The authority for impressment and the regulations under which it is to be made are to be found in General Orders, Numbers 37, which contain the act of Congress relative to the subject. Impressment by or for an army in the field is placed particularly under the direction of the general commanding. It is proper this should be so, for nothing conduces more to the degradation and disorder of an army than the practice of irregular and lawless invasions of private property by its members with impunity. The Government and the country have placed the power and the responsibility for its use upon the general, and the department, therefore, has directed your attention to these complaints in the full confidence that you will give your attention to the subject, and will repress with firmness all irregularities of the kind that are brought to your notice.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
RICHMOND, October 30, 1863.
General J. E. JOHNSTON:
Your telegram received. There is not intent to diminish the obligations or responsibility of the post commissaries to issue supplies to your troops. As post commissaries they are regularly and properly under the control of the commanding general. I will write you on this subject.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
ATLANTA, GA., October 30, 1863.
MY DEAR HARDEE: I regret very much not having seen your before leaving. Delay in receiving information from General Bragg prevented me from communicating with you from Mobile, but hearing that you were on the road I had hoped to see you here.
The information from the army at Chattanooga painfully impresses me with the fact that there is a want there of that harmony among the highest officers which is essential to success. I rely greatly upon you for the restoration of a proper feeling, and know that you will realize the comparative insignificance of personal considerations when weighed against the duty of imparting to the army all the efficiency of which it is capable.
with my earnest prayers for your welfare, I am, very truly, your friend,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Missionary Ridge, October 31, 1863.
Major General S. D. LEE,
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your two communications of the 26th and 28th instant in regard to the movement of the enemy.
39 R R-VOL XXXI, PT III