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the first and second times and referred to the Committee on Military Affairs.
Also, a bill providing retaliatory punishment in cases of persons of African descent being found in the ranks of the enemy organized for purposes of war; which was read the first and second times and referred to the Committee on Military Affairs.
Also, a bill to provide retaliatory punishment for the seizure and imprisonment of citizens of the Confederate States by officers, civil or military, of the United States; which was read the first and second times and referred to the same committee.
Also, a notice to change the rules; which was laid over for two days under the rules.
Mr. Curry, from the committee appointed to wait on the President and Senate, reported that the committee had performed their duty, and that the President would communicate with the House in writing.
A communication was received from the President, by his Private Secretary, Mr. Harrison; which is as follows, to wit:
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States:
It is again our fortune to meet for devising measures necessary to the public welfare, whilst our country is involved in a desolating war. The sufferings endured by some portions of the people excite the deep solicitude of the Government, and the sympathy thus evoked has been heightened by the patriotic devotion with which these sufferings have been borne.
The gallantry and good conduct of our troops, always claiming the gratitude of the country, have been further illustrated on hard-fought fields, marked by exhibitions of individual prowess which can find but few parallels in ancient or modern history. Our Army has not faltered in any of the various trials to which it has been subjected; and the great body of the people has continued to manifest a zeal and unanimity which not only cheer the battle-stained soldier, but give assurance to the friends of constitutional liberty of our final triumph in the pending struggle against despotic usurpation.
The vast army which threatened the capital of the Confederacy has been defeated and driven from the lines of investment, and the enemy, repeatedly foiled in his efforts for its capture, is now seeking to raise new armies on a scale such as modern history does not record, to effect that subjugation of the South so often proclaimed as on the eve of accomplishment.
The perfidy which disregarded rights secured by compact, the madness which trampled on obligations made sacred by every consideration of honor, have been intensified by the malignacy engendered by defeat. These passions have changed the character of the hostilities waged by our enemies, who are becoming daily less regardful of the usages of civilized war and the dictates of humanity. Rapine and wanton destruction of private property, war upon noncombatants, murder of captives, bloody threats to avenge the death of an invading soldiery by the slaughter of unarmed citizens, orders of banishment against peaceful farmers engaged in the cultivation of the soil, are some of the means used by our ruthless invaders to enforce the submission of a free people to foreign sway. Confiscation bills, of a character so atrocious as to insure, if executed, the utter ruin of the entire population of these States, are passed by their Congress and approved by their Executive. The moneyed obligations of the Confederate Government are forged by citizens of the United States, and publicly advertised for sale in their cities, with a notoriety which sufficiently attests the knowledge of their Government; and its complicity in the crime is further evinced by the fact that the soldiers of the invading armies are found supplied with large quantities of these forged notes, as a means of despoiling the country people by fraud out of such portions of their property as armed violence may fail to reach. Two, at least, of the generals of the United States are engaged, unchecked by their Government, in exciting servile insurrection and in arming and training slaves for warfare against their masters, citizens of the Confederacy. Another has been found of instincts so brutal as to invite the violence of his soldiery against the women of a captured city. Yet the rebuke of civilized man has failed to evoke from the authorities of the United States one mark of disapprobation of his acts; nor is there any reason to suppose that the conduct of Benjamin F. Butler has failed to secure from his Government the sanction and applause with which it is known to have been greeted by public meetings and portions of the press of the United States. To
inquiries made of the Commander in Chief of the armies of the United States whether the atrocious conduct of some of their military commanders met the sanction of that Government, answer has been evaded on the pretext that the inquiry was insulting; and no method remains for the repression of these enormities but such retributive justice as it may be found possible to execute. Retaliation for many of them in kind is impracticable, for I have had occasion to remark in a former message, that under no excess of provocation could our noble-hearted defenders be driven to wreak vengeance on unarmed men, on women, or on children. But stern and exemplary punishment can and must be meted out to the murderers and felons, who, disgracing the profession of arms, seek to make of public war the occasion for the commission of the most monstrous crime. Deeply as we may regret the character of the contest into which we are about to be forced, we must accept it as an alternative which recent manifestations give us little hope can be avoided.
