DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, C. S. A.,
Richmond, August 3, 1861.
Honorable WILLIAM M. BROWNE, Assistant Secretary of State.
SIR: In reference to the subject-matter of your letter of this morning* I beg to say that I would cheerfully give any aid in my power to the counsel charged with the defense of the captain and crew of the Savannah but I am totally at a loss to see what can be done here.
The counsel desires parol proof of the action of this Government. We can send no witnesses to New York. We can furnish no such proof in time of war. The question appears to me to be much more of a political than of a legal character. If the United States refuse to consider this Government as even belligerent I do not see what effect the offer of parol proof could have. If we be recognized as belligerents the action of the public authorities of a belligerent nation can in no manner be authenticated so conclusively as by its seal. If the signatures of our public men are to be proved hundreds of persons in New York can prove them.
However all this may be it is certain that we have no means that I am aware of by which we can furnish parol proof as desired by Mr. Sullivan in his letter,+ which I return.
J. P. BENAJMIN.
RALEIGH, N. C., August 3, 1861.
General S. COOPER, C. S. Army,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.
GENERAL: Since my arrival in the State I have made diligent inquiry as to the best diposition that could be made of the prisoners captured from the enemy. I found upon reaching this city that steps had already been taken in the matter by direction of the Governor and the result communicated by him to the Secretary of War. I am convinced that the plan suggested in that communication is the best that can be made. In fact it was the almost unanimous recommendation of the persons to whom I mentioned the matter. Salisbury is located in the most productive region of the State. I have no doubt that if Colonel Johnston, our Commissary-General of Subsistence, were authorized to do so he could make a contract for subsisting the prisoners at a much less cost than to issue to them the usual army ration. Fruits, vegetables (garden) and fres meats are produced in great abundance with a very limited market for them. That county has furnished mearly 1,000 men for the war, which of course increases the usual surplus productions in that proprtin. I am creditably informed that more wheat has been raised in that part of the State than can be stored away in the usual granaries. I respectfully refer you to the Honorable Burton Craige, Member of Congress, who resides in that town and can give you all the information on that subject you will want.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. H. RIDDICK,
Lieutenant Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General, North Carolina.
+Sullivan to Tucker, July 19, p. 11.