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

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And, on the 14th instant, the President approved and signed the following acts:

S. 172. An act to extend an act entitled "An act to graduate the pay of general
officers," approved June 10, 1.S64;

S. 205. An act to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to issue seven per cent
bonds to certain persons in North Carolina; and

S. 224. An act to limit the issue of forage.

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

Mr. Caperton, from the committee, reported that they had exam-
ined and found truly enrolled bills and joint resolutions of the follow-
ing titles:

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

H. R. 418. An act relative to the impressment of slaves;

H. R. 429. An act making appropriations for the support of the
Government of the Confederate States of America from July 1 to
December 31, 1865, and to supply deficiencies;
c J — VOL J— 04 46



722 JOURNAL OF THE [Mar. 16, 18G5.

H. R. 431. An act for the relief of the officers and employees of the
Treasury Note Bureau:

H. R. 435. An act to establish a certain post route therein named;

H. R. 35. Joint resolution for the relief of Stephen B. Marshall,
jr., tax collector of Putnam Count\, Ga. ; and

H. R. 36. Joint resolution for the relief of William C. Hagan.

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

Mr. Semmes (by leave) introduced

A bill (S. 228) to amend an act entitled "'An act to regulate impress-
ments," approved Mafch 26. 1863, as amended by the act approved
February 16, 1864;

which was read the first and second times and considered as in Com-
mittee of the Whole.

On motion by Mr. Orr, to amend the bill by inserting after '"'impress-
ment," line 8, the words

when the parties from whom sucli property is impressed shall refuse to receive
therefor certificates of indebtedness,

On motion by Mr. Semmes, to amend the proposed amendment by
adding thereto the words

issued imder the authority of the act entitled "An act to reduce the currency and to
authorize a new issue of notes and bonds," approved February seventeenth, eighteen
hundred and sixty-four,

It was determined in the allirmative.

The amendment as amended was then agreed to.

No further amendment being proposed, the ])ill was reported to the
Senate and the amendment was concurred in.

Ordered^ That the bill be (Migrossed and read a third time.

The said bill was read the third time.

Rexolved, That it pass, and that the tith; thereof be as aforesaid.

Ordi-rcd^ That the Secretary request the concurrence of the House
of Representatives therein.

Mr. Wigfall, from the Connnittee on Military Affairs, to whom was"
referred the ])ill (H. R. 412) to authorize the President of the Confed-
erate States to organize, in the city of Richmond and county of Henrico,
a volunteer force for temporary service, repoited it withoutamendnuMit.

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

Ordered^ 'V\vAt it pass to a third reading.

The said bill was read the third time.

Rexoh'ed, I'hat it pass.

Ordered^ That the Secretjiry inforiu the House of Representatives
thereof.

The Senate proceeded lo consider the resolution of the House of
Representatives (ixing a time foi- the adjournment of the present ses-
sion of Congress; and

On the question.

^^'ill the S(Muite agree to the resolution^

Jt was determined in tlie ncjrative, - xt^*^'^ " i ,»

* ' \ Nays - 10



Mar. 16, 1865.] SENATE. 723

On motion by Mr. Wigfall,

The yeas and nays being desired by one-fifth of the Senatoi-s present.

Those who voted in the affirmative are,

Messrs. Barnwell, Graham, JNlaxwcll, Orr,an(l Scmnies.

Those who voted in the negative are,

Messrs. Brown, Burnett, Caperton, Henry. Hunter, Johnson of
Missouri, Simms. Vest, Watson, and Wigfall.

So the resolution was rejected.

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

On motion by Mr. Brown, to reconsider the vote by which the Sen-
ate refused to pass the bill (H. R. 441) to suspend the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus.

It was determined in the affirmative, \^ «

On motion by Mr. Orr,

The yeas and na3's being desired by one-fifth of the Senators present.

Those who voted in the affirmativ^e are,

Messrs. Brown, Burnett, Henry, Hunter, Johnson of Missouri, Max-
well, Simms, and Vest.

Those who voted in the negative are,

Messrs. Barnwell, Caperton, Graham, Orr, Semmes, Watson, and
Wigfall.

