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

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

Second Congress.

FIRST SESSION.

MET AT RICHMOND, VA., MAY 2, 1864. ADJOURNED JUNE 14, 1864.

MESSAGES.

Richmond, May 2, 1864.

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

You are assembled under circumstances of deep interest to your country, and it is fortunate that, coming as you do newly elected by the people and familiar with the condition of the various localities, you will be the better able to devise measures adapted to meet the wants of the public service without imposing unnecessary burdens on the citizen. The brief period which has elapsed since the last adjournment of Congress has not afforded sufficient opportunity to test the efficacy of the most important laws then enacted, nor have the events occurring in the interval been such as materially to change the state of the country.

The unjust war commenced against us in violation of the rights of the States, and in usurpation of power not delegated to the Government of the United States, is still characterized by the barbarism with which it has heretofore been conducted by the enemy. Aged men, helpless women, and children appeal in vain to the humanity which should be inspired by their condition for immunity from arrest, incarceration, or banishment from their homes. Plunder and devastation of the property of noncombatants, destruction of private dwellings, and even of edifices devoted to the worship of God; expeditions organized for the sole purpose of sacking cities, consigning them to the flames, killing the unarmed inhabitants, and inflicting horrible outrages on women and children, are some of the constantly recurring atrocities of the invader. It cannot reasonably be pretended that such acts conduce to any end which their authors dare avow before the civilized world, and sooner or later Christendom must mete out to them the condemnation which such brutality deserves. The suffering thus ruthlessly inflicted upon the people of the invaded districts has served but to illustrate their patriotism. Entire unanimity and zeal for their country's cause have been preëminently conspicuous among those whose sacrifices have been the greatest. So the Army, which has borne the trials and dangers of the war, which has been subjected to privations and disappointments (tests of manly fortitude far more severe than the brief fatigues and perils of actual combat), has been the center of cheerfulness and hope. From the camp comes the voice of the soldier patriots invoking each who is at home, in the sphere he best may fill, to devote his whole energies to the support of a cause in the success of which their confidence has never faltered. They — the veterans of many a hard-fought field — tender to their country, without limit of time, a service of priceless value to us, one which posterity will hold in grateful remembrance.

In considering the state of the country the reflection is naturally suggested that this is the Third Congress of the Confederate States of America. The Provisional Government was formed, its Congress held four sessions, lived its appointed term, and passed away. The permanent Government was then organized, its different departments established, a Congress elected, which also held four sessions, served its full constitutional term, and expired. You, the Second Congress under the permanent Government, are now assembled at the time and place appointed by law for commencing your session. All these events have passed into history, notwithstanding the threat of our prompt subjugation made three years ago by a people that presume to assert a title to govern States whose separate and independent sovereignty was recognized by treaty with France and Great Britain in the last century, and remained unquestioned for nearly three generations. Yet these very Governments, in disregard of duty and treaty obligations which bind them to recognize as independent Virginia and other Confederate States, persist in countenancing by moral influence, if not in aiding by unfair and partial action, the claim set up by the Executive of a foreign Government to exercise despotic sway over the States thus recognized, and treat the invasion of them by their former limited and special agent as though it were the attempt of a sovereign to suppress a rebellion against lawful authority. Ungenerous advantage has been taken of our present condition, and our rights have been violated, our vessels of war detained in ports to which they had been invited by proclamations of neutrality, and in one instance our flag also insulted where the sacred right of asylum was supposed to be secure; while one of these Governments has contented itself with simply deprecating, by deferential representations, the conduct of our enemy in the constantly recurring instances of his contemptuous disregard of neutral rights and flagrant violations of public law. It may be that foreign governments, like our enemies, have mistaken our desire for peace, unreservedly expressed, for evidence of exhaustion, and have thence inferred the probability of success in the effort to subjugate or exterminate the millions of human beings who, in these States, prefer any fate to submission to their savage assailants. I see no prospect of an early change in the course heretofore pursued by these Governments; but when this delusion shall have been dispelled and when our independence by the valor and fortitude of our people shall have been won against all the hostile influences combined against us, and can no longer be ignored by open foes or professed neutrals, this war will have left with its proud memories a record of many wrongs which it may not misbecome us to forgive, some for which we may not properly forbear from demanding redress. In the meantime it is enough for us to know that every avenue of negotiation is closed against us; that our enemy is making renewed and strenuous efforts for our destruction, and that the sole resource for us, as a people secure in the justice of our cause and holding our liberties to be more precious than all other earthly possessions, is to combine and apply every available element of power for their defense and preservation.

On the subject of the exchange of prisoners I greatly regret to be unable to give you satisfactory information. The Government of the United States, while persisting in failure to execute the terms of the cartel, make occasional deliveries of prisoners, and then suspend action without apparent cause. I confess my inability to comprehend their policy or purpose. The prisoners held by us, in spite of humane care, are perishing from the inevitable effects of imprisonment and the homesickness produced by the hopelessness of release from confinement. The spectacle of their suffering augments our longing desire to relieve from similar trials our own brave men who have spent so many weary months in a cruel and useless imprisonment, endured with heroic constancy. The delivery, after a suspension of some weeks, has just been resumed by the enemy; but as they give no assurance of intent to carry out the cartel, an interruption of the exchange may recur at any moment.

The reports of the Departments, herewith submitted, are referred to for full information in relation to the matters appertaining to each. There are two of them on which I deem it necessary to make special remark. The report of the Secretary of the Treasury states facts justifying the conclusion that the law passed at the last session for the purpose of withdrawing from circulation the large excess of Treasury notes heretofore issued has had the desired effect, and that by the 1st of July the amount in circulation will have been reduced to a sum not exceeding $230,000,000. It is believed to be of primary importance that no further issue of notes should take place, and that the use of the credit of the Government should be restricted to the two other modes provided by Congress — viz., the sale of bonds and the issue of certificates bearing interest for the price of supplies purchased within our limits. The law as it now stands authorizes the issue by the Treasury of new notes to the extent of two-thirds of the amount received under its provisions. The estimate of the amount funded under the law is shown to be $300,000,000, and if two-thirds of this sum be reissued we shall have an addition of $200,000,000 to our circulation, believed to be already ample for the business of the country. The addition of this large sum to the volume of the currency would be attended by disastrous effects and would produce the speedy recurrence of the evils from which the funding law has rescued the country. If our arms are crowned with the success which we have so much reason to hope, we may well expect that this war cannot be prolonged beyond the current year, and nothing would so much retard the beneficent influence of peace on all the interests of our country as the existence of a great mass of currency not redeemable in coin. With our vast resources the circulation, if restricted to its present volume, would be easily manageable, and by gradual absorption in payment of public dues would give place to the precious metals, the only basis of a currency adapted to commerce with foreign countries. In our present circumstances I know of no mode of providing for the public wants which would entail sacrifices so great as a fresh issue of Treasury notes, and I trust that you will concur in the propriety of absolutely forbidding any increase of those now in circulation.

Officers have been appointed and dispatched to the trans-Mississippi States and the necessary measures taken for the execution of the laws enacted to obviate delays in administering the Treasury and other Executive Departments in those States, but sufficient time has not elapsed to ascertain the results.

