Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/591

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Second Congress.

It may be further remarked that the power conferred upon the Secretary of War will be ineffectual except in the case where the officer next in rank is qualified to fill the temporary vacancy, a case in which the power would be least necessary in order to provide for the time being a competent commander.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, Va., March 11, 1865.

To the Senate of the Confederate States of America.

The act entitled "An Act to abolish the office of certain quartermasters and assistant quartermasters, commissaries and assistant commissaries, and to provide for the appointment of bonded agents in said departments," which originated in your honorable body, is herewith returned without my approval, and with a statement of the objections which have prevented my signing it.

The act abolishes the office of all quartermasters,, assistant quartermasters, commissaries, and assistant commissaries at posts and depots, and of those engaged in purchasing and impressing supplies, except such as are above the age of forty-five years, or have been disabled in service or declared unfit for duty in the field. It requires those officers to be dropped from service (one-fourth in two months, one-fourth in four months, one-fourth in six months, and one-fourth within two years), and directs that their places be supplied by bonded agents, who are to be persons above the age of forty-five years or disabled in service, or unfit for duty in the field; and it revokes all details and repeals all authority to grant details of persons between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years for duty in the Quartermaster's and Commissary Departments, except skilled artisans and mechanics permanently employed, or persons disabled or unfit for duty in the field.

The object plainly intended by this act is one which meets my hearty concurrence and approval. Its obvious purpose is to strengthen the Army by placing in the ranks persons fit for active service, and whose places can be supplied by others unable to do duty in the field. On reference of the subject, however, to the Secretary of War, it has been found that this act could not be executed without seriously impairing our ability to supply the armies in the field during the approaching campaign, and that its