of the Department, will greatly promote its efficiency by enabling the Secretary to graduate the salaries according to merit. Under the resolutions of Congress approved March 15, recommending to the several States "to cede to the Confederate States the forts, arsenals, navy-yards, dock-yards, and other public establishment within their respective limits," such cessions have already been made and the establishments specified have been formally transferred to this Government by each of the States.
Some difficulty has grown out of the construction and practical application of the laws under which the forces shown by the report of the Adjutant-General were brought into service. By the act "to raise provisional forces" the President was authorized to receive into the Confederate service such troops as were in the service of the several States "at the date of the passage of the act," and these troops were to be supported out of the appropriation for the maintenance of the Regular Army. As there were but few troops in the several States regularly organized at the date of the passage of the act, a rigid construction of its terms would have defeated its spirit and object. After due reflection I determined to receive those "companies, battalions, and regiments" whose organizations were inchoate at the date of the act. This resort to the spirit of the act rather than to its strict letter did not, however, suffice to enable this Department to meet the exigencies for troops. It became necessary to recur to the act "to provide for the public defense," and to exercise the discretionary power lodged in the President by that act the raising of volunteer forces to be supported out of another appropriation than that for the Regular Army. Thus, two classes of troops, differently enlisted, organized, and supported, came to be merged into the public service.
The Attorney-General advised that a "calculation as nearly exact as possible" be made of the relative proportions of these two classes of troops composing the Provisional Army, in order to apportion the cost of each kind between the appropriations in the act cited. I have concluded that the number of those entitled strictly to be classified under the first act is too inconsiderable to justify the Department at this important juncture in consuming time to arrive at what after all would be but a bare approximation. The irregularity is purely technical; cannot work pecuniary loss to the Government; was the result of necessity, and can be readily cured by legislation.
An arrangement should be devised to obviate the difficulty and embarrassment which will result to the service in respect to the relative rank of general officers. The highest rank authorized by law in the Army of the Confederate States and in the Provisional Army is that of brigadier-general, while in the army of the several States the highest military rank is major-general. The result of this state of facts will be, that whenever a combination of State and Federal troops occurs in sufficient numbers to justify the employment of general officers, the major-general of State troops must take command of the whole and give the orders needful to the service to the prejudice of the brigadier-general of regular or provisional forces, notwithstanding the latter may have been selected for his peculiar fitness for the command, and been appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of Congress, as required by law. To obviate this difficulty and embarrassment it is suggested that the grade of brigadier-general in the Confederate as well as in the Provisional Army be converted into that of general, in which case they will have precedence of all other general officers.