On motion by Mr. Brown, to reconsider the vote b}^ which the l)ill
was ordered to a third reading,

. ( Yeas 7

Itwas determined in the negative, J Tyr , q

On motion b}^ Mr. Orr,

The yeas and na3"s being desired by one-fifth of the Senators present,

Those who voted in the affirmative are,

Messrs. Brown, Burnett, Henry, Johnson of Missouri, Maxwell,
Simms, and Vest.

Those who voted in the negative are,

Messrs. Barnwell, Caperton, Graham, Hunter, Oldham, Orr, Semmes,
Watson, and Wigfall.

On the question.

Shall the bill now pass?

It was determined in the negative, \-^^, '^. ^ /^

On motion by Mr. Orr,

The yeas and nays being desired by one-fifth of the Senators present,

Those who voted in the affirmative are,

Messrs. Burnett. Henry, Johnson of Missouri, Maxwell, Simms, and
Vest.

Those who voted in the negative are,

Messrs. Barnwell, Brown, Caperton, Graham, Hunter, Oldham, Orr,
Semmes, Watson, and ^^'igfall.

So it was

Resolved^ That this bill do not pass.

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

On motion by Mr. Orr, to reconsider the vote on rejecting the reso-



724 JOURNAL OF THE [Mar. 16, 1865.

lution of the House of Representatives tixing a time for the adjourn-
ment of the present session of Congress,

It was determined in the negative, j xt„ ^r ■ S

On motion by Mr. Wigfall,

The yeas and nays being desired by one-lifth of the Senators present,

Those who voted in the affirmative are,

Messrs. Barnwell, Brown, Graham, Maxwell, Oldham, Orr, Semmes,
and Watson.

Those who voted in the negative are,

Messrs. Burnett, Caperton, Henry, Hunter, Johnson of Missouri,
Simms, Vest, and Wigfall.

On motion by Mr. Orr,

The Senate resolved into executive session.

The doors having been opened.

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

}fr. Frcndenl: The President of the Confederate States has notified the House of
Representatives that on the 13th instant he apjiroved and signed the following acts:

H. R. 307. An act authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to borrow specie, to be
appheil to the redemption and reduction of the currency;

H. R. 324. An act to authorize the appointment of certain tax oflBcers for the
Trans-]\Iississippi Department;

H. R. 367. An act to increase the 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 appropriations for the support of the Govern-
ment of the Confederate States of America from January 1 to June 30, 1865.

H. R. 387. An act to amend an act entitled "An act to establish and organize two
bureaus in connection with the agency of the Treasury," etc., approved February
17, 1864, and to provide for the more ethcient (rrganization of the agency of the
Treasury for the Trans-Mississippi I)ei>artinent;

H. R.'390. An act for the relief of tax])ayers in certain cases;

H. R. 394. An act to authorize the I'resident to appoint a commissioner to take
proof as to expenditures made by the State of Tennessee for the benefit of the Con-
federacy previous to the transfer of her troops to the Confederate Govertmient;

II. R. 401. An act to amend and extend the provisions of an act entitled "An act
fixing the salaries of certain civil officers in the Trans-Mississippi Department,"
approved February 18, 1865;

H. R. 402. An act to make rules concerning captures on land;

II. R. 405. An act to establish certain post routes therein named;

H. R. 406. An act to amend the acts to regulate the assessment and collection of
taxes in kind;

H. R. 416. An act to increase the compensation of tax collectors and assessors in
the cities of Richmond and Petersburg;

H. R. 423. Anacttoprevent improper communication of intelligence to the enemy;

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

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

And that on the 14th instant he approved and signed the following acts and joint
resolutions:

II. R. 413. An act to amend the sequestration laws;

H. R. 414. An act making an additional appro])riation for the redemption of a
temporary loan, made in the year 1861, of sundry banks in the Confedcratt- States, to
supply funds to the Treasury;

11. R. 428. An act to authorize tlu' Postmaster-! ieneral to purchase ITnitetl States
jiostage stamps for certain purposes;

II. R. 30. Joint resolution expressing the sense of Congress on the subject of the
late peace commission; and

II. R. 31. Joint resolution respecting a census.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives having signed sundry enrolled bills,
I am direited to l)ring them to the Senate for the signature of their President.



