stitute a majority of our fighting forces, whose services are so necessary to insure success to our cause.
This fact has operated prejudicially, especially in connection with the reputed inferior character of many of the substitutes received, and has induced me to discourage, as far as has been practicable, the system of substitution.
The practical operations of the militia system of the State, especially in the authorization by the President to embrace persons within conscript limits for a certain period, has proved a shelter for many able-bodied men, and deprived the Confederate cause of their services. It is believed that the consent of the President was limited to the actual condition of the militia service and not to the prospective, when given. (See copy of instructions, inclosure Numbers 1, and of Special Orders, Numbers 271., appended.)
I have accordingly arrived at the conclusion that the incorporation of conscripts in the State organizations at this time is unauthorized and in violation of the Confederate laws, and that measures ought to be promptly taken to terminate that practice.
A special recommendation was made on this subject in a communication from these headquarters under date of 27th July ultimo.
The large amounts of outstanding debts for public supplies due citizens in various portions of this district, and which have been for a considerable period accumulating, has been another source of discontent among the people, and tended in some degree to demoralize portions of the community, and especially citizens of small means.
The irregular manner in which supplies have been obtained in this district by irresponsible agents being brought in conflict with the regular staff departments, has been a source of almost constant complaint, and has produced much irritation in the community, and the outstanding debts thus incurred are still a matter of complaint.
The remedy, in my opinion, will be found in the prompt and vigorous execution of the Confederate laws, and the employment of more ample means to attack and repel the enemy in his encroachments on the soil of the State along the northern border.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[Inclosure Numbers 1.] WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A. Richmond, January 10, 1863.
His Excellency John J. PETTUS,
Governor of Mississippi:
SIR: Your telegram of the 7th instant has been received by the President. He has referred it to this Department for answer.
The State organizations of troops are too important and the time too critical for any interference to be made with them.
The men belonging to them subject to conscription should be enrolled, and reported to the commander of conscripts, and regular
reports should be made to him by the commanders of regiments, battalions, or companies to which they belong, of the service in which they are engaged, and when they cease to be in the active service of the State they should be returned to the camp so long as they are in active service as State troops.
The commander of conscripts will be directed to suspend, as to them, the operation of the conscription act.