Confederate States of America. Congress.

Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865 (Volume 4) online

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which was read the tirst and second times and referred to the Com-
mittee on Military Atf'airs.

On motion by Mr. Johnson of Missouri,

The Senate resolved into secret legislative session.

The doors having been opened.

The following message was received from the House of Represent-
atives, by Mr. Dalton:

Mr. Fre.nclerit: The House of Representatives have passed bills of the following
titles; in which they request the concurrence of the Senate:

H. R. 174. An act for the relief of Maj. John Reid, of Missouri; and

H. R. 434. An act to amend an act entitled "An act to diminish the numl)er of
exemptions and details."

And they have passed bills of the Senate of the following titles:

S. 172. An act to extend an act entitled "An act to graduate the pay of general
officers," approved June 10, 1864; 'and

S. 181. An act to amend the law in relation to impressments.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives having signed sundry enrolled bills,
I am directed to bring them to the Senate for the signature of their President.

The residue of the bills received this day from the House of Repre
sentatives for concurrence were severally read the tirst and second
times; and

Ordered^ That the bill numbered 174 be referred to the Conmiittee
on Claims and the bill numbered 434 to the Committee on Military
Atiairs.

Mr. Semmes, from the Committee on Finance, to whom was referred
the bill (H. R. 431) for the relief of the officers and emploj^ees of the
Treasury Note Bureau, reported it with an amendment.

The Senate proceeded, as in Committee of the Whole, to the con-
sideration of the said bill; and the reported amendment having been
agreed to, the bill was reported to the Senate and the amendment was
concurred in.



700 JOUKNAL OF THE [Mar. i:j, lsi;5.

Ordered., That the amendment lie engrossed and the bill read a
third time.

The said bill as amended was read the third time.

Resolved., That it pass with an amendment.

Ordered., That the Secretary request the concurrence of the House
of Representatives in the amendment.

Mr. Caperton, from the committee, reported that they had examined
and found truly enrolled bills and joint resolutions of the following
titles :

S. 199. An act to change the time for the assembling of Congress for
its next regular session;

S. 216. An act to appropriate mone}' to pay the Missouri State
Guard;

S. 217. An act in relation to printing and binding, in pamphlet form,
the acts, resolutions, and treaties adopted at each session of Congress;

S. 222. An act supplemental to an act approved on the -ith daj^ of
March, 1865, entitled "An act to authorize the coumianders of the re-
serves in each State to order general courts-martial and to revise the
proceedings of courts-martial and military courts;"

S. 223. An act for the relief of the Plxchange Bank of Virginia;

S. 35. Joint resolution providing for donations to the Treasur}' of
the Confederate States;

S. 37. floint resolution of thanks to Lieut. Gen. Wade Hampton;

H. K. 307. An act authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to
))orro\v specie, to be appHed to the redemption and reduction of the
currenc}-;

II. K. 324. An act to authorize the appointment of certain tax ofh-
cers for the Trans-Mississippi Department;

H. K. 307. An act to increase th(> military force of the Confederate
States;

H. R. 384. An act for the relief of bonded agriculturists in certain
cases;

H. R. 385. An act making additional appi'opriations for the support
of the Government of the Confederate States of America from Jan-
uary 1 to June 30, 18(55;

H. R. 387. An act to amend an act entitled "An act to establish
and organize two Inireaus in connection with the agency' of the Treas-
ury," etc., approved Fel)ruary 17, 1804, and to provide for the more
efficient organization of the agency of the Treasury for the Trans-
Mississippi Department ;

H. li. 390. An act for the relief of taxpayers in certain cases;

H. R, 394. An act to authorize the President to appoint a conunis-
sioner to take proof as to expenditures made l)v the State of Tennes-
see for the bcnetit of the Confederacy previous to the transfer of her
troops to the Confederate Government;

H. R. 401. An act to amend and extend the provisions of an act
entitled "An act tixing the salaries of certain civil officers in the
Trans-Mississippi Department," approved February 18, 1^05;

H. R. 402. An act to make ruh's concerning captures on land;

H. R. 405. An act to estal)lish certain post routes therein named;

H. R. 400. An act to amend the acts to I'egulate the assessment
and collection of taxes in kind;

H. R. 410. An act to increase (lit^ compensation of tax collectors
and assessors in the cities of Kiclnnoiid and Petersburg;



Mar. r>, l%5.] SENATE. 701

H. K. 423. An act to prevent improper communication of intelli-
gence to the enemy;

H. R. 424. An act for furnishing bagging- and rope for the packing
of tithe cotton; and

H. R. 425. An act to authorize the settlement of the claim of the
State of North Carolina for expenses incurred in executing the acts of
Congress to further provide for the public defense, and to organize
forces to serve during the war.

