ment and the artillery at their present position, but will hurry on Hobb's regiment (the infantry), via Captain John Rugeley's house, to Columbia, and from that place to Velascoby steamboat.
The general desires that you regard as strictly confidential all communications from him touching the organization of commands in any way, or proposing or disclosing pans in any manner or form.
The communication of to- day, written in pencil, should have been marked " confidential." Please regard it as such- strictly confidential.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant- General.
HDQRS. BUREAU OF CONSCRIPTION, DEPT. OF TRANS- MISS.,
Marshall, Tex., December 7, 1863.
Brigadier General W. R. BOGGS,
Chief of Staff:
I deem it my duty to call the attention of the lieutenant- general commanding to the fact that the decisions of certain judicial officers of the State of Texas have seriously obstructed the execution of the laws of conscription, and that unless a suitable remedy is applied, consequences disastrous to the Confederate cause may, and probably will, result. It seems to be a favorite scheme of some of the Texas judges to override the Confederate laws and to discharge from service in the army any and all who apply to them for relief. I cannot, of course, say what are the promptings of this inclination, but I do not hesitate to express the opinion that it is not the result of ignorance, because I cannot suppose that any man was ever elevated to a judicial position in this country who was so wanting in legal information as to believe that some of the decisions had foundation in law. I will say it to the honor of the judiciary that generally, so far as my knowledge extends, they are in favor of law and right, and that their adjudications have been in accordance therewith, but a few seem differently disposed, and they have it in their power to do much harm for the reason that, as a judge in Texas may issue the writ of habeas corpus to any part of the State, those who wish to be discharged from service know to whom to apply for a discharge. Without further remark, I will call the attention of the lieutenant general to the judges to whom I refer and to some of their decisions. The judges are Honorable W. P. Hill, of the Confederate court for the eastern district, and Honorable B. W. Gray, judge of the eighth judicial district of the State. Judge Hill decided during the present year that a deputy county clerk was exempt from conscription because of is being a judicial officer. Afterward his son was enrolled as a conscript, but claimed exemption on the ground that he was a deputy marshal of the Confederate States. The claim was allowed by the lieutenant- general because of the decision referred to.
I beg leave to suggest that I cannot understand how a sensible and learned judge could have so decided. The exemption law of 11th October, 1862, exempts "the officers, judicial and executive, of the Confederate and State Governments." A deputy has not any estate or interest in the office, but is as a servant to the officer, and does everything in the name of the officer and nothing in his own name, and for whom the grantee shall answer (9th Coke, 49). The law does not impose any duty on a deputy, as such; does not recognize him as an officer within himself. For omissions to act, therefore, he is not responsible, for he is not