War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0898 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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NEW ORLEANS, LA., January 31, 1862.


Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: I have in Havana some eighteen hundred and odd Enfield and Brunswick rifles; on board the Gladiator at Nassau about 500, and about 800 at Cardenas, if the Stephen Hart, that left Liverpool early in November for that port, has arrived. You have a valuable cargo of arms, &c., on the Gladiator at Nassau and arms at Cardenas, for which Mr. Heyliger was sent. The difficulty thus far in getting these arms to the Confederate States has proven insuperable. In order to obtain them, as they are so greatly needed, I am willing to incur a heavy risk to get those belonging to this State if you will join in the adventure and the risk in proportion to the amount of arms, &c., which you have at the places referred to. I propose to take up a fast steamer (we have many here), send her out with or without cotton, as you prefer, and bring home the arms. I will take care that she is properly officered, with competent river and coast pilots on board. There are a number of steamers here that can outrun anything in the Navy of the United States, and I feel great confidence in the success of the enterprise. If you will share in the risk on the terms proposed, telegraph immediately.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,




February 1, 1862.


I return with my objections the bill passed by you entitled "An act to provide for granting furloughs in certain cases. "

Before proceeding to lay before you the special objections entertained to the provisions of this bill it is proper that I should express the firm conviction that it is, from the nature of things, impracticable to administer an army in the field by statute. The Constitution vests in the Congress the power "to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces. " None can deny the wisdom of this proviopriety of the exercise of this power by the Congress in its full extent; but there is an obvious distinction between making rules for the government of the Army and undertaking to administer of such matters as are in their nature susceptible of fixed and unvarying application, there can be no impolicy in providing them by statute. Thus we have by law fixed guides for organization, for the composition of the different corps, for the number of officers and their grades, for the respective duties assigned to the staff in its several branches, and numerous like provisions that remain in force in all localities, in the presence as well as the absence of the enemy, and uninfluenced by the exigencies of any particular occasion. But there are other matters which are essentially administrative in their character, and are not suspectable of being determined by the rigid prescriptions of statutes which executive officers are bound to obey under all circumstances and without the exercise of any discretion. Suppose Congress should attempt to fix by law of what camp