The President pro tempore having signed the enrolled bills and
enrolled joint resolutions last reported to have been examined, they
were delivered to the Secretary of the Senate and by him forthwith
presented to the President of the Confederate States for his approval.

Mr. Walker, from the Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was
referred the bill (H. R. 341) requiring suit to be brought against per-
sons connected with the Cotton Bureau and Cotton Office in the
Trans-Mississippi Department, reported it without amendment.

The Senate proceeded, as in Committee of the Whole, to the con-
sideration of the said bill; and no amendment being proposed, it was
reported to the Senate.

Ordered^ That it pass to a third reading.

The said bill was read the third time.

Resolved^ That it pass.

Ordered^ That the Secretary inform the House of Representatives
thereof.

Mr. Wigfall, from the Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was
referred the ])ill (S. 225) to amend the tenth section of the act entitled
"An act to organize forces to serve during the war," reported it with-
out amendment.

The Senate proceeded, as in Committee of the Whole, to the consid-
eration of the said bill; and no amendment being proposed, it was
reported to the Senate.

Ordered^ That it be engrossed and read a third time.

The said bill was read the third time.

Resolved^ That it pass, and that the title thereof be as aforesaid.

Ordered^ That the Secretary request the concurrence of the House
of Representatives therein.

On motion by Mr. Semmes,

The vote by which the Senate refused to pass to a third reading
the bill (H. R. 419) to amend an act providing for the establishment
and payment of claims for a certain description of property taken or
informally impressed for the use of the Army, approved 14th tTune,
1864, was reconsidered.

The Senate resumed, as in Committee of the Whole, the considera-
tion of the said bill; and having been amended on the motion of Mr.
Semmes, the bill was reported to the Senate and the amendments were
concurred in.

Ordered^ That the amendments be engrossed and the bill read a third
time.

The said bill as amended was read the third time.

Resolved^ That it pass with amendments.

Ordered^ That the Se(^retary request the concurrence of the House
of Representatives in the amendments.

Mr. Watson, from the Committee on Claims, to whom were referred
the joint resolution (H. R. 35) for the relief of Stephen B. Mar-



702 JOURNAL OF THE [Mar. 13, 1865.

shall, jr., tax collector of Putnam County, Ga., and the joint reso-
lution (H. R. 36) for the relief of William C. Hagan, reported them
severally, without amendment.

The Senate proceeded, as in Committee of the Whole, to the con-
sideration of the said resolutions; and no amendment being proposed,
they were se\ erall}" reported to the Senate.

Ordered^ That the}' pass to a third reading.

The said resolutions were severally read the third time.

Resolved^ That they pass.

Ordei'ed^ That the Secretary inform the House of Representatives
thereof.

Mr, Watson, from the Committee on Claims, to whom was referred
the bill (H. R. 174) for the relief of Maj. John Reid, of Missouri,
reported it without amendment.

The Senate proceeded, as in Committee of the Whole, to the con-
sideration of the said bill: and no amendment being proposed, it was
reported to the Senate.

Ordered^ That it pass to a third reading.

The said bill was read the third time.

Resolved., That it pass.

Ordered., That the Secretary inform the House of Representatives
thereof.

On motion by iNIr. Graham,

The Senate adjourned.

SECRET SESSION.

A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. Dalton:

Mr. Presi'lenl: The House of Representatives have passed a hill (H. K. 426) to
provide for tlie safety of the archives of tlie (iovernnient, and for the assemblin<r of
Congress at any j)lace other than the seat of government; in which they request the
concurrence of the Senate.

