was entitled to by the action of the Confederate authorities, and hence her capture. I am willing that the public should judge of the error from these statements.
I beg leave further to call your attention to the certificate of Mr. Savage, collector of Wilmington, showing that there was no gold on the Advance when she was captured. I do this because of the appearance of an article in the Richmond Sentinel, said to have been written under the auspices of the Navy Department, in which it was alleged that there was a large amount f gold on this vessel, the non-appearance of which was supposed to account in part for her capture. From this it will be seen that in order to convict me of "venturing upon an extraordinary statement" some parties connected with the Navy Department have ventured upon a rather ordinary one. Like your, sir, I do not desire to discuss the policy of the Government in regard to our armed cruisers and blockade running generally. If I did i might well cite the recent formidable attack upon Willmington, from which alone we were delivered by the Providence of God, as a full confirmation of my opinions. And I might well ask if one of the three vessels which lately entered that port laden with bacon was not of greater benefit to the Confederacy, even though it was the entrrpise of "gamblers," than the destruction of all the enemy's vessels at sea mentioned in the list you inclose. My opposition to the policy of the Government is not based upon anything factious or any regard for the interest of men who have been making fortunes by running the blockade, whether native or foreign. I never made objection to their being placed under such restrictions as the Government thought proper, but why a State struggling for the common good, to clothe and provide for its troops in the public service, should meet with no more favor than a blockade gambler, passes my comprehension.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Z. B. VANCE.
RICHMOND, VA., January 3, 1865.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 31st ultimo, inclosing a copy of the resolution adopted by the Senate in secret session, inquiring as to the condition of the Army and the probabilities of its being recruited. To meet the first branch of this inquiry, I transmit herewith a tabular statement* made up from the most recent returns in this office, which will exhibit the effective totals, the aggregates of present, aggregates of present, and absent, and the numbers of absent in each army and military department. this statement probably affords the only evidence as to the condition of the armies of the Confederacy, which the files of this office can properly supply.
The second question presented by the resolution opens a wider and more difficult field of inquiry. To the conscription service has been intrusted the important duty of recruiting our armies, filling the gaps caused by the casualties of battle and disease, and preparing for the field the untrained military material of the country. The difficulties it has had to encounter are known and recognized, but it is, I believe, now generally admitted that those results have not been fully attained