War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0775 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

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of public duty to make an arrangement which seems to be recommended by so many advantages.

I am, your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War.

ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

Richmond, Va., December 2, 1861.

Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War, Confederate States of America:

SIR: As the exercises of the military school of this State will be resumed in full on the 1st proximo, and both the Governor and Board of Visitors desire to make it, as far as possible, conductive to the operations of the Confederate service, I have thought it advisable to operations of the Confederate service, I have thought it advisable to inform you of the facts stated, and transmit the inclosed extract of a private letter to me from Colonel F. H. Smith, the superintendent. Though it is a mere glance at the subject, permit me to add that the Board of Visitors will be pleased to receive the views of the President and yourself, and to meet them as fully as it may be in their power to do so now and hereafter.

I am, with high respect, your obedient servant,

WM. H. RICHARDSON,

Adjt. Gen. of Virginia and ex officio Member Board of Visitors.

[Inclosure.]

Extract of a letter from Colonel Francis H. Smith, commanding at Craney Island, dated November 23, 1861.

I will say to you in all frankness that this post is the most important at this juncture to the Southern Confederacy. From instructions just received the result of the recent attack on Hilton Head, I am led to believe the same demonstration is expected here, and that the reliance of the Department is not merely upon skillful, drilled artillerists, but upon having officers in charge who understand the theory as well as practice of artillery service. Important changes are going on, the result of the heavy rifled ordnance, and an officer must understand the principles of these to do his duty here. I had last night a meeting of my captains and lieutenants, with a view of imparting to them instruction on some of these points, and shall continue these meetings from time to time until I feel sure that they are familiar with the details. I am anxious that the Board shall settle the question, as far as they can do it, with nnection of the Institute with the Southern Confederacy. I think that all that is valuable in the art of war may be secured by having an understanding with the Confederate Government that at each annual examination the Secretary of War shall notify the Board of Visitors of the number of officers required for the military service, then send a board of examiners to meet when the Boards is in session, that they may examine the graduating classes and report to the President the names of such as are recommended for commissions in the Army, the arm of service for which they are fitted, &c. This would give the Government all the advantage it might require of the school.

[DECEMBER 2, 1861. -For Benjamin to Pike, in relation to raising Indian troops, &c., see Series I, VOL. VIII, p. 699.]