Mar. 16, 1865.] SENATE. 725

Mr. Caperton, from the committee, reported that thej had exauiined
and found truly enrolled bills and a joint resolution of the following-
titles:

H. R. 341. An act requiring suit to be brought against persons
connected with the Cotton Bureau and Cotton Office in the Trans-
Mississippi Department ;

H. R. 419. An act to amend an act providing- for the establishment
and payment of claims for a certain description of propert}" taken or
informallj^ impressed for the use of the Army, approved 14th June,
1864;

H. R. 434. An act to amend an act entitled "An act to diminish the
number of exemptions and details; " and

H. R. 37. Joint resolution of thanks to, and for the relief of, Maj.
Gaspar Tochman, formerly of the Polish army.

The President pro tempore having signed the enrolled bills and
enrolled joint resolution last reported to have been examined, they
were delivered to the Secretar}- of the Senate and b}^ him forthwith
presented to the President of the Confederate States for his approval.

A message from the House of Representatives, b}^ Mr. Dalton:

Mr. President: The House of Representatives have passed the bill of the Senate
(S. 204) to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to receive specie from the several
States of the Confederacy and use the same for the beneiit of said States, with amend-
ments; in which they request the concurrence of the Senate.

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

Mr. Orr submitted the following resolution for consideration:

Resolred {the HoKi^e of Represeniatires concurring) , That the President of the Senate
and the Speaker of the House of Representatives adjourn their respective Houses,
sine die, on Saturday, the eighteenth day of March, instant, at twelve o'clock meridian.

The Senate proceeded to consider the said resolution; and

On the question,

Will the Senate agree to the resolution'^

It was determined in the affirmative, 1x7'"' 5

' I JSays 7

On motion b}^ Mr. Wigfall,

The yeas and nays being desired by one-tif th of the Senator's present,

Those who voted in the affirmative are,

Messrs. Barnwell, Brown, Henr}^, Maxwell, Oldham, Orr, Semmes,
and Watson.

Those who voted in the negative are,

Messrs. Burnett, Caperton, Hunter, Johnson of Missouri, Simms.
Vest, and Wigfall.

So the resolution was agreed to.

Oi'dei'ed^ That the Secretaiy request the concurrence of the House
of Representatives therein.

The Senate proceeded to consider the amendments of the House of
Representatives to the bill (S. 'J()4) to authorize the Secretar}^ of the
Treasury to receive specie from the several States of the Confederacy
and use the same for the benefit of said States; and

Resolved^ That they concur therein.

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

On motion by Mr. Orr,

Ordered^ That the Senate take a recess until 8 o'clock p. m.



726 JOURNAL OF THE [Mar. 16, 1865.

8 o'clock r. M.

A message from the House of Re{)reseiitutives, hv Mr. Lamar, their
Clerk:

Mr. President: The House <>f Representatives have passed the resolution of the
Senate fixing Saturday, the 18tli <hiy of INlarcl), instant, at 12 o'clock m., as the time
for the ailjourniiient of the j)resent session of Congress.

On motion ])y Mr. Maxwell,
The Senate adjourned.

SECRET SESSION.

Mr. Semmes, from the Committee on Finance, to whom was referred
the bill (H. K. 438) to raise coin for the purpose of furnishing neces
sary supplies for the Army, icported it with amendments.

The Senate proceeded, as in Connuittf^e of the Whole, to the consid-
eration of the said bill; and the reported amendments having been
agreed to, the ))ill was reported to the Senate and the amendments were
concurred in.

(h'dered^ That the amendments l)e engrossed and the bill read a
third time.

The said bill as amended was read the third time.

Re^^oired^ That it pass with amendments.

Oi'dend^ 'Wwt the Secretary reqiu^st the concurrence of the House
of Representatives in the amendments.

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

Mr. JWs^idnit: The House of Representatives have agreed to tlie amenchnents of the
Senate to the bill (H. R. 438) to raise coin for the ])Urpose of furnishing necessary
supplies for the Army, with an amendment; in which they request the concurrence
of the Senate.

