War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0143 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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should be determined. These bills having passed, it is my design to present an estimate covering the claims in the respective States, and to ask Congress to provide for their liquidation and appropriate an adequate sum for their payment. No payment has been made to the State of Pennsylvania, or to any other State; but the State of Pennsylvania has presented a claim, on which her Representatives have asked an appropriation. I do not think that method expedient, and I do not believe that it will pass. Whatever appropriation is made should be general, and sufficient to meet equally the claims of all States in like condition. There can be no objection to the individual States providing, in any manner that may be deemed proper by their authorities, for the ascertainment of the amount of the losses sustained. That was done in Minnesota and in one or two other instances. The procedure, however, is one in no degree binding upon the General Government, and I do not perceive how it can be regarded as imposing any new obligation upon the State to make redress to its own citizens, if redress cannot otherwise be obtained. It certainly cannot be construed as relieving the General Government from any obligations resting upon it. The opinion entertained by me as to the duty of General Government to make provision for these losses is, however, my individual opinion. Executive government upon the question. A difference of opinion seems to exist in Congress. My view rests simply upon what I conceive to be the relations of the Federal to the State government and the duties arising in a war of the present nature.

Your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.

P. S.-In relation to the men in the gun-boats service of the Western waters, the State has received the proper credit. These men were originally a part of the military land force. The gun- boats were built and manned by the War Department. Although they have recently been transferred to the Navy Department, the men were enrolled and mustered in the War Department, paid by it, and form a part of the credit given to the State.


Washington, D. C., February 28, 1864.

General L. THOMAS,

Louisville, Ky.:

I see your dispatch of yesterday to the Secretary of War. I wish you would go to the Mississippi River at once and take hold of and be master in the contraband and leasing business. You understand it better than any other man does. Mr. Mellen's system doubtless is well intended, but from what I hear I fear that if persisted in it would fall dead within its own entangling details. Go there and be the judge. A Mr. Lewis will probably follow you with something from me on this subject, but do not wait for him. Nor is this to induce you to violate or neglect any military order from the General-in-Chief or Secretary of War.