field, are not subject to his control, except so far as may be necessary to preserve the public stores and other property from the enemy, and to procure whetever information as to the locality and quantity of stores may be requisite for the efficient conduct of his command. In other words, commanders are held responsible for the safe-keeping of the public property within the limits of their respective commands; and they are entitled to make requisition upon officers in charge for regular or special reports of the property in their keeping; but beyond this they are not entitled to interfere with the officers referred to, whose duties are prescribed by and who are held directly responsible to the bureaus from which their orders are derived. The rule is well settled and cannot be violated without a conflict of authority, embarrassing to all parties and prejudicial to the service. It may be well to add that all officers of the general staff must be assigned by the War Department, and upon being placed on duty cannot be relieved except by the orders of the War Department. The honorable Secretary directs me to say in answer to your application that the troops under your command, constituting a separate army, are entitled to the services of a chief commissary. Neither Major Cummings nor Major Molloy can, in the interests of the service, be taken from their present duties. Instead, he suggests the name of Major James Pagan, brigade commissary, Evans' brigade, the senior in ranks, who is represented to be a very capable and meritorious office, and requests to be informed whether his assignment as chief commissary would be agreeable to you.
Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
Adjutant and Inspector General.
CHARLESTON, S. C., April 8, 1864.
Adjutant and Inspector General:
Has any answer been sent to my letters of the 4th and 17th March?
D. H. HILL,
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Raleigh, N. C., April 11, 1864.
Hon. J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I beg again to call your earnest attention to the importance of suspending the execution of the conscript law in the mountain counties of North Carolina. They are filled with tories and deserters, burning, robbing, and murdering. They have been robbed and eaten out by Longstreet's command, and have lost their corps by being in the field nearly all the time trying to drive back the enemy. Now that Longstree's command is removed, their condition will be altogether wretched, and hundreds will to go to the enemy for protection and bread. Please consider these conditions and relieve them if possible.
Z. B. VANCE.