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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 51, Part 2 (Supplements)
Page 133 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

The note of President Davis, made a part of the committe's report, is as follows:

RICHMOND, June 2, 1861.

His Excellency JOHN LETCHER,

Governor of the State:

I have the honor to acknolwedge yours of yesterday, inclosing two advisory communications from your council to yourself as the basis of your tender to the Confederate States, by regiments, of all the volunteer forces which have been or may be mustered into the service of Virginia and all seamen and marines in said service, and all quartermaster's and commissary stores now in possession of said State, and also to tender the use of all the public property, naval stores, munitions of war, &c., acquired from the United Staes and now in possession, except the machinery for the manufacture of arms captured at Harper's Ferry. Thanking Your Excellency and council for the readiness with which you have met the wants of the common defense, most pressing upon us because of the invasion of Virginia, I hope to be pardoned for suggesting that the machinery at Harper's Ferry is essential for the speedy preparation for both repair and construction of small-arms, and if it can be used for that purpose more beneficially to the public interest by retaining it in the possession of the State to urge upon you a more effectual protection for it than it now enjoys. Public buildings and all other public property captured from the United States must be the subject of future settlement with the United States Government, should negotiations ever take place between the two Governments. The machinery at Harper's Ferry in that respect will not constitute an exception, and unless the officers and employes of Virginia can, better than those of the Confederate States, secure it and make it tributary to the public interest, I respectfully submit whether it had not better be put in the general condition which you have given to other public property similarly situated. In relation to the proposition concerning officers who have left similarly situated. In relation to the proposition concerning officers who have left the service of the United States and entered the Army or Navy of Virginia, I can only say that the Congress of the Confederate States secured by law to officers of the Army thus entering the service, so far as they were of the same grade, they should have the same relative rank in this service as the one they left. The reason of the rule would equally apply to officers of the Navy, and I do not anticipate its being either disregarded or violated. But the Confederate authority has been invested with discretionary power both as to the acceptance of the services of officers who may resign from the United States and in filling original vacancies. To determine the grade which should be given to such officers, I can only say that it is not probable that any officer thus accepted will be appointed to a lower grade than that he held in the service of the United States. The only right, however, which I can recognize is that of transfer, according to the existing law of Congress, of officers with the troops to which they have been appointed.

Yours, most respectfull.

After considering these papers, the council adopted the following advice:

Advised unanimously that the Governor of Virginia forthwith direct by general orders a transfer to the authorities of the Confederate States, be regiments, of all the volunteer forces which have been mustered into the service of the State, and direct a like transfer by regiments of all other volunteers or militia as the same shall be formed and their services may be required.

It is further advised that the Governor direct by general order as transfer to the authority of the Confederate States of all the officers, seamen, and marines of the Provisional Navy of Virginia for service in the Confederate States.

Waiving for the present any objection to the consitutionality of so much of the ninth section of the act of the Provisional Congress, approved March 6, 1861, as provides for the appointment by the Presidnet, by and with the advice and consent of the Congress, of regimental staff officers of the volunteers and militia when called into the service of the Confederate States, it is further advised that, inasmuch as the State of Virginia has put into efficient organization the various departments of the military staff essential for the comfort and efficiency of an


Page 133 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 51, Part 2 (Supplements)
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