War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 1069 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

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to Missouri, Price would have overwhelmed the Federal army. They are needed now at Corinth and on the Mississippi. If at the right place they could beat back the enemy and save the country from invasion. It was the imbecility of the War Department that lost Nashville to the Confederates, with the population and valuable manufactures of West Tennessee. If the South is overrun and millions of property destroyed within the next six weeks it will be owing to the same vacillating and criminal neglect of the Department over which your preside. These Texans cannot now reach the field in time. If every other State has thus been held back we have an inadequate force to prevent the enemy from accomplishing the work of invasion. The eyes of the country are on you. The historian will not fail to perceive and to chronicle your ability or your weakness, whether under your genius the country exerted its whole strength or was ruined by a want firmness or intellect. If we are ruined you will be the acknowledged author of our misfortunes.

Very truly, &c.,


APRIL 17, 1862.


I deem it my duty to call your attention to some practical difficulties which will occur in the execution of the law just passed for the conscription of all persons subject to military duty between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years,* and to point out some omissions that it seems wise to supply. First. There are a number of troops in the service of the several States for which no provision is made. They have been organized for State defense, which is necessarily the public defense, but are not a part of the armies of the Confederacy. It would not be politic to break up these organizations for the purpose of taking out of them such of the men as are subject to conscription for distribution among other troops. I suggest that power be granted to the Executive to accept a transfer of such regiments, battalions, squadrons, or companies now in the service of the respective States as may be tendered by the States, according to any organization consistent with the Confederate laws. Second. In the tenth section of the bill there is a seeming conflict between two clauses, one of which requires that in all cases elections shall be held to fill the lowest grade, while another gives power to promote from the ranks to any vacant office a private who may have distinguished himself conspicuously. I would be glad to have the intent of Congress on this point stated in an amendment to the bill. Third. Under the fourth section of the act of the 11th of December, 1861, it was declared that all troops revolunteering or re-enlisting shall, at the expiration of their present term of service, have the power to reorganize themselves into companies and elect their company officers; and that said companies should have the right to reorganize themselves into battalions or regiments, and elect their field officers, &c. By the second section of the act just passed, 16th of April, 1862, it is prohibited to include in the organization of such new companies and regiments as may be completed within thirty days, "any persons now in the service. " It is submitted whether bare justice to the men who first entered the military service, and who have again voluntarily enrolled themselves to


* See act of April 16, in General Orders, No. 30, April 28, p. 1095.