The ))ill (H. R. 426) last mentioned was read the first and second
times and considered as in Committee of the AVhole; and no amend-
ment l)eing ])roposed, it was reported to the Senate.

(h'di ve(U That it pass to a third reading.

The said bill was read the third time.

Resolved, That it pass.

Ordered.^ That the Secretary inform the House of Representatives
thereof.

A message from the President of the Confederate States, by Mr.
B. N. Harrison, his Secretary:

Mr. Presidoit: The President of the Confederate States, on the 9th instant, approved
and signed an act (S. 218) to authorize the removal of the Naval School.

(h'dertd. That the Secretary inform the House of Representatives
thereof.

A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. Dalton:

Mr. Pre.'ilcleni: The President of the Confederate States having returned to the
House of Representatives the bill (H. R. S92) entitled "An act to provide transporta-
tion for Senators, Representatives, and Delegates in Congress to their respective places
of residence, and t(j increase, for a limited time, their salaries," with his objections
to the same, the House proceeded to reconsider the bill; and

Resolved, That the bill do not pass, two-thirds of the members present not voting
therefor.



Mar. 13, 1865.] , SENATE. 703

The President of the Confederate States has notified the House of Representatives
that on the *Jth instant lie approved and sijjned an act (H. R. 417) to increase, for
a limited period, the compensation and mileage of Senators, Representatives, and
Delegates in Congress, and the compensation of the officers of both Houses (jf Congress.

The following- message was received from the President of the Con-
federate States, b}'^ Mr. B. N. Harrison, his Secretary:

To the Senate and House of Bepresentatires of the Confederate States of America:

\\'hen informed on Thursday last that it was the intention of Congress to adjourn
sine die on the ensuing Saturdaj', I deemed it my duty to request a postponement of
the uiljdurnment in order that I might submit for your consideration certain matters
of pul)lic interest, which are now laid before you. When that re(iuest was made the
most important measures that had occupied your attention during the session had
not been so far advanceil as to be submitted for Executive action ; and the state of the
country had been so materially affected liy the events of the last four months as to
evince the necessity of further and more energetic legislation than was contemplated
in November last.

Our country is now environed with perils which it is our duty calmly to contem-
l>late. Thus alone can the measures necessary to avert threatened calamities be
wisely devised and efficiently enforced.

Recent military operations of the enemy have been successful in the capture of
some of our seaports, in interrupting some of our lines of communication, and in
devastating large districts of our country. These events have had the natural effect
of encouraging our foes and dispiriting many of our people. The capital of the Con-
federate States is now threatened, and is in greater danger than it has heretofore
been during the war.

The fa(-t is stated, without reserve or concealment, as due to the people whose
servants we are, and in whose courage and constancy entire trust is reposed; as due
to y(ju, in whose wisdom and resolute spirit the people have confided for the adop-
tion of the measures reijuired to guard them from threatened perils.

While stating to you that our country is in danger, I desire also to state my deliberate
conviction that it is within our power to avert the calamities which menace us, and
to secure the triumph of the sacred cause for which so much sacrifice has been made,
so much suffering endured, so many precious lives been lost. This result is to be
oljtained by fortitude, by courage, by constancy in enduring the sacrifices still
needed; in a word, by the prompt and resolute devotion of the whole resources of
men and money in the Confederacy to the achievement of our liberties and inde-
pendence. The measures now required, to be successful, should ))e prompt. Long
deliberation and j)rotracted debate over important measures are not only natural,
Ijut laudable in representative assemblies, under ordinary circumstances; but in
moments of danger, when action becomes urgent, the delay thus caused is itself a
new source of peril. Thus it has unfortunately happened that some of the measures
passed by you in pursuance of the reconunendations contained in my message of
November last, have been so retarded as to lose much of their value, or have, for the
same reason, been aljandoned after being matured, because no longer applicable to
our altered condition; and others have not been brought under examination. In
making these remarks, it is far from my intention toattril)ute the loss of time to any
other cau.«e than tho.se inherent in deliberative assemblies, but only urgently to
recommend prompt action upon the measures now submitted.

