War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0273 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records


May 1, 1861.

Honorable Mr. WALKER,

Secretary of War, Montgomery, Ala.:

SIR: I wrote you on the 26th of April, requesting the appointment of a paymaster-general for the forces that are now here in the Confederate service, and also a commissary-general, so as to have everything reduced to one system, and soon as these officers are appointed by you I will withdraw those I have appointed from service. In all this General Beauregard concurs. The regiments that have been called into service were so called under requisitions from your Department and also under express orders from General Beauregard. I consider them as volunteers from South Carolina, and if two or more regiments are brought together they are subject to the command of a general appointed by the President, particularly if called out of the State. I consider these volunteer regiments as volunteers from South Carolina, and not technically what may be called provisional forces of the Provisional Army, for our enlisted and regular troops are constituting a part of the Provisional Army. If I understand it, the Confederate Government propose to have a regular standing army, enlisted for a term not shorter than three years, and our regular enlisted battalion of artillery and part of a regiment of infantry could not be received into the Regular Army of the Confederate Government, because its time of enlistment was too short and the officers were not appointed by the President; but there is no difficulty in their being transferred over to the Confederate forces as part of the Provisional Army, as is done from Georgia and other States. Then there is on contemplation a volunteer force, to be formed of regiments, battalion, and companies besides, which in like manner, when two or more regiments are together, may be commanded by a general from the Confederate States, appointed by the President, or, if he chooses, designated from one of our generals appointed over volunteer organization, but just as the President orders.

There are, them, three distinct services: First, a Regular Army of the Confederate Government, them a Provisional Army, and then a force composed of volunteer regiments from the States, but still known as volunteers for a year's service, composed of men not enlisted or dnteer regiments are of this, ready for service, and ready to obey and generals appointed or designated by the President of the Confederate Government. If I am understood in this, please let me know if I am right, so there may be no misunderstanding. Our organization of 10,000 men into regiments was made under an act passed when we were a State by ourselves and before any provisional government had been formed, and therefore might seem to have been formed for the State alone; but the convention of the State, through our representatives, formed a Provisional Government, which I consider as binding upon us as our own State government, and have therefore considered the defense of these Confederate States as the defense of South Carolina, and the organization of our volunteer regiments is the most efficient that can be made at present. I therefore think the conditions above indicated as just to them, and not at all impairing the efficiency of the forces that may be required for the Confederate Government.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,