The President of the Confederate States has notified the House of Representatives
that on the 14th instant he ajiproved and signed an act (H. R. 426) to provide for
the safety of the archives of the (Joverninent, and for the assembhng of Congress at
any place other than the seat of government.

The Senate proceeded to consider the amendmeut of the House of
Representatives to the amendments of the Senate to the bill (H. R. 438)
to raise coin for the purpose of furnishing necessary sujijilies for the
Arm}^; and

Besolved,, That they concur therein.

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

Mr. Orr, from the select committee to whom was referred that
portion of the mes.sage of the President of the Confederate States of
the i3th instant relating to the action of Congress during the present
session, submitted the following report:

The select committee to whom was referred so much of the President's message
of the 13th instant as relates to the action of Congress during the i)re.sent session,
having duly considered the same, respectfully submit the following rei)ort:

The attention of Congress is called by the President to the fact, that for carrying
on the war successfully, there is urgent need of men and supplies for the Army.

The measures ])assed by Congre.«s duiing the present session, for recruiting the
Army, are considered by the President inefficient; and it is said that the re.>Jult.s of
the law authorizing the employment of slaves as soldiers will be less than anticipated,
ill cons('(|uencc of the dilatory action of Congress in adopting the measure. That
a law so radical in its character, so repugnant to the prejudices of our pt-ople, and so
intimately affect iuir the organism of society, should em'ounter opposition and receive
a tardy sanction, ought not to excite surprise, but if the j)oli«'y and necessity of the
measure had been seriously urged on Congress by an Executive message, legislative



Mar. 16, 1865.] SENATE. 727

a(;tion might have been quickened. The President, in no official communication to
Congress, ha.s recommended the passage of a law putting slaves into the Army as
soldiers, and the message under consideration is the first official information that
such a law would meet his approval. The Executive message transmitted to Con-
gress on the 7th of November last suggests the propriet}- of enlarging the sphere of
employment of the negro as a laborer, and for this purpose recommends that the
absolute title to slaves be acquired by impressment, and as an incentive to the faith-
ful discharge of duty, that the slaves thus acquired I)e liberated, with the permission
of the States from which they were drawn. In this connection the following
language is used: "If this policy should recommend itself to the judgment of Con-
gress, it is suggested that, in addition to the duties heretofore performed by the slave,
he might be advantageously employed as pionee?- and engineer laborer; and in that
event that the number should be augmented to 40,(W. Bei/ond this limit and these
eiiiploi/rnerits it does not seem to me desirable, under existing cirrumstances, to go." In
the same message the President further remarks: "The subject is to be viewed
by us, therefore, solely in the light of policy and our social economy. When so
regarded 1 must dissent from those irho adrise a general leri/ and arming of the slaves for the
dutg of soldiers." It is manifest that the President in November last did not consider
that the contingency had then arisen which would justify a resort to the extraordi-
nary policy of arming our slaves. Indeed, no other inference can be deduced from
the language used by him, for he says: "These considerations, however, are rather
applicable totlte improbable contingency of our 'need of resorting to this element of resistance
than to our present conditMm." The Secretary of War, in his report, under date of
Noveml)er 8, seemed to concur in the opinion of the President, when he said: "While
it is encouraging to know this resource for further and future efforts is at our com-
mand, //(// own. jiidgnient does not get either perceire the necessity or approve the policy of
employing shires in the higher duties of soldiers."

At what period of the session the President or Secretary of War considered the
improbable contingency had arisen, which required a resort to slaves as an element
of resistance, does not appear by any official document within the knowledge of
y(jur committee. Congress might well have delayed action on this subject until the
j)resent moment, as the President, whose constitutional duty it is "to give to the
Congress information oi the stjite of the Confederacy," has never asked, in any
authentic manner, for the passage of a law authorizing the employment of slaves as
soldiers. The Senate, however, did not await the tardy movements of the President.
On the 29tli December, 1864, the following resolution was adopted by the Senate, in
secret session :

"liesolred, That the President be requested to inform the Senate, in secret session,
as to the state of the finances in connection with the payment of the troops; the
means of supplying the munitions of war, transportation, and subsistence; the con-
dition of the Army, and the pos.^ibility of recruiting the same; the condition of our
foreign relations, and whether any aid or encouragement from abroad is expected, or
has been sought, or is proposed; so that the Senate may have a clear ami exact view
of the state of the country and of its future prospects, and what measures of legis-
lation are required."

