Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/407

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377
First Congress.

tropical climates, and unprepared for the cold of a northern winter, have been conveyed for imprisonment during the rigors of the present season to the most northern and exposed situation that could be selected by the enemy. There, beyond the reach of comforts, and often even of news from home and family, exposed to the piercing cold of the northern lakes, they are held by men who cannot be ignorant of, even if they do not design, the probable result. How many of our unfortunate friends and comrades, who have passed unscathed through numerous battles, will perish on Johnson's Island, under the cruel trial to which they are subjected, none but the Omniscient can foretell. That they will endure this barbarous treatment with the same stern fortitude that they have ever evinced in their country's service, we cannot doubt. But who can be found to believe the assertion that it is our refusal to execute the cartel, and not the malignity of the foe, which has caused the infliction of such intolerable cruelty on our loved and honored defenders?

TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT.

Regular and punctual communication with the Trans-Mississippi is so obstructed as to render difficult a compliance with much of the legislation vesting authority in the Executive branch of the Government. To supply vacancies in office; to exercise discretion on certain matters connected with the military organizations; to control the distribution of the funds collected from taxation or remitted from the Treasury; to carry on the operations of the Post Office Department, and other like duties, require, under the Constitution and existing laws, the action of the President and Heads of Departments. The necessities of the military service frequently forbid delay, and some legislation is required providing for the exercise of temporary authority until regular action can be had at the seat of government. I would suggest, especially in the Post Office Department, that an assistant be provided for the States beyond the Mississippi, with authority in the Head of that Department to vest in this assistant all such powers now exercised by the Postmaster General as may be requisite for provisional control of the funds of the Department in those States and their application to the payment of mail contractors; for superintendents of the local post offices and the contracts for carrying the mail; for