of these men ought not to be lost to the country, and however much they may be charged with responsibility for the insubordinate means by which they were collected, yet I trust that they may be disposed of in such a manner as to enable them to be properly officered and to admit their families to the benefits (now denied to them) provided by chapter 222 of the Massachusetts statutes of 1861, known as the 'Soldiers' families relief act." This chapter of our statutes,which became a law on May 23 last, instituted a system of public charity toward the needy families of our troops, varying in amount from $1 per week to $12 per month, accordiities of each case. In dispensing this charity (for further details of which please refer to the copy of the act herewith inclosed) the municipal authorities of our towns and cities act as the agents of the Commonwealth and look to the descriptive rolls of our troops on deposit in the office of our adjutant-general as prima facie evidence of entry in U. S. service of the soldiers whose families apply to them for relief. But the descriptive rolls of General Butler's irregular troops are not received at that office, such troops not being raised under any authority from the Commonwealth; and our attorney-general has rendered an official opinion concerning the "relief act," to the effect that its provisions apply only to such troops as are raised in this State, "under the authority of the Governor, and the officers of which are by him commissioned." You will perceive, then, in what an unfortunate condition, in reference to this charity, these men are therefore placed. In consideration of all these facts, I think that orders should be issued from the War Department at once regulating this matter. The men have been sworn into the U. S. service by officers under General Butler's direction, and they can be used to good advantage in recruiting up the Twenty-eighth Regiment (now about 750 strong), which would have been filled to the maximum number some weeks since had it not been harassed by this irregular and insubordinate competition. The surplus, after filling the Twenty-eighth, cannot be better employed than in recruiting our Fifteenth and Twentieth Regiments, which suffered at Ball's Bluff, and in completing the companies which I am authorized to raise to constitute an additional Massachusetts regiment in combination with the seven companies which now constitute the Massachusetts battalion at Fortress Monroe and Newport News.
I feel that I have presented ample reasons for immediate action by the War Department in regard to these men, in the facts--
1. That they are now commanded by no legally constituted officers and therefore not subject to proper military command.
2. That by disposing of them in the manner I propose, no less than four regiments, i. e., the Twenty-eighth, Fifteenth, Twentieth, and that at Fortress Monroe, all of them now defective or crippled, would be put in condition for immediately effective service.
3. That by such a disposition their families, many of which are in great need, would become entitled to the benefits of the State relief act.
4. That a fruitful cause of discontent, strife, and embarrassment would be effectually removed.
I beg to call your attention further, in this connection, to the fact that, by Major-General Butler's order, the Fourth Massachusetts Light Artillery Battery, which I raised for his expedition, was last week, without my knowledge, placed on board the steamer Constitution and dispatched to sea, none of its officers having been commissioned, and no application having been made to me, from any source, to appoint or commission them, and no notice having been given to me