War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0602 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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some reason for dismissing the officers attached to this branch of the service. The number of officers prescribed by law were assigned to each regiment, aause their services were dispensed with I surely had a right to expect, and they had an equal right to expect, that they would have received notification and would have been regularly discharged. But instead of this they have been allowed to remain in the performance of their duties for nearly three months, and it is not until they ask for their pay that they are given to understand that they have not been in the service of the Confederate Government.

There are reasons why I, as the Executive of the State, feeling the deepest interest in the preservation of the health and the promotion of the comfort of the Virginia Volunteers, should desire that our soldiers should be attended by medical men selected from our midst. Our physicians are familiar with the diseases that prevail in our State, and their experience enables them to apply the proper remedies. They know what disease are most prevalent in this climate, and knowing the approved mode of treatment they are the better prepared to give relief. It is utterly impossible for physicians who have never practiced their profession here to know enough of the disease and mode of treatment to apply promptly and judiciously the proper remedies. Such physicians when they come here must learn, and while learning their patients are dropping one by one into the grave. I am not to be understood as disparaging our underrating the intellect or the acquirements of those to whom I refer in these remarks. I doubt not they are equal in these respects to the medical men of any other portion of the country, but in this, as in all other professions, it is "practice alone that makes perfect. "

The same course, I am informed, has been pursued toward the quartermasters and commissaries. You will observe from the terms of the proclamation that these officers were to "continue to discharge their respective functions under the direction and control of the President until otherwise ordered. " They have continued to discharge them, are discharging t orders dispensing with their services have been issued to them. I understand their requisitions for medical supplies have been duly honored, as I am informed, since the transfer of the 6th of June last. If they are not needed, and are to receive no compensation for their services if they remain, then I beg leave respectfully to suggest that an order discharging them should be issued by your Department.

I am, truly,

JOHN LETCHER.

RICHMOND, VA., September 10, 1861.

The PRESIDENT:

SIR: For reasons unofficially communicated I most respectfully tender to you my resignation as Secretary of War, to take effect on the 16th instant. In doing so I beg to assure you not only of my undiminished personal regard, but increased confidence in your abilities as a statesman. As the first Chief Magistrate of the Confederate States, your position has been one of great trial and enduring fortitude, and I have been a daily witness of the singular power by which you have brought order out of chaos and placed your Administration on the solid basis of acknowledged success and the popular heart. May the