War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0275 Chapter XV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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Richmond, September 10, 1861

His Excellency FRANCIS W. PICKENS,

Governor of South Carolina:

SIR: It affords me very great pleasure to acknowledge your very interesting communication of this Department of the 1st and 2nd of the present month, and to congratulate you upon the evidence they furnish of the ceaseless put forth by the governor of South Carolina during your administration. Where such faithful manifestations of public concern exist, guided and controlled by such admirable wisdom and policy, it is profoundly to be regretted that this Department is so circumscribed by law as not always to have it in its power to second your suggestions. Under the law a regiment is limited to ten companies, therefore your proposition to incorporate two additional companies into Colonel Gregg's regiment, although based on sound reasoning and solid facts, cannot be granted. Colonel Gregg has been informed more at large of the manner in which the action of this Department is circumscribed in the premises, and will doubtless communicate with you on the subject. Not does there exist any authority by which I can authorize you to appoint company officers. They are invariably elected, according to the laws regulating the militia of the States respectively, and this is the case where vacancies occur after troops have been received and mustered into the Confederate service. To enable the Government even to appoint field officers troops must come to it direct, without State innervation, under the amended acts of Congress passed at the second session. Then they must come solely by companies, and be mustered into the service as such. Thus your excellency will perceive how utterly impossible it is for this Department to entertain in your proposition in these respects. Neither can I gratify you by accepting the two unarmed cavalry regiments you generously offer. The service does not absolutely require them and our present resources do not admit of their acceptance. But the two cavalry companies to which you allude will be received, if armed and equipped; and where there is necessarily so much negation of your wishes, I am happy to say that the rifle regiment you propose to raise for the war and to arm will be taken into service.

This Department, through an anxious desire to oblige you, will also receive ten companies, to be offered by companies, and to be organized by its authority into a regiment, thus reserving to itself the right to appoint the field officers; but if your excellency can possibly arm these companies it is sincerely hoped you will arm them, though it be only with the flint musket, country rifle, or heavy shot-gun.

The cannon powder that you ask for cannot be spared by the Ordnance Office unless there be an absolute existing necessity for it under the pressure of demand in other quarters, where it is indispensable. It is preferred that your excellency will retain your patience upon the subject for the present.

In entirely concur with your excellency in the policy of not accepting any more troops except for the war, and have endeavored ever since the Congress invested this Department with the discretionary power of thus receiving military tenders to limit its favor by this policy; but as our arms have not been abundant, it has been and still is a matter of pure necessity to accept coming to us armed for a less period.