War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 1039 Chapter XXXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

in all particulars of the recommendations of that council, for some, it is feared, may transcend the measure of power which the President might feel himself authorized, without further legislation, to exercise, of which he could constitutionally delegate; but the spirit and aims of the convention, as manifested in their action and address, have his cordial approval and will receive his co-operation and sanction. Your own action, too, in its spirit and purpose, receives his commendation and enhances his confidence, though in some particulars he does not feel himself a liberty to delegate powers reposed in him as fully as the requirements of your situation have induced you to suggest. When it was suggested, in my former semi-official letter, that you would have to exercise powers of civil administration, it was, of course only meant such matters of an administrative character as were naturally promotive of or connected with military operations and appropriately pertained to the executive functions of the Confederate Executive. These limitations naturally were implied, and there was no idea of either dispensing with or trenching on the civil powers belonging to the States or to the regular civil administration thereof. What I had particularly in mind were the various administration branches of service that minister to the supply, equipment, and furnishing of arms in all their branches of service. Thus, it seemed to me difficult, if your department was to be self-sustaining, that you could manage without official arrangements analogous to our bureaus, and I ventured to suggest the establishment of such in effect, if not in name. These, to some extent, I perceive, you have proceed to establish what you style a Cotton Bureau, for the preservation and control of the supplies of that important staple, so necessary to furnish exchange and importations. The wisdom of these steps is not doubted; but it is desirable that, so far as practicable, these measures should be accomplished in conformity to existing laws and through existing recognized officers.

Now, the main offices of our different bureaus may be executed effectively by assigning or placing at the head of each an existing military officer or agent already appointed for your department by one of the bureaus here. A chief commissary may discharge the duties, with the aid of appropriate subordinates of the Bureau of Subsistence. A leading quartermaster, a competent adjutant, a chief o ordnance, the agent appointed by the Niter and Mining Bureau for your department may each, with appropriate assisting officers, discharge the duties of the corresponding bureaus here.

In like manner the aims of your Cotton Bureau, with change of name, which would probably be judicious, might also be practically as well obtained by assigning to it some quartermaster, or investing the agent selected by you with some appropriate military rank. These officers will hold, naturally, positions of proper subordination to you, and you may, as auxiliary branches, report, as occasion may allow, to the department here, by which their reports can be referred to the respective bureaus and harmony of action secured.

I early saw another necessity of your several departments would be the command of funds without the necessity of transmitting beforehand estimates here, and then receiving notes or money in return. I thought in the first instance to have arranged with the Secretary of the Treasury to establish an office of issue in your department, but, after at first inclining to it, the Secretary of the Treasury found such difficulties in the conveyance of what he considered the necessary machinery, that he