In relation to the most important of all subjects at the present time, the efficiency of our armies in the field, it is gratifying to assure you that the discipline and instruction of the troops have kept pace with the improvement in material and equipment. We have reason to congratulate ourselves on the results of the legislation on this subject, and on the increased administrative energy in the different bureaus of the War Department, and may not unreasonably indulge anticipations of commensurate success in the ensuing campaign.

The organization of reserves is in progress, and it is hoped they will be valuable in affording local protection without requiring details and detachments from active force.

Among the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary of War, your attention is specially invited to those in which legislation is suggested on the following subjects — viz.:

The tenure of office of the general officers in the Provisional Army, and a proper discrimination in the compensation of the different grades.

The provision required in aid of invalid officers who have resigned in consequence of wounds or sickness contracted while in service.

The amendment of the law which deprives officers in the field of the privilege of purchasing rations, and thus adds to their embarrassment, instead of conferring the benefit intended.

The organization of the general staff of the Army, in relation to which a special message will shortly be addressed to you, containing the reasons which compel me to withhold my approval of a bill passed by your predecessors at too late a period of the session to allow time for returning it for their reconsideration. The necessity for an increase in the allowance now made for the transportation of officers traveling under orders.

The mode of providing officers for the execution of the conscript laws.

The means of securing greater dispatch and more regular administration of justice in examining and disposing of the records of cases reported from the courts-martial and military courts in the Army.

The recent events of the war are highly creditable to our troops, exhibiting energy and vigilance combined with the habitual gallantry which they have taught us to expect on all occasions. We have been cheered by important and valuable successes in Florida, northern Mississippi, western Tennessee and Kentucky, western Louisiana, and eastern North Carolina, reflecting the highest honor on the skill and conduct of our commanders and on the incomparable soldiers whom it is their privilege to lead. A naval attack on Mobile was so successfully repulsed at the outer works that the attempt was abandoned, and the nine months' siege of Charleston has been practically suspended, leaving that noble city and its fortresses imperishable monuments to the skill and fortitude of its defenders. The armies in northern Georgia and in northern Virginia still oppose with unshaken front a formidable barrier to the progress of the invader, and our generals, armies, and people are animated by cheerful confidence.

Let us, then, while resolute in devoting all our energies to securing the realization of the bright auspices which encourage us, not forget that our humble and most grateful thanks are due to Him without whose guidance and protecting care all human efforts are of no avail, and to whose interposition are due the manifold successes with which we have been cheered.

Jefferson Davis.


To the Senate of the Confederate States.

The action of the Senate on the nominations for field officers of the Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, which occurred on the eve of your adjournment at the last session, was not communicated to me till after the adjournment. I was then unable to return the nomination of Colonel Green for your reconsideration (his rejection appearing to have been based on an error), and have kept the whole subject open for further action at the present session,when you could be informed of the facts.

The resolution of the Senate is in the following words:

"Resolved, That the nomination of F. M. Green to be colonel of the Eleventh Mississippi Regiment be rejected for the reason that in the opinion of the Senate W. B. Lowry is the senior and ranking officer."

If the Senate had at the same time suspended its action on the other nominations, there could have been no difficulty in awaiting its present session for a settlement of the legal rights of the officers of this regiment, which cannot be affected by the action of the Executive, or the Senate, or of both combined, inasmuch as they are vested by act of Congress, which has the constitutional power to determine the rules of promotion in the service. But probably not perceiving, in the press of business at the close of the session, what would be the result of its action if carried into effect, the Senate confirmed the nominations of the lieutenant colonel and major, thus subordinating to two of his juniors the senior captain of the regiment, who had been in command of it to the entire satisfaction of his superior for more than nine months, and who had been adjudged to be the senior captain after an examination of the rights of the different claimants for seniority at the War Department.

I was compelled, in order to avoid this result, to decline commissioning either of the field officers confirmed by you, leaving each of the captains in his former rank of captain and leaving Captain Green in command of the regiment, till your attention had been called to the case and full information was placed within your reach.

The law and facts appear to me to admit of but one conclusion, and they are now presented as succinctly as possible.

1st. In this regiment, originally enlisted for twelve months, Captain Lowry was senior to Captain Green.

2d. Under act No. 306 of Provisional Congress (11th December, 1861) Captain Green's company reënlisted for the war, and he was reëlected captain under the provisions of the 4th section, and by the terms of act No. 397, of 15th February, 1862 (which may have been overlooked by the Senate), his commission under this reëlection took date from his former commission, so that he is a captain of the year 1861.

3d. On the 16th April, 1862, the conscript law was passed at the first session of the Permanent Congress, and by its first section all companies whose original term of service was for twelve months were allowed the privilege of reorganizing and electing officers, "who shall be commissioned by the President." But Congress did not extend to the officers thus reëlected the privilege of back date to their commissions, which had been accorded by the Provisional Congress to those who voluntarily reënlisted under the bounty and furlough laws.

Only two companies of the Eleventh Regiment volunteered reënlistment, of which Captain Green's was one, and Captain Franklin's the other. The remaining companies were reënlisted by conscription. Captain Franklin is no longer in the service. Under the laws as they stand on the Statute Book, Captain Green's commission is the only one in the regiment that bears date in 1861. The remaining commissions, being all under the conscript act of 1862, are necessarily subsequent to its passage.

It is due to candor to observe that the conclusion reached by the Senate in its resolution that Captain Lowry was the senior captain is in conformity with a general order issued by the War Department on the 9th July, 1862 (Gen. Orders No. 47, Par. 4), but many complaints having been made against the effects of this order, the whole subject was carefully investigated by me, and that order was modified on the 5th March, 1863, by Gen. Order No. 24, Par. 1. When, therefore, in the following May, the question of seniority between Captains Green and Lowry was presented to me for decision the question of law was no longer open, and nothing remained but to ascertain the facts, which were found to be in accordance with the foregoing narration.

I now respectfully send again to the Senate the nomination of Captain Green, to the office for which it has not been suggested he is incompetent, which he held for many months, and to which, according to my best judgment, he has rights vested in him by the laws. I am confident the Senate would never have consented to prejudice those rights if they had been in full possession of the facts.

Jefferson Davis.

Executive Department, Richmond, 4th May, 1864.

Richmond, Va., May 4, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication[1] from the Secretary of the Navy, and invite your attention to his request for an early consideration of it.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 5, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration two communications from the Secretary of the Treasury, submitting estimates of additional appropriations required for the support of the Government.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 18, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 18, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration a communication from the Attorney General, submitting estimates of additional appropriations required for the support of the Government.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 18, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

Agreeably to the recommendation of the Secretary of State, I hereby nominate P. N. Lynch to be Special Commissioner of the Confederate States to the States of the Church.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, Va., May 19, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a copy of the reports of General Bragg and his subordinate commanders of the battle of Chickamauga.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 20, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 10th inst., I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Postmaster General relative to the steps taken to secure the transmission and delivery of the mails from the post office in this city during the past two weeks.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 20, 1864.

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

The following resolution passed by the House on the 14th instant has been received:

Resolved, That the President be requested to inform the House, if not incompatible with the public interest, whether the reasons given in his special message for suspending the writ of habeas corpus still exist, and what additional reasons now exist to such extent that the public safety requires the continuance of the suspension thereof.

