and the difficulties of procuring subsistence, transportation, clothing, and muster will prevent us having the full quota of 20,000. Thirteen regiments are nearly full. All of them can be turned out next week. The companies which are full are suffering for clothing, waiting for those which are not full.
BALTIMORE, MD., May 30, 1864.
Honorable EDWARD BATES,
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 25th May relative to General Orders, Numbers 30, current series, from this department, and expressing a hope that I will find it wise and prudent to abstain from the effort to enforce them.
In reply I beg to say that I have published two general orders upon the subject (30 and 33), which are inclosed,* and when you have read them, in connection with my explanation, which I am obliged to you for giving me the opportunity to make, you will understand why I cannot agree to the view you have taken of them.
Upon assuming command of the Middle Department my attention was called to certain facts, which may be summed up as follows:
Thousands of the people of Maryland had, at one period or another of the rebellion, gone South, where, as soldiers or citizens, they were working in the interests of the so-called Confederacy. Of these many were owners of large properties, landed and otherwise, situated in my department, the revenues of which I found them still drawing. Upon closer inquiry I found that this begot interests which were the source of constant communication between the property holders mentioned and their agents here, and, what was more objectionable, supplied the traitors with means of personal support. The idea that the men who were carrying swords and muskets to kill our soldiers, or who in some capacity were using every faculty of mind and body to ruin our Government, should at the same time live fat, and arm and uniform themselves and support their families, from revenues regularly drawn from estates within my lines, looked to me like a jest, grim and intolerable, and without a color of humor.
This was a state of affairs inadmissible by the laws of war and inconsistent with the spirit of certain acts of Congress. I mean the acts of 1861 and 1862, to which you refer in your letter, and which I beg you to believe I had carefully read.
In taking steps to break up the interests of the traitors spoken of, I consider not only the measures most effective for the purpose, but such as I thought compatible with existing orders and laws, and finally adopted Orders 30 and 33. At the time of their issuance I knew they were assumptions of large power over persons, contracts, and property purely civil; but they were necessary powers, and as such exercised every day. The persons reached by them were such as had voluntarily expatriated themselves for criminal purposes; the contracts they impaired derived validity from laws which the beneficiaries were fighting to subvert; and as to the civil status of the means and property affected it argued nothing, in my judgment, because they were alike instruments used in supporting the rebellions side of the war.
*See Series I, Vol. XXXIII, p. 989, and Vol. XXXXVII, Part I, p. 638.