War of the Rebellion: Serial 122 Page 0422 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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as practicable, to examine into and determine the facts in relation to the nature and occasion of the disability of such officers disabled to perform military service as may be brought before it.

The board will be guided in its action by such sections of the act of Congress approved August 3, 1861, providing for it as may be applicable to the subject.

Detail for the board. - Bvt. Brigadier General J. G. Totten, Engineers; Colonel C. A. Waite, First Infantry; Colonel B. F. Larned, Paymaster-General; Surg. E. H. Abadie, medical staff; Surg. Josiah Simpson, medical staff. Major Innis N. Palmer, Fifth Cavalry, will act as recorder of the board.

II. Any officer of the Army who has served as such for forty consecutive years and desires to be retired from active service will immediately make an application to that effect to the Adjutant-General.

By order:

L. THOMAS,

Adjutant-General.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

August 17, 1861.

[SECRETARY OF WAR:]

SIR: Your letter of the 15th instant, inclosing a communication from Craig Biddle, esq., aide-de-camp to the Governor of Pennsylvania, presents for my opinion the question whether it is necessary to muster the reserve volunteer force of Pennsylvania into the service of the United States.

I learn from the letter of Mr. Biddle that this force was organized by the military department of Pennsylvania under the authority of the act of the General Assembly of that State of 15th May, 1861, to create a loan and to provide for arming the State; that the regiments so organized were mustered and sworn into the service of the State under the provisions of that law, and that they are now in the service of the United States under the requisition of the President. Whether these troops be regarded as volunteers accepted by the President under the authority of the act of 22nd July, 1861, to authorize the employment of volunteers, & c., or as militia called into the service of the United States by the President in pursuance of the act of February 28, 1795, and its substitute, the act of 29th July, 1861, to provide for theh suppression of rebellion, & c., I think that they should be formally mustered into the service of the United States.

By express provision in all the laws just referred to, the troops received into the national service, whether volunteers or militia, are made subject to the Rules and Articles of War for the government of the Army of the United States. These rules and articles plainly contemplate the mustering into the service of every soldier in the employment of the National Governmetn, and, indeed, it is difficult to see how the persons who constitute an army could be organized and prepared for service without undergoing that formula. A doubt as to the propriety of mustering this force into the service of the United States seems to have arisen from the fact that it had before been mustered into the service of the State of Pennsylvania; but the act of Assembly of that State under which it was organized itself provides for mustering it into the national service. Section 19, after declaring listed in the service of the State for a period not exceeding three years, or for the war, unless sooner discharged, and shall be liable to be called into the service of the State at such times as the commander-in-chief may deem necessary, & c., adds further, that