In my opinion the reasons given in the special message transmitted to Congress at its last session, recommending the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, still exist in undiminished force and the present juncture especially requires the continuance of the suspension. The effects of the law for that purpose have been most salutary, and to that law in no inconsiderable degree are we indebted for the increased efficiency of the military preparations which have enabled our gallant armies, under the providence of God, to beat back the vast invading forces which still threaten us.

In my judgment it would be perilous, if not calamitous, to discontinue the suspension while the armies of the enemy are pressing on our brave defenders with persistent effort for their destruction and for the subjugation of our country.

It is a source of gratification to be able to inform you that the mere passage of the law suspending the writ was so effectual in restraining those who were engaged in treasonable practices and in dangerous complicity with our enemies that the instances are very few in which arrests were found necessary.

The effect of the law in preventing the abuse of the writ for the purpose of avoiding military service by men whose plain duty it is to defend their country can hardly be overestimated.

The sensitiveness exhibited in different parts of our country to the legislation on this subject is indicative of the love of freedom which is innate among the people, and which should ever be cherished as the sole guaranty for the preservation of their constitutional liberties. It is not doubted, however, that if those who have expressed dissatisfaction with the law had been in possession of the information which it was my duty to communicate to you, and which may not yet be revealed without injury to the public interest, they would fully have approved the exercise of the power of suspending the writ, which was intrusted to Congress by the Constitution. All trusts impose duties. The power was intrusted expressly with the intent that it should be used when necessary to the public safety in case of invasion. Congress, concurring with me that the exigency had arisen which required the exercise of the power, performed but a plain duty in passing the law, and such will, I doubt not, be the judgment of the people when the facts can be made known without detriment to their interests.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 24th, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In further response to your resolution of the 10th inst., I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Postmaster General relative to the steps taken to secure the transportation and delivery of the mails from the post office in this city during the past two weeks.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 28, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th January last, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a list of those who have been retired from the military service, "in accordance with the provisions of the act for ridding the Army of ignorant, disabled, and incompetent officers."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 28, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of several reports of military operations, together with a copy of a letter from General R. E. Lee, in which he expresses his disapproval of the publication of such reports, and to which I invite your special attention.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 30, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I invite your attention to the accompanying communication from the Secretary of the Navy, and, agreeably to his recommendation, hereby nominate the persons named upon the annexed list to the offices designated in the Provisional Navy. In addition to the annexed list, there are officers of the Navy now on shore duty who are deemed eminently qualified to command afloat, and it is not designed by these nominations to bar their future transfer to the Provisional Navy with their relative rank.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 30, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration communications from the proper officers, submitting estimates of the amounts required to carry out the provisions of the act, approved May 13, 1864, authorizing additional compensation to certain officers and employees in the civil and legislative departments of the Government.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., May 30, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

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

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., June 1, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 3d ultimo, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, stating that "no instructions have been issued to impressing officers and agents in addition to, or different from, those contained in General Order No. 30, bearing date March 4, 1864."

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., June 1, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 25th ult., I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, relative to the tobacco ration authorized to be furnished to the Army.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., June 1, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of several additional reports of military operations. It is suggested that these reports should not be published or used otherwise than for the information of members and Senators of the Confederate States Congress.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., June 1, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of additional reports of military operations in the year 1862.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., June 1st, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 5th ult., I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, relative to the organization and disbanding of the Palmetto Battalion of Light Artillery.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., June 2, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of additional reports of military operations during the year 1863.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., June 4th, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 5th ultimo, I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, conveying the information asked for relative to the organization and disbanding of Company K, of the 27th Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., June 4, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit for your consideration communications from the proper officers, submitting estimates of the amount required to be appropriated, for the period ending Dec. 31, 1864, under the act[2] approved June 2, 1864.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., June 4th, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to your resolution of the 5th ult., I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, relative to the "Holcomb Legion of South Carolina Volunteers" and to "other legionary organizations" in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., June 8, 1864.

To the House of Representatives.

In response to a resolution of the House of Representatives, of January 15, 1864, I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering a copy of the proceedings of the court of inquiry, relative to the capture of New Orleans.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., June 8th, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, covering copies of additional reports of military operations during the year 1863.

It is suggested that these papers are intended to be used for the information of members of Congress, and that their publication at this time is considered unadvisable.

Jefferson Davis.


VETO MESSAGES.

Richmond, May 28, 1864.

To the Senate and House of Representatives.[3]

A bill "to provide and organize a general staff for armies in the field to serve during the war" was passed by your predecessors and submitted for my approval at the close of the last session.

I was unable to approve it, and now desire to state my objections to it, as well as my views on this important subject, in a hope that by a comparison of opinion some measure may be framed equally acceptable to the Legislative and Executive Departments of the Government.

I believe it to be established by the experience of Europe as well as our own that it is impracticable to organize and administer armies with efficiency without the aid of a general staff, permanent in its character, trained in its duties, aspiring to promotion in its own corps, and responsible to the head of the Department. Such a staff should be composed of a small body of officers, whose education, experience, activity, and special adaptation to their duties render them peculiarly competent to perform functions on which an army depends for its capacity to act with vigor. In Europe years of varied education in the schools, the cantonment, and the field fit the staff officer for his position, and a long experience in the lower grades is required before he is deemed competent to duty in a more important sphere. We are forced to make experimental appointments of officers unprepared by any previous training, and who can acquire only in actual service that experience which must serve in place of well-grounded instruction. It is scarcely possible to make this experience supply the defect of previous military education, otherwise than by the organization of the officers into one corps, responsible to one head, who can assign them to positions independent of the movements of general officers, and who, by judiciously varying the field or character of their duties, can give them larger opportunities for instruction and prevent their views being narrowed to the routine and usages of a single commander, himself, perhaps, without military education.

Hope of promotion, founded on their own merit and length of good service, is as necessary to the officers of the general staff as to those of the line, furnishing the best stimulus known to honorable exertion and zealous discharge of duty. This stimulus cannot exist unless the staff be organized into one corps, responsible to one chief, who, thus becoming intimately acquainted with the capacity and merits of each, is able properly to distribute the duties so as to secure the services of the right man in the right place, and to afford to each an opportunity for distinction. If, otherwise, each staff officer becomes dependent upon the particular commander with whom he is serving, no means of comparison exist between the relative merits of the officers. Each looks for promotion to the favor of his general, and rises in grade, not by his own relative merit, but by the patronage of his commander. A gallant and able commander, whose own promotion is exceptionally rapid by reason of his special merits, is thus enabled to lift to higher grades the officers of his staff to whom he has become attached by companionship in the field, although these officers may be far inferior in merit and length of service to others whose duties have connected them with generals less distinguished. Promotion thus becomes with the staff a matter of hazard, dependent not on the merit of the officer himself, but of the general with whom he serves, and heartburnings, jealousy, and discontent are the natural results of so false a system.

Again, if the general staff is not formed into corps, there will not be the "esprit" necessary in all military organizations, and there cannot be the cointelligence among the officers thereof which secures the certain and rapid communication of all information through the different parts of an army. There will also be embarrassment in their tenure of office and assignment to duty, as when a general officer dies or is relieved from his command there remain no duties to be performed by the staff which has been authorized for him especially. However valuable or meritorious the officers may be, they are displaced by the staff chosen by the successor of their commander. Nothing remains but to deprive them of their commissions, without fault of their own, or to keep them in service as supernumeraries, and thus to add to the number of officers already in excess of the wants of the Army.

