly depend upon you, and happy it is that all can securely rely upon your achieving whatever, under the blessing of Providence, human power can effect.

Though you have done much, very much yet remains to be done. Behind you is a people providing for your support and depending on you for protection. Before you is a country devastated by your ruthless invader, where gentle women, feeble age, and helpless infancy have been subjected to outrages without parallel in the warfare of civilized nations. With eager eyes they watch for your coming to their deliverance, and the homeless refugee pines for the hour when your victorious arms shall restore his family to the shelter from which they have been driven. Forced to take up arms to vindicate the political rights, the freedom, equality, and State sovereignty which were the heritage purchased by the blood of your revolutionary sires, you have but the alternative of slavish submission to despotic usurpation, or the independence which vigorous, united, persistent effort will secure. All which fires the manly breast, nerves the patriot, and exalts the hero, is present to stimulate and sustain you.

Nobly have you redeemed the pledges given in the name of freedom to the memory of your ancestors and the rights of your posterity. That you may complete the mission to which you are devoted, will require of you such exertion in the future as you have made in the past — continuance in the patient endurance of toil and danger, and that self-denial which rejects every consideration at variance with the public service as unworthy of the holy cause in which you are engaged.

When the war shall have ended, the highest meed of praise will be due, and probably given, to him who has claimed least for himself in proportion to the service he has rendered, and the bitterest self-reproach which may hereafter haunt the memory of any one will be to him who has allowed selfish aspiration to prevail over a desire for the public good. United as you are in a common destiny, obedience and cordial coöperation are essentially necessary, and there is no higher duty than that which requires each to render to all what is due to their station. He who sows the seeds of discontent and distrust prepares for the harvest of slaughter and defeat. To zeal you have added gallantry; to gallantry, energy; to energy, fortitude. Crown these with harmony, due subordination, and cheerful support of lawful authority, that the measure of your duty may be full.

I fervently hope that the ferocious war, so unjustly waged against our country, may be soon ended, that, with the blessing of peace, you may be restored to your homes and the useful pursuits; and I pray that our Heavenly Father may cover you with the shield of his protection in the hours of battle, and endow you with the virtues which will close your trials in victory complete.

Jefferson Davis.


RESOLUTIONS OF THANKS.

1. Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the bold, intrepid, and gallant conduct of Major General J. Bankhead Magruder, Colonel Thomas Green, Major Leon Smith, and other officers, and of the Texan Rangers and soldiers engaged in the attack on, and victory achieved over, the land and naval forces of the enemy at Galveston, on the first of January, 1863, eminently entitle them to the thanks of Congress and the country.

2. Resolved, That this brilliant achievement, resulting, under the providence of God, in the capture of the war steamer "Harriet Lane" and the defeat and ignominious flight of the hostile fleet from the harbor, the recapture of the city, and the raising of the blockade of the port of Galveston, signally evinces that superior force may be overcome by skillful conception and daring courage.

3. Resolved, That the foregoing resolutions be communicated by the Secretary of War to Major General Magruder, and by him to his command.

Approved February 25, 1863.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are eminently due, and are hereby cordially given, to Brigadier General N. B. Forrest, and the officers and men under his command, for gallantry and successful enterprise during the present war, and especially for the daring and skill exhibited in the capture of Murfreesboro, on the 13th of July last, and in subsequent brilliant achievements.

Approved May 1, 1863.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to General John H. Morgan, and the officers and men of his command, for their varied, heroic, and invaluable services in Tennessee and Kentucky immediately preceding the battles before Murfreesboro, services which have conferred upon their officers fame as enduring as the records of the struggle which they have so brilliantly illustrated.

Approved May 1, 1863.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are eminently due, and are hereby most cordially tendered, to General G. T. Beauregard, and the officers and men of his command, engaged in the affair, for their brilliant and signal defeat of the ironclad fleet of the enemy, in the harbor of Charleston, on the seventh of April, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three.

Resolved, That the President be requested to communicate this resolution to General Beauregard and his command.