In response to this resolution the President might well have communicated to the
Senate his views as to the necessity and policy of arming the slaves of the Confed-
eracy as a means of public defense. No answer whatever has been made to the
resolution. In addition to this, a joint committee was raised by Congress, under a
concurrent resolution adopted in secret session on the 30th December, 1864. That
committee, by the resolution creating it, was instructed " by conference with the Pres-
ident, and by such other means as they shall deem proper, to ascertain what are our
reliable means of public defense, present and prospective."

A written report was made by the committee on January 25, 1865; and although it
had a conference with the President, no allusion is made in the report to any sug-
gestion by him that the necessities of the country required the employment of
slaves as soldiers. Under these circumstances. Congress, influenced no doubt by
the opinion of General Lee, determined for itself the propriety, policy, and necessity
of adopting the measure in question.

The recommendations of the President — to employ 40,000 slaves as cooks, team-
sters, and as engineer and pioneer laborers — was assented to, and a law has been
enacted at the present session for the purpose, without limit as to numl>er.

All the measures recommended by the President to promote the efficiency of the
Army have been adopted, except the entire repeal of class exemjitions, and some
measures not suggested by him — such as the creation of the office of general in chief —
were originated and passed byC'ongress, with a view to the restoration of public con-
fidence, and the energetic administration of military affairs.



728 JOURNAL OP THE [Mar. IG, 1865.

On the subject of exemptions the President, in his message of November 7, uses
the following language: "No pursuit nor position should relieve anyone who is
al)le to do active duty from enrollment in the Army, unless his functions or services
are more useful to the defense of his country in another sphere. But it is manifest
that this can not be the case with entire classes. All telegraph operators, workuieu
in mines, jirofessora, teachers, engineers, editors, and employees of newspapers, jour-
neymen printers, shoemakers, tanners, blacksmiths, millers, physicians, and nun)er-
ous other cla.sses • mentioned in the laws can not, in the nature of things, be either
equally necessary in their several professions nor distrilmted throughout the country
in such projiortions that only the exact numbers required are found in each locality,"
etc. The casual reader w(i»ulrl infer that the laws, as they stood at the date of the
message, exempted tlie classes enumerated by the President, as well as many other
classes not mentioned by him. Such is not the fact. The only class exemptions
allowed by the laws then in force were the following: Ministers of religion; superin-
tendents and physicians of asylums for the deaf, dumb, and blind, and of the insane;
one editor for each newspaper, and such employees as tlie editor may certifj' on oath
as indispensably nei-essary; the public printere of the Confederate and State govern-
ments and their journeymen printers; one skilled apothecary in each apothecary
store who was doing business as such on the 10th of October, 1862; physicians over
30 years of age, and for the last seven years in practice; presidents and teachers of
colleges, seminaries, and schools, and the superintendents, physicians, and nurses in
public iiospitals; certain mail contractors and drivers of post coaches; certain ofttcers
and employees of railroad companies, and certain agriculturists or overseers.

Officers of the State governments are not properly included among the exempted
classes, liecause it is conceded that Congress has no constitutional power to conscribe
them as soldiers. Nor are Dunkards, Quakers, or other noncond)atants regarded as
belonjfing to cla.«s exem{)tions, because, under the act of June 7, 1864, the exemption
of these persons is subject to the control of the Secretary of War. The exemption of
agriculturists or overseers between the ages of 18 and 45 has been repealed at the
])resent session. Tanners, shoemakers, millers, blacksnuths, telegraph operators,
and workmen in mines, enumerated by the President as among the classes exempted,
are not now and have not been since the passage of the act of 17th February, 1864,
exempted as a class. If railroad oflicers and employees, and State officers, who are
not constitutionally subject to conscription, be exchided, the classes now exempted
east of the Mississij)]ii Kiver eml)race about 9,000 men, one-third of whom are i>hy-
si(;ians, and nearly another third are ministers of the gospel; the remaining third
is principally composed of teachers, professors, printers and emi)loyees in news-



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