Again, an organization of a general staff should possess flexibility, so that the proper number and class of staff officers can be sent where needed. If an inflexible rule of assignment be fixed by legislation, some commands will be cumbered with unnecessary officers, while others will be deficient in the number indispensable to perform the necessary duties. Legislation would surely be considered unwise if it allotted by inflexible rule the number of troops to be used in each military department; yet it would be scarcely more objectionable than the assignment of the same specified number of staff officers to each commander, according to his grade, thus applying a general rule to a series of cases each requiring special treatment.

The inspecting duties in an army ought not, in my judgment, to be separated from those of the adjutants. The erroneous impression prevails that an inspecting department, independent of the general staff, is established in most of the armies of Europe. The reverse is the fact, and the duties of inspection are so intimately connected with the other duties of the general staff that they can be properly performed by it alone. The objections to the separation are manifold. In the first place, officers having no other than inspecting duties must frequently be unemployed, even in war, while in peace their duties will occupy but very little time. Next, it is to be observed that where the adjutants and inspectors form one corps the duties of the adjutant make him familiar with the details of the service where reform and discipline are most needed, and thus render him more competent to effective inspection when assigned to that duty than he could be if exclusively employed as inspector. Lastly, the duties of an inspector are such as not to render the officer who performs them acceptable to his brother officers, if his duty be properly performed. It is not to be wondered at that an officer whose duties may not be inappropriately described as those of a detective should, if his duty be rigidly performed, incur somewhat of the odium of an informer; and when these duties constitute the sole service of an officer permanently attached to an army, he must become either so lax in their performance as to render him useless, or his professional pride and self-respect are wounded and his relations with his brother officers unfavorably affected by the distrust and dislike resulting from his official reports. When, however, an assistant adjutant and inspector general is from time to time assigned to the making of necessary inspections at various points, this temporary discharge of an unpleasant duty becomes but an incident in his professional career, and does not affect his relations with his brother officers.

Having stated these as the general principles which in my judgment should govern legislation on the subject, the objections to the bill passed at the last session can be more easily understood, and I proceed to state them briefly:

I. The first section of the bill authorizes a general commanding armies, or a separate army, to assign to duty one of the general officers under his command as chief of staff, one of the brigadier generals under his command as inspector general, and one other brigadier as chief quartermaster, one officer below the rank of brigadier as chief commissary, and one as chief of ordnance.

This power of assignment is given without reference to or consultation with the War Department or the Executive, and might be exercised in contravention of the views and judgment of both. Leaving out of view the question whether it is in accordance with the Constitution to make the commander of an army independent of the Commander in Chief in the discharge of any of the duties of his office, and looking only to the effect of such a system, it plainly creates in this branch of the service as many independent executives as there are generals commanding armies in the field, and thus destroys that unity of design and concert of action which are indispensable elements of success in war. The generals commanding armies would be by this section vested with the right to derange the organization of their commands as settled by the Commander in Chief by removing from their appropriate functions the commanders of corps, divisions, and brigades, whom the Executive had selected and the Senate had approved as specially fitted to lead the troops in battle.

That the general commanding the Army has, under the terms of this section, the right of assigning general officers under his command to the duties of the general staff without reference to the authority of the Executive is plain from the other sections, which declare that the President is to appoint, with the advice of the Senate, the staffs of all general officers other than those who command armies.

Nor does this section restrict the commanding general in relation to the branch of service or the grade of the officers whom he is permitted to assign to commissary and ordnance duties of the general staff. It is only necessary that they be below the rank of brigadier general. The commanding general would have the power, therefore, to assign a captain commissary to be chief of ordnance, or a lieutenant of infantry to be chief commissary, without check or control from the President or Senate, while the President would be without power to appoint subordinates to the officers thus selected by the general of the Army without submitting their nominations for the approval of the Senate. Not only, therefore, is all order of authority introverted by these provisions, but the officers assigned to duty by the commanding generals, not being permanent members of the general staff, would be independent of its chief, and inextricable confusion would necessarily result.

This section, so far from responding to the title of the bill by providing a general staff, in reality breaks up that which now exists, subdivides it into a number of small bodies, irresponsible to the head of the department, and destroys the possibility of any regular, consistent, and intelligent coöperation in the action of our forces, so essential to success. Its effect is to create a staff for generals, not a general staff.

If a contest should arise between the quartermasters general, the commissaries general, or the chiefs of ordnance of Generals A and B, in any district of country for supplies or means of transportation, who is to determine between these rivals, each equal in authority and each dependent on a separate chief? How are the chiefs of those bureaus in Richmond to apportion the supplies in store according to the wants of the different armies without authority to exact from them reports and returns? If it be said that these officers would become temporarily responsible to the heads of departments, how is this responsibility to be enforced if the orders of the general and those of the chief of the department should conflict? If ordnance depots are provided at different points for different commands, how is the officer in charge of these depots to act if ordered by the chief of ordnance of a general in the field to make a different disposal of the stores from that ordered by the head of the department in Richmond?

If such a bill should become a law, in vain would the War Department seek to exact rigid obedience to law or orders from the irresponsible staff created under its provisions. In vain would it seek for the information necessary for its guidance, or attempt to change the relative strength of armies to meet the varying movements of the enemy. The staff officers could be made the ready and safe means of thwarting the Government in its orders for the removal of troops from one command to reënforce threatened positions in another, and could be easily rendered subservient to the natural but dangerous propensity of most commanders to retain all the troops under their own control for the safety of their own commands, without reference to more urgent needs at other points.

It is scarcely necessary to add to these considerations more than a bare allusion to the tendency of such bodies of officers, when dependent for their own promotion on the favor of the special chiefs, to resort to agencies less commendable than the zealous discharge of their legitimate duties for the attainment of their desires.

II. Another very objectionable feature of the bill proposed is its effect on the officers of the general staff other than those who may be selected as the favorites of commanding generals.

Numbers of zealous, meritorious, and valuable officers have made the duties of the general staff objects of special study; have embraced the staff as a branch of the profession in which under existing laws they are entitled to promotion for merit and long service, just as the line officers have a right to promotion in their branch.

This bill deprives the staff officers of this the great incentive to the zealous discharge of duty. It debars them from promotion to the higher grades of their own branch of service, and bestows these prizes of honorable ambition on the officers of the line, who will thus monopolize the promotions to the higher grades, both in the line and staff, to the entire exclusion of the officers of the latter. Few will be willing to remain in the staff under such circumstances. Those who consent to continue will be those least ambitious of promotion, and the whole staff service will be impaired in tone and efficiency.