We need, for carrying on the war successfully, men and supplies for the Army.
We have both within our country sutJicient to obtain success.

To obtain the supi)iies, it is necessary to protect productive districts and guard our
lines of communication by an increase in the numlier of our forces; and hence it
results, that with a large augmentation in the numlier of men in the Army, the facil-
ity of supplying the troops would be greater than with our present reduced strength.

For the imrchase of the su]>i)lies now required, especially for the armies in Vir-
ginia and North Carolina, the Treasury must be provided with means; and a modifi-
cation in the impressment law is required. It has been ascertained by examination
that we have within our reach a sufficiency of what is most needed for the Army,
without having recourse to the ample provision existing in those i)arts of the Con-
federacy with wliich our comnuinication has been partially interrupted by hostile
operations. But in some districts, from which supplies are to be drawn, the inhabit-
ants being either within the enemy's lines, or in very close proximity, are unable to
make use of Confederate Treasury notes for the purchase of articles of prime neces-
sity, and it is necessary that, to some extent, coin be paid, in order to obtain supplies.
It is therefore recommended that Congress devise the means for making available



704 JOURNAL OF THE [Mar. 13, 1865.

the coin within the Confederacy, for the purpose of supplying the Army. The officers
of the supply departments report that with 12,000,000 in coin, the armies in Vir-
ginia and North Carolina can be amply supplied for the remainder f>f the year;
and the knowledge of this fact should suffice to insure the adoption of the measures
necessary to obtain this moderate sum.

The impressment law, as it now exists, prohibits the public officers from impress-
ing supplies without making payment of the valuation at the time oi impressment.
The limit fixed for the issue of Treasury notes has been nearly reached, and the
Treasury can not always furnish the funds necessary for prompt payment; while the
law for raising revenue, which would have afforded means for diminishing, if not
removing, this difficulty, was unfortunately delayed for several months, and has just
been signed. In this condition of things, it is impossible to supply the Army,
although ample stores may exist in the country, whenever the owners refuse to give
credit to the puVjlic officer. It is necessary that this restriction on the power of
impressment be removed. The power is admitted to be ol)jectionable, liable to
abuse, and unequal in its operations on individuals. Yet all these objections must
yield to absolute necessity. It is also suggested that the system of valuation now
established ought to be radically changed. The legislation requires, in such cases of
impressment, that the market price be paid; l)ut there is really no market price in
many cases, and the valuation is made arbitrarily and in a depreciated currency.
The result is that the most extravagant jirices are fixed, such as no one expects ever
to be paid in coin. None believe that the Govermnent can ever redeem in coin the
obligation to pay $50 a bushel for corn, or $700 a barrel for Hour. It would seem
to be more just and api)ropriate to estimate the supplies impressed at their value in
coin, to give the obligation of the (Tovernnient for the payment of the ])rice in
coin, with reasonable interest, or at the option of the creditor, to return in kind
the wheat or corn impressed, with a reasonable interest, also payable in kind, and
to make the obligations thiis issued receivable for all payments due in coin to the
(Government. AVhatever be the value attached by Congress to these suggestions,
it is hoped that there will be no hesitation in so changing the law as to render it
possible to supply the Army, in case of necessity for the impressment of provisions
for that purpose.

The measure adopted to raise revenue, though liberal in its provisions, being
clearly inadequate to meet the arrear of debt and the current expenditure, some
degree of embarrassment in the management of tlie tinaiu'es must continne to be felt.
It is to l)e regretted, I think, that tin; recommendation of the Secretary of the Treas-
ury, of a tax on agricultiual income, equal to the augmented tax on other incomes,
payable in Treasury notes, was rejected by Congress. This tax would have con-
tril)uted materially to facilitate the |)urchase f)f provisions and diminish the neces-
sity that is now fi'lt for a supply of coin.

The measures passes! l)y Congress during the session for recruiting the Armj' and
supplying the additional force needed for the jiublic defense, have been in my judg-
ment insufficient, and I am imj)elled by a profound conviction of duty, and stimu-
lated by a sense of the perils which surround our country, to urge upon you additional
legislation on this subject.