Approved May 1, 1863.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to Major Oscar M. Watkins, and the officers and men under his command, for the signal victory achieved over the naval forces of the United States at Sabine Pass, on the twenty-first of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, resulting in the dispersion of the blockading squadron of the enemy, and the capture of two of his gunboats.

Approved May 1, 1863.


Resolved, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to Brigadier General Wheeler, and the officers and men of his command, for their daring and successful attacks upon the enemy's gunboats and transports in the Cumberland River.

Approved May 1, 1863.


The Congress of the Confederate States of America do resolve, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to the officers and soldiers engaged in the defense of Fort McAllister, Georgia, on the first of February and third of March last, for the gallantry and endurance with which they successfully resisted the attacks of the ironclad vessels of the enemy.

Resolved further, That the foregoing resolution be communicated by the Secretary of War to the General commanding the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, and by him to be made known in appropriate general orders to the officers and troops to whom it is addressed.

Approved May 1, 1863.


APPOINTMENT OF VICE PRESIDENT STEPHENS AS MILITARY COMMISSIONER TO UNITED STATES.

TENDER OF SERVICES BY MR. STEPHENS TO MR. DAVIS.

Liberty Hall, Ga., June 12, 1863.

Hon. Jefferson Davis, Richmond, Va.

Dear Sir: I have just seen what purports to be a letter addressed to you by Major General D. Hunter, commanding the Federal forces at Port Royal, S. C., bearing date the 23d of April last. Of the extraordinary character of this paper, its tone, temper, and import, whether genuine or not, it is not my purpose to speak. It may be a forgery.[11] All I know of it is from its publication, as we have it in our newspapers. But it has occurred to me if it be genuine, this, together with other matters of controversy I see likewise in the papers, in relation to the future exchange of certain classes of prisoners of war, may necessarily lead to a further conference with the authorities at Washington upon the whole subject. In that event I wish to say to you briefly, that if you think my services in such a mission would be of any avail in effecting a correct understanding and agreement between the two Governments upon those questions involving such serious consequences, they are at your command.

You will remember while we were at Montgomery, when the first commissioners were sent to Washington with a view to settle and adjust all matters of difference between us and the United States, without a resort to arms, you desired me to be one of those clothed with this high and responsible trust. I then declined, because I saw no prospect of success — did not think, upon a survey of the whole field, that I could effect anything good or useful in any effort I could then make on that line. You will allow me now to say that at this time I think possibly I might be able to do some good not only on the immediate subject in hand, but were I in conference with the authorities at Washington on any point in relation to the conduct of the war, I am not without hopes that indirectly I could now turn attention to a general adjustment upon such basis as might ultimately be acceptable to both parties and stop the further effusion of blood in a contest so irrational, unchristian, and so inconsistent with all recognized American principles.

The undertaking, I know, would be a great one. Its magnitude and responsibility I fully realize. I might signally fail. This I also fully comprehend; but still, be assured, I am not without some hopes of success, and whenever or wherever I see any prospect of the possibility of being useful or of doing good I am prepared for any risk, any hazards, and all responsibilities commensurate with the object. Of course, I entertain but one idea of the basis of final settlement or adjustment; that is, the recognition of the sovereignty of the States and the right of each in its sovereign capacity to determine its own destiny. This principle lies at the foundation of the American system. It was what was achieved in the first war of Independence, and must be vindicated in the second. The full recognition of this principle covers all that is really involved in the present issue. That the Federal Government is yet ripe for such acknowledgment I, by no means, believe, but that the time has come for a proper presentation of the question to the authorities at Washington I do believe — such presentation as can be made only in a diplomatic way. While, therefore, a mission might be dispatched on a minor point, the greater one could possibly, with prudence, discretion, and skill, be opened to view and brought in discussion in a way that would lead eventually to successful results. This would depend upon many circumstances, but no little upon the character and efficiency of the agent. It so occurs to me, and so feeling I have been prompted to address you these lines. My object is, solely, to inform you that I am ready and willing to undertake such a mission with a view to such ulterior ends, if any fit opportunity offers in the present state of our affairs in relation to the exchange of prisoners, or any other matter of controversy growing out of the conduct of the war, and if also you should be of opinion that I could be useful in such position. I am at your service, heart and soul, at any post you may assign me where I see any prospect of aiding, assisting, or advancing the great cause we are engaged in and of securing with its success the blessings of permanent peace, prosperity, and constitutional liberty.