The exasperation of failure has aroused the worst, passions of our enemies; a large portion of their people, even of their clergymen, now engage in urging an excited populace to the extreme of ferocity; and nothing remains but to vindicate our rights and to maintain our existence by employing against our foe every energy and every resource at our disposal.
I append, for your information, a copy of the papers exhibiting the action of the Government up to the present time for the repression of the outrages committed on our people. Other measures now in progress will be submitted hereafter.
In inviting your attention to the legislation which the necessities of our condition require, those connected with the prosecution of the war command almost undivided attention.
The acts passed at your last session intended to secure the public defense by general enrollment, and to render uniform the rules governing troops in the service, have led to some unexpected criticism that is much to be regretted.
The efficiency of the law has been thus somewhat impaired; though it is not believed that in any of the States the popular mind has witheld its sanction from either the necessity or propriety of your legislation.
It is only by harmonious as well as zealous action that a government as new as ours, ushered into existence on the very eve of a great war, and unprovided with the material for conducting hostilities on so vast a scale, can fulfill its duties. Upon you, who are fully informed of the acts and purposes of the Government, and thoroughly imbued with the feelings and sentiments of the people, must reliance be placed to secure this great object. You can best devise the means for establishing that entire cooperation of the State and Confederate Governments which is essential to the well-being of both at all times, but which is now indispensable to their very existence. And if any legislation shall seem to you appropriate for adjusting differences of opinion, it will be my pleasure, as well as duty, to cooperate in any measure that may be devised for reconciling a just care for the public defense with a proper deference for the most scrupulous susceptibilities of the State authorities.
The report of the Secretary of the Treasury will exhibit in detail the operations of that Department. It will be seen with satisfaction that the credit of the Government securities remains unimpaired, and that this credit is fully justified by the comparatively small amount of accumulated debt, notwithstanding the magnitude of our military operations. The legislation of the last session provided for the purchase of supplies with the bonds of the Government; but the preference of the people for Treasury notes has been so marked that legislation is recommended to authorize an increase in the issue of Treasury notes which the public service seems to require. No grave inconvenience need be apprehended from this increased issue, as the provision of law by which these notes are convertible into 8 per cent bonds forms an efficient and permanent safeguard against any serious depreciation of the currency.
Your attention is also invited to the means proposed by the Secretary for facilitating the preparation of these notes, and for guarding them against forgery. It is due to our people to state that no manufacture of counterfeit notes exists within our limits, and that they are all imported from the Northern States.
The report of the Secretary of War, which is submitted, contains numerous suggestions for the legislation deemed desirable in order to add to the efficiency of the serv ice. I invite your favorable consideration especially to those recommendations which are intended to secure the proper execution of the conscript law, and the consolidation of companies, battalions, and regiments when so reduced in strength as to impair that uniformity of organization which is necessary in the Army, while an undue burthen is imposed on the Treasury. The necessity for some legislation for controlling military transportation on the railroads, and improving their present defective condition, forces itself upon the attention of the Government; and I trust you will be able to devise satisfactory measures for attaining this purpose.
The legislation on the subject of general officers involves the service in some difficulties, which are pointed out by the Secretary, and for which the remedy suggested by him seems appropriate.
In connection with this subject, I am of opinion that prudence dictates some provision for the increase of the Army in the event of emergencies not now anticipated. The very large increase of forces recently called into the field by the President of the United States may render it necessary hereafter to extend the provisions of the conscript law so as to embrace persons between the ages of 35 and 45 years. The vigor and efficiency of our present forces, their condition, and the skill and ability which distinguish their leaders, inspire the belief that no further enrollment will be necessary. But a wise foresight requires that if a necessity should be suddenly developed during the recess of Congress, requiring increased forces for our defense, means should exist for calling such forces into the field, without awaiting the reassembling of the legislative department of the Government.