III. The assignment of general officers to staff duties as provided in the bill would leave many brigades, some divisions, and perhaps some corps without their appropriate commanders, and no provision is made to supply the vacancies thus created. Are their commands to be considered vacant and successors appointed? If so, what is to become of those assigned to staff duty, should the commanding general revoke the assignment? If the contrary, many brigades will be commanded by the officer next in rank to be assigned brigadier, however incompetent such officer may be to command a brigade, and the like would occur as to divisions and corps, in contravention of the policy, well considered and established, that general officers are appointed by selection for merit, and not promoted by seniority. If the commanding general is ordered to another command, is he to take his staff with him, or is he to leave it for service with his successor? In either case, is the whole general staff of each army to be changed at the caprice of the new commander? This must be the effect of the bill, for the power to assign necessarily implies the power to revoke, as it would otherwise be equivalent to a permanent appointment, that could be made only by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

IV. The fourth objection to the bill is that it applies one rigid rule for the number of the general staff, based solely on the rank of the commander and having no reference to the necessities of a command. The staff allowed is excessive in number and rank in many instances and entirely inadequate in others. A law providing a general staff on such a basis as is assumed in this bill cannot, from its very nature, be executed according to its terms. The labor required of the staff connected with a brigade, division, or corps depends on the fact of its being part of an army or a separate command as well as on the number of men; the extent of the country over which operations are to be conducted; the abundance or scarcity of supplies in the district; the existence or absence of railroad, river, or other transportation; the concentration or dispersion of the troops, and the many other circumstances which control military movements in time of war. It is impossible to apply a rigid, unbending rule to such diverse cases. An organization into corps meets all these difficulties by providing for assignment of the proper number of officers to different commands according to the needs of each.

V. The number and rank of aids-de-camp allowed by the bill are believed to be greatly in excess of those allowed by other governments and quite unsuited to the nature of ours. They would rather impede than improve the service. They would encourage love of ostentation and feed a fondness for vain display, which should rather be discouraged than fostered. The experience of this war has demonstrated that the most efficient commanders, those who have most attracted the respect, gratitude, and admiration of their country, have avoided the large retinue of personal staff which this bill would seem to sanction as proper or desirable.

VI. The objection to the enormous increase in the number of officers and expenditure that would result from the passage of such a bill becomes a matter of serious concern when no corresponding increase of efficiency is secured; of still graver importance when the opposite result is to be feared.

According to the bill as passed the staff would embrace an addition of about 400 officers, involving an increased annual expenditure for pay, rations, forage, and allowance amounting to $1,138,728 above the present staff as organized by general orders under existing legislation.

If generals are to be allowed to change the staff of each army to which they may be assigned at their pleasure, it is difficult to calculate the extent to which this abuse would grow, the number of men that would be drawn from useful service to cumber the staff, or the increase of expenditure involved.

Congress will perceive that with objections so radical it was impossible for me to approve the bill passed at the last session, and that the subject was too important to be treated in a hurried message within the last few hours of the close of a Congress. Concurring in the expediency of legislation for the organization of a general staff, I have thought a full exposition of my views on the subject would perhaps conduce to the framing of a measure which would carry into effect the views of the Legislative Department while excluding the provisions which have compelled me to decline approving that devised by your predecessors.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, June 6, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

I regret that a sense of duty compels me to return to the Senate without my signature a joint resolution which originated in your honorable body entitled "Joint resolution in regard to the exemption of editors and employees of newspapers."

The terms of this resolution extend to editors of magazines and periodicals other than newspapers, together with their employees, the same exemption from military service as is now accorded in favor of newspapers.

I see no reason for exempting these citizens from the duty of defending their country which would not apply to all authors, publishers, booksellers, printers, and other persons connected with the publication of books, pamphlets, religious tracts, and other reading matter. At a moment when our lives, our liberty, and our independence are threatened by the utmost power of our enemies, when every citizen capable of bearing arms ought to be found in the ranks, I cannot but deem it impolitic to add to the list of exemptions without the most urgent necessity. Seeing no such necessity, and believing the precedent set by this resolution, if passed, to be productive of evil effect, I am constrained to return it without my approval.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, June 7, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States of America.

A bill which originated in the Senate entitled "An Act to authorize the appointment of additional officers of artillery for ordnance duties" has been presented for my signature, but it contains a provision founded on an error of fact which compels me to return it without approval, that the error may be corrected.

The bill contains the following proviso: "Provided, That acting ordnance officers having been found duly qualified for appointment according to the regulations of the War Department, and being already on duty in the field under the orders, of the Secretary of War, shall have preference of appointment under this act." There are no acting ordnance officers on duty in the field, and I learn on inquiry that the persons so designated are in reality merely employees of the Ordnance Bureau for the performance of ordnance duties in the field in the absence of legislation authorizing the appointment of officers. This proviso, therefore, has the effect, under an error of fact apparent in its terms, of restricting the Executive in the choice of persons to fill the offices created by the bill to a list of employees selected by a chief of bureau, which is plainly not in accordance with the expressed intention of Congress, nor with the terms of the Constitution.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., June 10, 1864.

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

I herewith return to your honorable body, with my objections, a bill which originated in the House entitled "An Act to amend an act entitled an act to impose regulations upon the foreign commerce of the Confederate States to provide for the public defense," approved February 6, 1864.

The principal provisions of the bill are unexceptionable, but one of its clauses requires to be guarded by some restriction or modification in order to prevent serious injury to the public service. For a proper understanding of the subject it is necessary to state certain facts, probably unknown to many members, and which have an important bearing on the policy of the Government.

Prior to the passage of the act of 6th of February, 1864, the Government was without any means of making available the cotton and tobacco in its possession for the purchase abroad and importation of supplies essential to the conduct of the war and the efficiency of the Army, other than two or three steamers belonging to the departments, and such steamers belonging to private owners as could be obtained by contract. The prices charged to the Government were too excessive to be borne, while the profits of the private owners were so great as to enable them by the payment of extravagant wages and rewards to secure (against the possibility of competition on the part of the Government) the choice of the pilots, engineers, and other officers available for the service. The large majority of those engaged in the trade were foreigners who, by the aid of the fortifications and defenses established and maintained in our harbors at the Confederate expense, were thus enabled to accumulate rapid fortunes, while depreciating our currency and exhausting our country of the productions which form its most valuable resources for needful supplies during the war. In the beginning these vessels were by consent of the owners made partially available for public purposes, and a portion of their tonnage was reserved for public use, but always at very extravagant rates. Subsequently, however, even these profits were insufficient to satisfy the demands of some of the traders, and attempts were made to enhance gains by bringing State and Confederate officials into competition for the use of the vessels. The evil effects of the system were so apparent that the act of the 6th of February last was passed by your predecessors, and under its provisions regulations were adopted which were intended to guard the public interest, while still offering to private owners adequate profits to induce a continuance of the trade. For some weeks after the adoption of these regulations strenuous efforts were made by parties interested in the business to induce a relaxation of the regulations. Many of the vessels remained unemployed on the allegation of the owners that the terms imposed by the regulations were so onerous as to render impossible the continuance of the business. The regulations remained unchanged, for I was satisfied, from an examination of the subject, that this complaint was unfounded, and that the withdrawal of the vessels was an experiment by a combination among the owners on the firmness of the Government. The result proved the correctness of the view, for, after various attempts to obtain increased advantages, the vessels resumed their voyages. Their number has been largely increased, the ability to export produce and import supplies on Government account has been developed to a greater extent than had been anticipated, and the credit of the Government has been so improved in foreign markets that the quotations for its loan have rapidly advanced.