Should the present position of affairs in your opinion be suitable, of which I am not so well informed as you are, and this suggestion so far meet your approval as to cause you to wish to advise further with me on the subject, you have but to let me know; otherwise no reply is necessary, and none will be expected.

With best wishes for you personally and our common country in this day of her trial, I remain yours, etc.,

Alexander H. Stephens.


REPLY OF MR. DAVIS.

Richmond, July 2, 1863.

Hon. Alexander H. Stephens, Richmond, Va.

Sir: Having accepted your patriotic offer to proceed as a military commissioner under flag of truce to Washington, you will receive herewith your letter of authority to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States. The letter is signed by me, as Commander in Chief of the Confederate land and naval forces.

You will perceive from the terms of the letter that it is so worded as to avoid any political difficulties in its reception. Intended exclusively as one of those communications between belligerents which public law recognizes as necessary and proper between hostile forces, care has been taken to give no pretext for refusing to receive it on the ground that it would involve a tacit recognition of the independence of the Confederacy. Your mission is simply one of humanity, and has no political aspect.

If objection is made to receiving your letter on the ground that it is not addressed to Abraham Lincoln as President, instead of Commander in Chief, etc., then you will present the duplicate letter which is addressed to him as President and signed by me as President. To this letter objection may be made on the ground that I am not recognized to be President of the Confederacy. In this event you will decline any further attempt to confer on the subject of your mission, as such conference is admissible only on the footing of perfect equality.

My recent interviews with you have put you so fully in possession of my views that it is scarcely necessary to give you any detailed instructions, even were I at this moment well enough to attempt it. My whole purpose is in one word to place this war on the footing of such as are waged by civilized people in modern times, and to divest it of the savage character which has been impressed on it by our enemies, in spite of all our efforts and protests. War is full enough of unavoidable horrors under all its aspects to justify and even to demand of any Christian rulers who may be unhappily engaged in carrying it on to seek to restrict its calamities and to divest it of all unnecessary severities. You will endeavor to establish the cartel for the exchange of prisoners on such a basis as to avoid the constant difficulties and complaints which arise, and to prevent for the future what we deem the unfair conduct of our enemies in evading the delivery of the prisoners who fall into their hands; in retarding it by sending them on circuitous routes, and by detaining them sometimes for months in camps and prisons; and in persisting in taking captive noncombatants.

Your attention is called also to the unheard-of conduct of Federal officers in driving from their homes entire communities of women and children, as well as of men, whom they find in districts occupied by their troops, for no other reason than because these unfortunates are faithful to the allegiance due to their States, and refuse to take an oath of fidelity to their enemies.

The putting to death of unarmed prisoners has been a ground of just complaint in more than one instance; and the recent execution of officers of our army in Kentucky, for the sole cause that they were engaged in recruiting service in a State which is claimed as still one of the United States, but is also claimed by us as one of the Confederate States, must be repressed by retaliation if not unconditionally abandoned, because it would justify the like execution in every other State of the Confederacy; and the practice is barbarous, uselessly cruel, and can only lead to the slaughter of prisoners on both sides — a result too horrible to be contemplated without making every effort to avoid it.

On these and all kindred subjects you will consider your authority full and ample to make such arrangements as will temper the present cruel character of the contest, and full confidence is placed in your judgment, patriotism, and discretion that, while carrying out the objects of your mission, you will take care that the equal rights of the Confederacy be always preserved.

Very respectfully,

Jefferson Davis.


LETTER OF PRESIDENT DAVIS TO PRESIDENT LINCOLN.