In the election and appointment of officers for the Provisional Army, it was to be anticipated that mistakes would be made, and incompetent officers of all grades introduced into the service. In the absence of experience, and with no reliable guide for selection, executive appointments, as well as elections, have been sometimes unfortunate. The good of the service, the interests of our country, require that some means be devised for withdrawing the commissions of officers who are incompetent for the duties required by their position; and I trust you will find means for relieving the Army of such officers by some mode more prompt and less wounding to their sensibility than the judgment of a court-martial.
Within a recent period we have effected the object so long desired of an arrangement for the exchange of prisoners; which is now being executed by delivery at the points agreed upon, and which will, it is hoped, speedily restore our brave and unfortunate countrymen to their places in the ranks of the Army from which, by the fortune of war, they have for a time been separated. The details of this arrangement will be communicated to you in a special report when further progress has been made in their execution.
Of other particulars concerning the operations of the War Department you will be informed by the Secretary in his report and the accompanying documents.
The report of the Secretary of the Navy embraces a statement of the operations and present condition of this branch of the public service, both afloat and ashore; the construction and equipment of armed vessels, both at home and abroad; the manufacture of ordnance and ordnance stores, and the establishment of workshops, and the development of our resources of coal and iron. Some legislation seems essential for securing crews for vessels. The difficulties now experienced on this point are fully stated in the Secretary's report, and I invite your attention to providing a remedy. The report of the Postmaster-General discloses the embarrassments which resulted in the postal service from the occupation by the enemy of the Mississippi River and portions of the territory of the different States. The measures taken by the Department for relieving these embarrassments, as far as practicable, are detailed in the report. It is a subject of congratulation that during the ten months which ended on the 31st March last the expenses of the Department were largely decreased, whilst its revenue was augmented, as compared with a corresponding period ending on the 30th June, 1860, when the postal service of these States was conducted under the authority delegated to the United States.
Sufficient time has not yet elapsed to determine whether the measures heretofore devised by Congress will accomplish the end of bringing the expenditures of the Department within the limits of its own revenues by the 1st of March next, as required by the Constitution.
I am happy to inform you that in spite of both blandishments and threats, used in profusion by the agents of the Government of the United States, the Indian nations within the Confederacy have remained firm in their loyalty and steadfast in the observance of their treaty engagements with this Government. Nor has their fidelity been shaken by the fact that, owing to the vacancies in some of the offices of agents and superintendents, delay has occurred in the payments of the annuities and allowances to which they are entitled. I would advise some provision authorizing payments to be made by other officers in the absence of those specially charged by law with this duty.
We have never-ceasing cause to be grateful for the favor with which God has protected our infant Confederacy. And it becomes us reverently to return our thanks, and humbly to ask of his bounteousness that wisdom which is needful for the performance of the high trusts with which we are charged.
RICHMOND, VA., August 18, 1862.
On motion of Mr. Jones, the message and accompanying documents were referred to the Committee of the Whole, and 1,000 copies of the same ordered to be printed.
The Chair laid before the House the report of the Treasurer of the Confederate States, showing the amounts drawn by members during the recess; which was referred to the Committee on Pay and Mileage, without being read.
Also, a communication from the Secretary of State, showing the number, names, and place of residence of all the clerks and employees of that Department, and the amount of pay received by each; which was laid on the table and ordered to be printed.
Mr. Foote offered
A resolution instructing the Committee on Military Affairs to inquire into the expediency of proceeding at once to call forth, by law, from the States, an additional army of 250,000 men;
which was read and laid on the table.