It is proper here to observe that among the efforts made to induce a change of the regulations, was a warning given to officers of the Government that the owners of vessels could make better bargains with Governors of States than with the Confederate Government, and that if the regulations were not relaxed in their favor, they would transfer their vessels to the Executives of the several States and thus withdraw them from the operations of the regulations.

Reverting to the terms of the act of 6th of February, 1864, it is to be observed that by the fifth section it was provided that nothing in the act "shall be construed to. prohibit the Confederate States or any of them from exporting any of the articles herein enumerated on their own account." Holding in view this expression of the legislative will, the regulations authorized by the law were formed and are now in force, based substantially on the following policy:

First. That every vessel owned by private persons shall be considered on every voyage as chartered to the Confederate Government for one-half of her tonnage, outward and inward.

Second. That all private owners of cargo exported from the Confederacy shall bring in return supplies equal to one-half of the proceeds of their expected cargo.

Third. That the several States shall remain at liberty to charter the other half of each vessel, and shall be free to carry out or bring back cargo on that half without being subject to the regulations.

It will be perceived that the policy of these regulations places the several States on an equal footing with the Confederate Government so far as is possible, the only difference being that while the Confederacy imposes a forced charter for one-half of the tonnage in its favor, it has no authority to do more for the States than to leave the other half subject to their use by charter obtained by consent of the owners.

When these regulations were accepted by the owners of vessels they amounted in substance to an agreement on their part to charter half of their tonnage to the Confederacy on every voyage at the rates stipulated in the regulations.

Now, the bill which I return to the House makes three provisions:

First. That cargo shipped by the States shall not be subject to the regulations, and to this there can be no objection. It merely reaffirms the law as it stands.

Second. That vessels owned by any State and employed for the exclusive use of the State shall not be subject to the regulations; and to this no objection is made, as it places vessels owned by any State on the same footing as vessels owned by the Confederacy.

Third. That vessels chartered by any State for its exclusive use shall not be subject to the regulations; and this is the provision to which objection is made, because it is liable to a construction which would authorize the States, instead of chartering from the owners of vessels in the trade only that half which remains at their disposal under the regulations, and thus preserving equality with the Confederate Government in this matter, to charter the entire tonnage of the vessels, thus depriving the Confederacy of a resource now at its disposal, and without which very serious embarrassments to the public service would ensue. When it is remembered that the number of private vessels in the service is limited, that the profits of exporting produce are very large, that the temptation to engage in the business will be great, it is easy to perceive how grave might become the consequences of sanctioning a system under which the several States and the Confederate Government would be competitors for contracts with the owners of the vessels engaged in this commerce, and how imminent the risk that the Confederacy would be deprived of this indispensable means of carrying on the war.

I trust, therefore, that the House will concur in the opinion that the words "or chartered" should be stricken out of the closing sentence of the bill, or that a clause should be added providing "that nothing in this law shall be so construed as to affect the rights of the Confederate States under existing regulations to the use of one-half the tonnage of each vessel engaged in the trade, except such as are owned exclusively by a State."

Jefferson Davis.


To the House of Representatives of the Congress of the Confederate States.

I herewith return to you an act to amend an act entitled "An Act to reduce the currency and to authorize a new issue of notes and bonds," approved February 17, 1864, with the objections which induce me to withhold my approval thereof.

Under the provisions of the act of 17 February, 1864, all Treasury notes above the denomination of five dollars not bearing interest, which shall not have been funded east of the Mississippi on 1 April, 1864, and on 1 July west of the Mississippi, are made subject to a tax of 33 1-3 cents on the dollar. Notes of the denomination of one hundred dollars are made subject to a further tax of ten per cent per month until funded ; and all these notes outstanding on 1 January, 1865, are then taxed 100 per cent.

The effect of these provisions east of the Mississippi is to reduce the nominal rate of all the notes one-third after the 1 April, to increase this reduction ten per cent per month on the one hundred dollar notes until 1 November, 1864, at which date they are extinguished, and on 1 January, 1865, to extinguish the other notes.

The amendatory act which it is now proposed to pass grants to certain persons the privilege of funding at par all these notes until 1st January, 1865; and thus in effect gives to them precisely the rights which are taken away from all other citizens by the original act.

The extent of this privilege may be measured by the fact that the one hundred dollar notes outstanding on 1 April were estimated by the Secretary of the Treasury to amount to one hundred and twenty-eight millions. In the hands of persons not embraced by the amendatory act, they have already lost one-third of their nominal value. They continue to lose 10 per cent per month, and finally, on 1 November, such as remain outstanding will cease to have any value. But in the hands of the persons described in the amendatory act they all stand good against the Government for their entire original value.

The persons to whom this privilege is granted are by the terms of the amendatory act disposed into two classes:

1. Loyal citizens or persons belonging to the Confederate States Army within the enemy's lines as prisoners of war.

2. Other loyal persons held as prisoners, who, by reason of the occupation by the enemy of the section of country in which they resided, and the interruption of the postal and telegraphic communication, or other unavoidable cause were prevented from obtaining timely information of the requirements of the said act, or who were so situated in consequence of movements of the enemy or the casualties of war as to be unable to comply with the provisions thereof.

The evidence which the act requires to establish the facts upon which the claim rests is the simple affidavit of the claimant; and it is only in case of his inability to make affidavit that suppletory proof is required. The persons described in this law comprehend the population remaining in several States of the Confederacy and large portions of other States. The only exception is of such as may be unwilling to make oath of loyalty. The law does not even restrict its benefits to loyal citizens, but expressly includes "other persons," and contains no indication of the meaning to be attached to the word "loyal" when applied to persons not citizens of the Confederate States.

It is known that very large amounts of Treasury notes have fallen into the hands of the enemy by the fortunes of war, and one of the results accomplished by your predecessors in affixing short delays for funding was to prevent these notes from becoming available to the plunderers who had robbed our citizens. It is too plain for doubt that our enemies, who have not hesitated in the attempt to defraud the Treasury and the people by means of counterfeited notes, would have little scruple or difficulty in devising means to bring themselves within the terms of the bill under consideration. It is but a moderate calculation to say that at the present moment taxes which have accrued to the Treasury, and on which this bill would take effect, amount to fifty millions of dollars, and this sum would probably be doubled at the end of the period fixed for claiming the benefit of its provisions.

The bill contains no adequate safeguard for the protection of the Treasury. No means are provided for testing the truth of the affidavits on which millions of dollars are to be paid out of the public purse. No commissioner, no court, no officer is directed or even authorized to investigate a claim. The oath of any man who is willing to swear to the requirements of the law is to be conclusive. The outstanding bills for one hundred dollars on the east of the Mississippi must amount to many millions of dollars, and cannot now be funded for more than forty-seven per cent of their nominal value, and such as are not funded by the 1st November next will be extinct. The bill leaves the Treasury at the mercy of dishonest men for this whole amount with less protection than experience has shown to be necessary to guard it against an overcharge in the purchase of ordinary supplies.

It is not doubted that there are many exceptional cases in which the law of February last will operate harshly, and even unjustly. The desire to relieve prisoners of war, as evinced by the passage of this bill, is not only natural but commendable, and I would cheerfully coöperate with Congress in any measures necessary to attain that object, if so guarded as to protect the Treasury from fraudulent claims. In this bill there is an absence of necessary safeguards, and I am therefore unable to give it my approval.

Jefferson Davis.

