they are so mustered in. If I am correct in this I feel it my duty to state to you, with perfect frankness, that I am satisfied that the requisition cannot be filled by the time you prescribe, if indeed it can be filled at all. The volunteers do not themselves bound until mustered in, and it is all important that this should be done as early as possible. If they could be mustered in squads of not less than ten or twenty as fast as that number arrived at the camp which might be designated, and on condition that if the requisite number was not obtained within a fixed day to complete the company to which they were to be attached they should either be distributed into other companies who had not the maximum number, or formed with other squads into new companies. This course was successfully tried in the late requisition made upon this State by General A. S. Johnston. If it can be allowed in the present instance, I would urge that the authority as to mustering in both companies and squads, as well as the distribution of the latter as proposed on their organization into companies, be delegated to the State Executive to be exercised by his direction, rather than by the Confederate officers. The former would be to a certain extent responsible for the exercise of this power so as most to promote the comfort of the volunteers, and they would accept the conditions the more readily and c one case than in the other. As to the mere act of mustering in, the reasons are still stronger in favor of the exercise of that power by the State. The Confederate officers can scarcely find time to muster in companies, much less squads. In Montgomery, for instance, there is a quartermaster, a commissary, and an ordnance officer, all of whom are charged with important duties at the time their services as mustering officers are required. The men become restless, enough leave to reduce the ranks below the minimum number, and the consequence is the disbandment of the company. It is within my own personal knowledge that the Confederacy has lost the services of 2,000 volunteers in this State for no other cause than that the mustering officer was prevented by his other duties from leaving this point on the day on which the companies were ready. Why should not this authority be delegated to the State Executive? It costs the Confederacy nothing, and I venture the assertion that my aides-de-camp, or the officers I should detail to discharge this duty, would perform it as correctly and with as much alacrity as the Confederate officers.
As to subsistence, I would respectfully suggest that as soon as a certain number of volunteers arrived and are mustered in, either as companies or squads, upon the conditions I have specified, they should be subsisted from that time. The expectant officers and their friends cannot subsist their men from the time they commence recruiting until the number requisite to complete the company is obtained. I speak within bounds when I say that thousands have been lost to the service from this cause alone. What I propose is simply this: As fast as volunteers arrive at the camps I would muster them in by companies or squads, the latter signing a printed engagement with the proper conditions. They should receive subsistence from that time. Other details can be added which your own practical experience and judgment will if necessary readily suggest.
In relation to the payment of the bounty money, I would beg leave to suggest that it would contribute much to the success of the requisition if I could give my personal and official assurance that its payment would be punctually made. The volunteers as a class can seldom appreciate the difficulties in this direction, and any delay in