DEPARTMENT OF THE MILITARY,
Columbia, S. C., April 30, 1862.
Hon. G. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I have the honor to inclose for your consideration and official copy of a resolution passed by the Governor and Council of this State. I send with it, as the basis of the action, a communication from General Jones, chairman of the Board of Visitors of the State Military Academy. These papers sufficiently explain the object and reason of this letter, and I will add a very few observations: The students of the academy are always ready, being well officered, organized, armed, and equipped. We have always held them as a most efficient reserve, and if occasion should require they will be far more effective organized as they are than they could be if thrown out separately and absorbed in the various corps of the Army. I earnestly hope that it may be consistent with your views of policy to issue very soon an order giving effect to the request of the Governor and Council in this particular.
There is another subject to which I beg leave to call your attention, and it is certainly not of less importance than the other. The act which provides for exceptions from service under the late conscription law of Congress does not embrace one of the most important classes of our people. The masters or owners of negroes in this State are, for the most part, now in the Army. Before going they had provided themselves with proper overseers for the management of their slaves and for the production of their material supplies, without which not only our people but our armies must perish. If the overseers should now be taken the agricultural industry of this State must be immeasurably damaged and diminished. Substitutes for them, when they are within the conscriptive age, cannot be obtained. The men are not to be had, for they are not in the country, but in the Army or the workshops or manufactures. In view of all this, permit me, therefore, to make ggestions: An order stating that in case where an overseer or manager of slaves between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five has been exempt from the military service by the law of the State in which he resides, he shall be, and is hereby, assigned to the duty in which he is now engaged, without pay from the Confederate Government, until further orders. This will accomplish the object and leave him still under your control.
With an apology for obtruding so much upon you, I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
JAMES CHESNUT, Jr.,
[Inclosure No. 1.]
Columbia, April 30, 1862.
Resolved, That the chief of the department of the military be authorized to correspond with the Confederate Government at Richmond, requesting them to assign the officers and students of the State Military Academy who may be over the age of eighteen years to the duties in which they are now engaged, without pay, subject to be called into active service when occasion may require.
B. F. ARTHUR,
Clerk of Council.