June 11, 1864. Richmond, Va.


To the Senate of the Confederate States of America.

I return to the Senate, in which it originated, the joint resolution directing "the settlement of the claim of Zedekiah McDaniel and Francis M. Ewing for destroying the Federal gunboat 'Cairo' by means of a torpedo," with the objections which induce me to withhold my approval.

The character of this claim may be thus briefly stated. Z. McDaniel and F. M. Ewing were appointed Acting Masters in the Navy in August, 1862. Their letters of appointment stated that they were "appointed for special service on submarine batteries" and ordered them to report to Flag Officer William F. Lynch, at Jackson, Miss.

Submarine batteries were at that time the subject of device and experiment for river and harbor defenses, and these gentlemen were recommended as well qualified for such service, McDaniel as having been engaged a short time in preparing torpedoes, and Ewing as being enterprising and bold. In accepting their appointments it appears that they did not allege that they had invented or contrived a torpedo, nor were they appointed to use specially any one of the numerous devices, more or less ingenious, which had been suggested and brought to the notice of the Government.

They reported in obedience to orders and entered upon the duty of placing torpedoes in the Yazoo River under the immediate command of Commander Isaac N. Brown, and the gunboat "Cairo" was destroyed on the 14th December, 1862, by a torpedo placed by them in company with others.

In March, 1863, McDaniel and Ewing for the first time apprised the Department that they claimed a reward for their service on the ground that the torpedo which exploded under the "Cairo" was invented by them. The claim was based on the provisions of three acts of Congress: 1st. "An Act recognizing the existence of war between the United States and the Confederate States, and concerning letters of marque, prizes, and prize goods," No. 106, approved 6th May, 1861; 2d. An Act amendatory of the foregoing, No. 170, approved 21st May, 1861; 3d. An Act amendatory of this last-mentioned law, approved 21st April, 1862.

The second section of the act No. 170, above cited, secures to the inventor of "any new kind of armed vessel or floating battery or defense" certain rewards and privileges upon the condition that "he shall deposit a plan of the same, accompanied by suitable explanations or specifications, in the Navy Department, together with an affidavit setting forth that he is the inventor thereof." This deposit and affidavit are prerequisite to any exclusive rights in favor of the inventor, and a reservation is made specially in favor of the Government of the right of using such invention in all cases.

The very basis of the claim of these parties was the originality of their invention. The joint resolution under consideration recites that a board of naval officers have reported that the "Cairo" was destroyed "by means of a torpedo invented and used by them [McDaniel & Ewing] in the Yazoo River in 1862." This is an error, no board of officers of the Navy having even investigated or reported on this point. The description given of the torpedo by Commander Brown is on record, and does not justify the claim of original invention made by these parties. It represents the torpedo to have consisted of two demijohns connected together, filled with gunpowder, and exploded by means of the ordinary friction primer. The letter of Commander Brown further declares that other parties rendered "most material aid in the destruction of this vessel, and are justly entitled to much of the credit of the success."

Independently of this objection to the claim, the legislation above recited seemed to be conclusive against it. The policy of the law plainly provided that inventors should have the exclusive privilege of their inventions and should be entitled to the rewards promised them, only on condition that they should file in the Navy Department such a description of their invention as would enable the Government to render available the right of using the invention which it had reserved for itself. In the present case the Government was deprived of its right to use the alleged invention by the failure of the claimants to give the description or file the proper papers in the Department till May, 1863, or about five months after the destruction of the "Cairo." The high bounty of fifty per centum, the largest, it is believed, ever allowed for a similar service, was granted by Congress according to the act of 21st April, 1862, and it may be reasonably assumed that such extraordinary bounty was partly in consideration for this right expressly reserved to the country.

Upon these grounds and especially upon the important principles to which reference will be subsequently made, the Secretary of the Navy rejected the claim of McDaniel and Ewing, who appealed to the Executive from his decision. The views of the Head of the Navy Department were sustained, and application was then made to Congress, which afforded the claimants a fresh tribunal by directing the Secretary of the Treasury to adjust their claims. The joint resolution directing this reference was passed in February last, and the Secretary made a report to Congress at its present session stating the value of the vessel and armament destroyed, but also stating that no investigation had been made of the merits of the claim or of the originality of the invention. The Naval Board called together at the request of the Secretary of the Treasury performed no other duty than estimating the value, but did not (nor could they under the joint resolution) act as a tribunal for the examination of the other questions involved in the claim.

My objections to the present joint resolution are:

1st. That there is error of fact in its recital that a board of naval officers had reported that the "Cairo" was destroyed "by means of a torpedo invented and used by the memorialists." Not only is it a mistake that such report was made, but it is believed to be very questionable whether the torpedo was an original invention of the memorialists.

2d. The claimants failed to give the Government the consideration which the law requires as a condition of the right to the reward — namely, such a description of the alleged invention as would enable the Government to enjoy freely its reserved rights of using the invention in its own service.

3d. The most serious objection is this, that the service on which this claim is founded was rendered by officers of the Navy specially appointed and paid for this service. They did not make known to the Department when they were appointed that they proposed to use a special torpedo of their own invention, for the use of which they expected a reward. So far as is known to the Government, ail the means, the materials, the expenditures of the torpedo service in the Yazoo River, including the pay and allowances of these claimants, were at the charge of the Government, and the service was performed under the control of a Navy officer of superior rank; nor was the sanction of any officer of the Government asked or given that these claimants should conduct torpedo experiments at public expense, without risk of time, labor, or capital of their own, and with the right to large reward in the event of success.

No public officer charged with a special duty for which he is paid, and the means of performing which are also paid for by the Government, can be allowed to claim a reward for the performance of his duty without evils of the greatest character to the public service.

Large numbers of Army and Navy officers have been employed in torpedo service and submarine defenses. Scarcely one has failed to suggest and essay new devices and combinations, many of which have proved successful. Numerous vessels have been destroyed, but the claim under consideration is the only one that has been presented to the attention of the Government. None of the other officers seem to have imagined that it was not their duty to devote all their mind, talent, and inventive faculties in performing the service to which they were assigned without any other pecuniary reward than the pay and allowances accorded by law to other officers of the same grade.

If the present joint resolution should give sanction to the opposite view of the duty of an officer, it is easy to perceive how injuriously it will affect the service. It is less easy to estimate the amount of the claims on the Treasury that would thus be sanctioned.

If these claimants are to be rewarded for the destruction of the "Cairo," why are they to receive the whole sum allowed by the law? There seems no ground for excluding the others who aided in the enterprise and who, in the language of Commander Brown, rendered most material aid, and are justly entitled to much of the credit of success.

My examination of the legislation leads me to a view of the policy of Congress quite different from that which would be implied by the passage of this joint resolution. The three acts above recited seem to me clearly to indicate a desire to encourage private enterprise and to stimulate the investment of private means in the effort to destroy the armed ships of the enemy by awarding a reward (originally of twenty per centum, afterwards increased to fifty per centum) to private armed vessels and to private individuals operating at their own expense with torpedoes or other devices for the public defense. They do not seem to me to have contemplated offering the same reward to the officers and seamen of the Navy, paid and maintained at public expense, for doing their duty in waging war on the vessels of the enemy on the high seas or in rivers and harbors.