Headquarters, Richmond, July 2, 1863.

Sir: As Commander in Chief of the land and naval forces now waging war against the United States, I have the honor to address this communication to you, as Commander in Chief of their land and naval forces.

Numerous difficulties and disputes have arisen in relation to the execution of the cartel of exchange heretofore agreed on by the belligerents, and the commissioners for the exchange of prisoners have been unable to adjust their differences. Their action on the subject of these differences is delayed and embarrassed by the necessity of referring each subject as it arises to superior authority for decision. I believe that I have just grounds of complaint against the officers and forces under your command for breach of the terms of the cartel, and, being myself ready to execute it at all times in good faith, I am not justified in doubting the existence of the same disposition on your part.

In addition to this matter, I have to complain of the conduct of your officers and troops in many parts of the country, who violate all the rules of war by carrying on hostilities not only against armed foes but against noncombatants, aged men, women, and children; while others not only seize such property as is required for the use of your forces, but destroy all private property within their reach, even agricultural implements; and openly avow the purpose of seeking to subdue the population of the districts where they are operating by the starvation that must result from the destruction of standing crops and agricultural tools.

Still, again, others of your officers in different districts have recently taken the lives of prisoners who fell into their power, and justify their act by asserting a right to treat as spies the military officers and enlisted men under my command, who may penetrate for hostile purposes into States claimed by me to be engaged in the warfare now waged against the United States, and claimed by the latter as having refused to engage in such warfare.

I have heretofore, on different occasions, been forced to make complaint of these outrages, and to ask from you that you should either avow or disclaim having authorized them, and have failed to obtain such answer as the usages of civilized warfare require to be given in such cases.

These usages justify, and indeed require, redress by retaliation as the proper means of repressing such cruelties as are not permitted in warfare between Christian peoples. I have, notwithstanding, refrained from the exercise of such retaliation, because of its obvious tendency to lead to a war of indiscriminate massacre on both sides, which would be a spectacle so shocking to humanity and so disgraceful to the age in which we live and the religion we profess that I cannot contemplate it without a feeling of horror that I am disinclined to doubt you would share.

With the view, then, of making one last solemn attempt to avert such calamities, and to attest my earnest desire to prevent them, if it be possible, I have selected the bearer of this letter, the Hon. Alexander H. Stephens, as a military commissioner to proceed to your headquarters under flag of truce, there to confer and agree on the subjects above mentioned; and I do hereby authorize the said Alexander H. Stephens to arrange and settle all differences and disputes which may have arisen or may arise in the execution of the cartel for exchange of prisoners of war, heretofore agreed on between our respective land and naval forces; also to agree to any just modification that may be found necessary to prevent further misunderstandings as to the terms of said cartel; and finally to enter into such arrangement or understanding about the mode of carrying on hostilities between the belligerents as shall confine the severities of the war within such limits as are rightfully imposed not only by modern civilization but by our common Christianity.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Jefferson Davis,

Commander in Chief of the land and naval forces of the Confederate States.

To Abraham Lincoln,

Commander in Chief of the land and naval forces of the United States.


REPLY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

The request is inadmissible. The customary agents and channels are adequate for all needful military communications and conference between the United States forces and the insurgents.



  1. Originally written "seven;" see page 299.
  2. See page 71.
  3. See page 269.
  4. Of amount required for telegraphic service for six months ending June 30, 1863.
  5. Relating to outrages perpetrated by General Milroy upon people in Northwestern and Valley districts of Virginia; see also page 289.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Page 276.
  7. See page 278.
  8. Relating to the enforcement of the conscript law, etc.
  9. Relating to findings of general court-martial held at Richmond for month of January; and which of the rules and regulations for the government of the Army of the Confederate States, private L. B. Seymour, Company E, 50th N. C. Regiment, was sentenced for desertion to receive thirty-nine lashes on bare back.
  10. Braxton Bragg; see page 211.
  11. Mr. Stephens states that "it was genuine, and of a character not much short of savage."

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).