War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0773 Chapter XVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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NEW ORLEANS, LA., December 2, 1861.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,

Acting Secretary of War:

MY DEAR SIR: I desire to introduce to you Captain John A. Stephenson. Captain S. is a commission merchant of New Orleans of high standing. He constructed and but the Manassas. He is a man of large river experiences, having for many years had command of steamboats on the Mississippi. Great confidence is felt by our community in his skill enemy, and ability, so much so, that they are ready to advance the means to build, under his superintendence, another ram. This, however, they will not do without some assurance that the Government will not take the boat out of the possession and control of Captain S. The fact is that, while great confidence is felt here in led astray in his judgment of individuals, as he has no just means of forming a correct estimate of their character and ability. It is no disparagement to his ability as an officer to say this much of him, and it is said in the best and friendliest spirit. We all hope you will aid in carrying out the wishes of our people,a nd do all in your power to further the object in view. Captain Stephenson will communicate freely with you. You can rely upon him.

Very truly, yours,


WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, December 2, 1861.

Major General BRAXTON BRAGG,


SIR: I am sorry to say that I was in error in supposing certain Mississippi regiments ordered to your command to be without organization. I supposed the companies to have been tendered to us independent companies under a call made by this Department, but it turns out that they were called into service by General A. S. Johnston, under an unlucky proclamation which he issued for twelve months' men before he was fully aware of the policy of the Government on the subject.

I have, however, ordered to you one regiment of independent companies, which you will be able to organize and to provide with field officers, when the President will take pleasure in nominating on your recommendation.

I see no objection to your getting the men of the different twelve-month's regiments in your command to re-enlist for the war, as suggested in your letter of the 19th ultimo.

In the precise case referred to in my letter of November 9 I did not see how it could be done without violating the right of some of the parties, but in the way you propose no one is inured. We have a right to discharge any one whose services are no longer needed. The only modification I suggest is that when you muster in the new companies "for the war", as they are formed, you make the muster to take effect at some future day, on which day you will discharge the men from their former contract.

I do not see why a man may not be mustered in to-day for service "for the war," his terms of service to commence on the 1st january next. He would then remain in his present organization until the 1st January, and on that day be discharged from his old obligation and become bound