I have deemed this full explanation of the facts and law of the case due to Congress as justifying the refusal to sign what is apparently an unimportant bill for the relief of private claimants, but is in reality the sanction of a principle deemed unsound and pernicious, involving in its consequences injury to the public service and heavy demands on the public Treasury.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, Va., June 11, 1864.


ADDRESS.

Circular.

Hdqrs. District of Indian Territory,
Fort Towson, C. N.,
May 14, 1864.

The following address of His Excellency, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, is hereby published for the information of the people of the Six Confederate Indian Nations.

S. B. Maxey,

Brigadier General Commanding.


Richmond, February 22, 1864.

Israel Folsom,

President of the Grand Council of the Six Confederate Indian Nations,

And Samuel Garland, Choctaw chief; John Jumper, Seminole chief; Samuel Chicote, Creek chief; George Washington, Caddo chief; Winchester Colbert, Governor Chickasaw Nation; Stand Watie, Cherokee chief:

I have received and read with much interest your communication of the 24th of November, 1863, which conveys to me for my information certain resolutions passed by the delegates of the Six Nations, and the executives of the same, in general council assembled.

The welfare of the citizens and soldiers you represent is identical with that of all the Confederate States in the great struggle in which we are now engaged for constitutional rights and independence, and you are regarded by this Government as peculiarly entitled to its fostering care.

I am, therefore, very much concerned to hear that you consider the Confederate Government has failed fully to redeem its pledges made to the Six Nations for supplies and protection. It is consolatory, however, to be assured by you that the attributed failure does not arise from any want of good faith on our part, but from other causes which you have mentioned. And you may rest assured that those officers and agents to whom you allude as having not only neglected their duty, but perverted their authority to the commission of wrong, this Government will hold to rigid responsibility, whenever the proper proof in each case is brought before it.

Your requests as well as your complaints have received my earnest consideration, and I take pleasure in saying that, while it will always gratify me to be able to grant the one, I will ever most respectfully give heed to the other. All treaty stipulations between us shall be sacredly observed and carried into effect to the full extent of my power as President of the Confederate States. The policy of constituting the territory of the Six Nations a separate military department, outside of the control of the commanding general of the department west of the Mississippi, has been thoroughly considered and discussed by the Executive Government here, with your delegates elect.

In pursuance of the result of that discussion I have caused the Indian Territory to be designated as a separate military district, and the Indian troops to be placed under the immediate command of General Cooper, the officer of your choice. It was thought manifestly better for the interest of all concerned that your Territory should be constituted a separate military district, rather than a department, so that the commanding general of the Trans-Mississippi Department may be responsible for the defense and protection of your district, as well as for all others under his charge, and will feel it his duty to aid and protect you with all the promptitude and efficiency that unity in the whole force will confer. This view has been presented to your delegates, and I hope, when fully explained, will meet with your approval.

You will learn from your delegates as well as through this channel that additional brigades in the Territory will be formed as rapidly as the number of regiments will warrant, and brigadiers appointed over them, in the selection of whom your recommendations will be specially regarded. As there are not yet a sufficient number of Indian troops to constitute a division, a major general cannot now be properly appointed; but as soon as there are at least three such brigades, I propose to appoint a major general to command them. In this view, but more especially in view of the public interest, I earnestly urge upon you the policy of making the requisite organization of Indian troops as rapidly as possible. As the law now stands, I have not the power to constitute such courts as you specify, but measures will be taken to secure justice to those claimants you describe, as fully and promptly as is practicable. Arrangements have been made with Major Le Flore to have a certain number of arms delivered on the west side of the Mississippi River for the Indians, and General Smith has been instructed to give every facility for their transportation.

Your last resolution, which instructs your delegates to assure the Confederate States of the unshaken loyalty of the Six Nations represented in the grand council to their treaties with this Government, is highly creditable to them, is what I expected from them, and claims my grateful recognition. The soldiers and people of the Six Nations in treaty and amity with us are regarded by this Government with the same tender care and solicitude as are the soldiers and people of all of the Confederate States.

Our cause is one, and our hearts must be united; we must all put forth our whole energy, cultivate harmony and confidence, practice fortitude, bring forth promptly every available man into the field, and resolve to do, and if need be to die, in defense of our birthright. And with the providence of God to guide and to shield us, victory will perch on our banners and bless us with peace, independence, and prosperity.

Accept my best wishes for health and happiness to yourselves and to the people of the Six Nations, and believe me, very truly, your friend,

Jefferson Davis.


RESOLUTIONS OF THANKS.

The Congress of the Confederate States of America do resolve, That the thanks of Congress are eminently due, and are hereby tendered, to the Thirty-Fourth and Thirty-Eighth Regiments of North Carolina troops, for the promptness and unanimity with which they have reënlisted for the war.

Approved May 17, 1864.


The Congress of the Confederate States of America do resolve, That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to the Texas brigade, composed of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Texas and Third Arkansas Regiments, for their eminently patriotic conduct in reënlisting for the war.

Approved May 17, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress and the country are due, and are tendered, to Major General Robert F. Hoke and Commander James W. Cooke, and the officers and men under their command, for the brilliant victory over the enemy at Plymouth, North Carolina.

Approved May 17, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America,

That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered, to Brigadier General Joseph Finegan, and the officers and men of his command, for the skill and gallantry displayed in achieving the signal victory of Ocean Pond, Florida, on the twentieth of February last.

Approved May 17, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are eminently due, and are hereby tendered, to Brigadier General F. M. Cockrell, and the officers and soldiers composing the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Regiments of Missouri infantry, First, Second, and Third Regiments of Missouri cavalry, the batteries of Bledsoe, Landis, Guibor, Walsh, Dawson, and Barrett, and Woodson's detached company, all in the service of the Confederacy east of the Mississippi River, for the prompt renewal of their pledges of fidelity to the cause of Southern independence for forty years, unless independence and peace, without curtailment of boundaries, shall be sooner secured.

Approved May 23, 1864.


Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of Congress are eminently due, and are hereby cordially tendered, to Major General N. B. Forrest, and the officers and men of his command, for their late brilliant and successful campaign in Mississippi, West Tennessee, and Kentucky — a campaign which has conferred upon its authors fame as enduring as the records of the struggle which they have so brilliantly illustrated.

Approved May 23, 1864.


The Congress of the Confederate States of America do resolve, That the thanks of Congress are eminently due, and are hereby cordially tendered, to the Ninth Regiment of Texas infantry, for their patriotic conduct in reënlisting for the war, and tendering their energies, lives, and honor to the service of the Confederate States till it is ended and our independence achieved.

Approved June 4, 1864.


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 Major General Richard Taylor, and the officers and men of his command, for the brilliant successes obtained by them over the enemy in Louisiana during the past year, and particularly for the victories at Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, on the eighth and ninth of April last, and their subsequent operations against the retreating army of the Federal General Banks, in the valley of the Red River.

Resolved, That the President communicate this resolution to Major General Taylor and the officers and men of his command.

Approved June 10, 1864.




  1. Relative to a fund raised by ladies of South Carolina for the construction of an ironclad gunboat for the defense of that State.
  2. Increasing salary and mileage of Senators and members, and compensation of employees of the Senate and House of Representatives.
  3. Pocket veto.

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