the sutlers. A gallon of molasses will form a ration for thirty-two men, at one gill per man, and the cost of the ration will be less than one cent at present prices. Molasses and sugar for a year's supply can now the purchased for Confederate bonds, and I respectfully recommend that this be done at the present low rates. I inclose an estimate of the amount required and respectfully request that you will submit this recommendation and estimate to Congress. *
Your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War.
Milledgeville, Ga., February 4, 1862.
Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
DEAR SIR: By reference to the fourth section of an act of Congress entitled "An act providing for granting of bounty and furloughs to privates and non-commissioned officers in the Provisional Army," which I see published in the newspapers, I find that provision is made for reorganizing troops in service who revolunteer or re-enlist into companies, battalions, and regiments, by election of their officers, and after first election vacancies to be filled by promotion, &c. As some company elections of this character have been held by men in companies belonging to Georgia regiments now in the service of the Confederate, but whose term of service has not yet expired, and the election returns have been forwarded to this office requesting commissions, I venture to trouble you with this note of inquiry, hoping that I may learn what is your construction of the section above referred to.
First. Is it your construction that the company and field officers elected under the provisions of this act are to be commissioned by you or by the Government of the respective States to which the troops belong?
Second. Do you or not draw any distinction in reference to the authority to commission between those troops who entered the Confederate service through State authority, bearing commissions from the Executives of their respectives States, and those who entered independent of State authority and were commissioned by the President, or must all when they re-enter the service under the late fact be commissioned by the same authority which commissioned them at first?
Third. Upon what terms, if any, will State troops now in State service for a term of six months be permitted to re-enlist for Confederate service, and from whom will their officers, when the companies, battalions, or regiments are organized, receive commissions under the act above referred to?
Fourth. What construction do you place upon the words "reserving to the States respectively the appointment of the officers" in the sixteenth item of the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution of the Confederate States? I beg leave to assure you that it is my sincere desire in this eventful period of our history to avoid all conflict between the State and Confederate Governments, as I have no hope of the future permanence of our institutions unless each confines itself within the sphere assigned to it by the Constitution and carefully avoids the assumption of powers which properly belong to the
* Estimate not found as an inclosure.