The bill for employing negroes as soldiers has not yet reached me. though the
printed journals of your proceedings inform me of its passage. ]\Iuch l)enefit is
anticipated from this measure, though far less than would have resulted from its
adojition at an earlier date, so as to afford time for their organization and instruction
during the winter months.

The bill for diminishing the number of exempts has just been made the sultject of
a special message, and its provisions are such as would add no strength to the Army.
The recommendation to abolish all class exemptions has not met your favor, although
still deemed by me a valuable and important measure; and the number of men
exempted by a new clause in the act just passed is believed to be quite equal to that
of those whose exemption is revoked. A law of a few lines, repealing all cla^s exemp-
tions would not only strengthen the forces in the field, but be still more beneficial,
by abating the natural discontent and jealousy created in the Army by the exi.stence
of classes privileged by law to remain in places of safety while their fellow-citizens
are exposed in the trenches and the Held.

The measure most needed, however, at the present time, for affording an effective
increase to our military strength, is a general militia law, such as the Constitution
anthorizes Congress to pass, by granting to it power "to provide for organizing, arm-
ing, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as maybe
employed in the service of the Confederate States;" and the further power "to pro-
vide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Confederate States, suj)-



Mar. 13, 1865.] SENATE. 705

press insurrections, and repel invasions." The necessity for the exercise of this
power can never exist, if not in the circumstances which now surround us.

The security of the States against any encroachment by the Confederate Govern-
ment is amply provided by the Constitution, by "reserving to the States, respectively,
the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia, according
to the discipline prescribed by Congress."

A law is needed to prescribe not only how and of what persons the militia are to
be organized, but to provide the mode of calling them out. If instances be required
to show the necessity for f^ni-h general law, it is sufficient to mention, that in one case
I have been informed by the governor of the State that the law does not permit him
to call the militia from one county for service in another, so that a single brigade of
the enemy could traverse the State, and devastate each county in turn, without any
power on the part of the executive to use the militia for effective defense; while in
another State the executive refused to allow the militia "to be employed in the
service of the Confederate States," in the absence of a law for that purpose.

I have heretofore, in a confidential message to the two House's, stated the facts
W'hich induced me to consider it necessary that the j^rivilege of the writ of habeas
corpus should be suspended. The conviction of the necessity of this measure has
become deeper as the events of the struggle have been developed. Congress has not
concurred with me in opinion. It is my duty to say that the time has arrived when
the suspension of the writ is not simply advisable and expedient, but almost indis-
pensable to the successful conduct of the war. On Congress must rest the responsi-
bility of declining to exercise a power conferred by the Constitution as a means of
public safety, to be used in periods of national peril resulting from foreign invasion.
If our present circumstances are not such as were contemplated when this power was
conferred, I confess myself at a loss to imagine any contingency in which this clause
of the Constitution will not remain a dead letter.

With the prompt adoption of the measures above recommended, and the united
and hearty cooperation of Congress and the people in the execution of the laws
and the defense of the country, we may enter upon the present campaign with cheer-
ful confidence in the result. And who can doubt the continued existence of that
spirit and fortitude in the people, and of that constancy under reverses, which alone
are neetled to render our triumph secure? What other resource remains available
but the undying, unconquerable resolve to be free?

It has become certain, beyond all doubt or question, that we must continue this
struggle to a successful issue, or must make abject and unconditional submission to
such terms as it shall please the conqueror to impose on us, after our surrender. If
a po.ssible doubt could exist, after the conference between our commissioners and
Mr. Lincoln, an recently reported to you, it would be dispelled by a recent occurrence,
of which it is proper that you should be informed.

Congress will remember that in the conference above referred to, our commis-
sioners were informed that the Government of the United States would not enter
into any agreement or treaty whatever with the Confederate States, nor with any
single State; that the only possible mode of obtaining peace was by laying down our
arms, disbanding our forces, and yielding unconditional obedience to the laws of
the United States, including those passed for the confiscation of our property, and
the constitutional amendment for the abolition of slavery. It will further be
remembered that Mr. Lincoln declared that the only terms on which hostilities



Online LibraryConfederate States of America. CongressJournal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865 (Volume 4) → online text (page 89 of 104)