Also, a resolution that the Committee on Ways and Means be instructed to inquire into the expediency of providing by law for the collection of an export duty upon cotton and tobacco of from 15 to 20 per cent ad valorem, and with a view to increasing the fund expected to be raised from other sources for the indemnification of our citizens on account of losses sustained in the pending war; which was read and agreed to.
Mr. Lyons presented the memorial of certain nonconscripts in relation to the conscription law; which was referred to the Committee on Military Affairs, without being read.
Mr. Russell offered the following resolution; which was read and agreed to, to wit:
Resolved, That the Committee on Military Affairs inquire and report whether the cartel recently agreed upon for an exchange of prisoners has been violated by the enemy by administering an oath of allegiance to the United States to certain prisoners and retaining them in the United States; and if so, what measures ought to be adopted by this Government in consequence thereof.
Also, a bill to repress atrocities of the enemy; which was read the first and second times and referred to the Committee on Military Affairs.
Mr. Chambliss offered the following resolution; which was read and agreed to:
Resolved, That the Committee on Military Affairs be instructed to inquire into the propriety of providing by law for the manner of impressing slaves by the military authorities of the Confederate States, and report by bill or otherwise.
On motion of Mr. Wright of Georgia,
The House adjourned until 12 o'clock to-morrow.
SECOND DAY-TUESDAY, AUGUST 19, 1862.
The House met pursuant to adjournment, and was opened with prayer by the Rev. Bishop Early.
Mr. Foote moved that the rules be suspended to take up for consideration his resolution in relation to secret sessions.
The motion was lost.
Mr. Chilton offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That whenever any matter is about to be brought before the House, or at any time during the consideration of a subject, which in the opinion of any member should be discussed and acted on with closed doors, it shall be in order for any member to move for a secret session, which motion shall be immediately disposed of without debate. But it shall not prevail unless a majority of the members present shall vote in favor of it. Whenever a motion shall be made to go into secret session, and it shall be voted down, it shall not again be in order to renew said motion in the same stage of proceedings on the same subject.
The rules were suspended, and the resolution was taken up.
Mr. Foote called for the yeas and nays.
The call being seconded, the yeas and nays were ordered,
Yeas: Ashe, Ayer, Batson, Bell, Boteler, Boyce, Breckinridge, Bridgers, Eli M. Bruce, Chambliss, Chilton, Chrisman, Clark, Clopton, Collier, Cooke, Currin, Curry, Dargan, Davidson, Dupré, Elliott, Farrow, Foote, Foster, Gaither, Gartrell, Goode, Graham, Gray, Hanly, Hilton, Hodge, Holcombe, Holt, Lander, Lyon, Marshall, McLean, McRae, Menees, Miles, Munnerlyn, Pugh, Read, Russell, Sexton, Singleton, Smith of Alabama, Smith of North Carolina, Strickland, Vest, Welsh, Wright of Georgia, Wright of Texas, and Mr. Speaker. Nays: Conrow, Ewing, Harris, Heiskell, Herbert, Johnston, Jones, Kenan of Georgia, Lewis, Lyons, Machen, Perkins, Ralls, Swan, and Trippe.
So the resolution was agreed to.
The Chair laid before the House a message from the President; which is as follows, to wit:
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States:
I herewith transmit for your information the report of the Secretary of the Treasury and accompanying estimates, to which reference was made in my message of yesterday, and invite your careful attention to the statements and recommendations contained in them.
which, together with its accompanying documents, was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and ordered to be printed.
On motion of Mr. Jones, the House went into Committee of the Whole on the message of the President, Mr. Curry being in the chair; and having spent some time therein, on motion of Mr. Heiskell, the committee rose, and through their Chairman reported that they had had under consideration the matter referred to them, and had come to no conclusion thereon.
On motion of Mr. Heiskell, the injunction of secrecy was removed from the proceedings of the House on the passage of the bill further to provide for the public defense.
And on motion of Mr. Chilton,
The House adjourned until 12 o'clock tomorrow.