War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 1084 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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the executive department, the heads and necessary clerks of the other department of the State Government, and the tax collectors and receivers of the different counties, who are now in midst of their duties, and are not permitted by law to supply substitutes, and whose duties must be performed or the revenues of the State cannot be collected. The same remark applies to the staff of the commander-in-chief. There is no statute exempting them from military duty for the reason that they are at all times subject to the command of the Governor and are not expected to go into the ranks. The State's quartermaster, commissary, ordnance, and engineer departments fall within the same rule. The major-generals, brigadier-generals, and other field officers of the militia would seem to be entitled to like consideration.

Again, the Western and Atlantic Railroad is the property of the State, and is under the control and management of the Governor. It is a source of revenue to the State, and its successful management is a matter of great military importance both to the State and the Confederacy. I now have an efficient force of officers and workmen upon the road, and must suspend operations if all between eighteen and thirty-five are taken away from the road. I would also invite your attention to the further fact that the State owns and controls the Georgia Military Institute, at Marietta, and now has in the institute over 125 cadets, a large proportion of whom are within the age of conscripts. If they are not exempt this most important institution is broken up. I must not omit in this connection the students of the State University and of the other colleges of the State. These valuable institutions of learning must also be suspended if the law is enforced against the students. I would also respectfully call your attention to the further fact that in portions of our State where the slave population is heavy almost the entire white male population capable of bearing arms (except the overseers on the plantations) are now in the military service of the Confederacy. Most of these overseers are over eighteen and under thirty-five. If they are carried to the field thousands of slaves must be left without overseers, and their labor not only lost at a time when there is great need of it in the production of provisions and supplies for our armies, but the peace and safety of helpless women and children must be imperiled for want of protection against bands of idle slaves, who must be left to roam over the country without restraint. It is also worthy of remark that a large proportion of our best mechanics, and of the persons engaged in the various branches of manufactures now of vital importance to the success of our cause, are within the ages which subject them to the provisions of the conscription act. My remark that I cannot permit the enrollment of such State officers as are necessary to the existence of the State government and the working of the State road does not of course apply to persons engaged in the other useful branches of industry considered of paramount importance; but I must ask, in justice to the people of this State, that such exemptions among these classes be made as the public necessities may require.

As you are well aware, the military operations of the Government cannot be carried on without the use of all our railroads, and the same necessity exists for the exemption of all other railroad officers and workmen which exists in the case of the State road. There are doubtless other important interests not herein enumerated which will readily occur to you which must be kept alive or the most serious consequences must ensue. The Constitution to Congress the power