War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 1139 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

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enrollment had not yet been commenced, and a considerable period would elapse before arrangements could be made to carry out the provisions of the law; third, in cases of peculiar hardship substitutes might be furnished.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.

The impression which you allude to as prevailing in the community, "that there is odium attached to those who delay enlisting until they are brought into the ranks under provisions of that (the conscription) law," must arise from an entire misapprehension of the object, which is to ascertain the number of persons between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five available for military service, and to have them prepared for such service in camps of instruction, that they may be called upon as the exigencies of the country require. The law simply offers a substitute for the previous methods of raising troops. Its operation embraces all communities of the Confederate States, and can in no way bring discredit upon any individual.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Richmond, May 31, 1862.

I. General officers and officers in command of departments, districts, and separate posts will make a detail of men from their commands to work the niter caves which may be situated within the limits of their respective commands. These details will be made on the requisition of the officer on charge of the Niter Bureau in the War Department. the men thus detailed will be organized temporarily under the command of the niter officer on charge of the particular cave, who will make monthly reports to the general or other officer commanding the department, district, or post in which the cave may be located, in order that such commanding officer may treat as deserters such of the detailed men as may leave the works without permission. And it is enjoined upon generals and other commanding officers to give protection, as far as possible and to the extent of their means, against any encroachments of the enemy upon the niter caves within the limits of their commands.

II. All persons in the employment of the Niter Bureau, whether contractors for manufacturing saltpeter, or laborers in their employment, are exempt by law from enrollment.

III. Officers of the Quartermaster's and Commissary Department will furnish the officers and men of the Niter Bureau with provisions and forage as in the case of ordnance officers and men in the field.

IV. Officers of the Niter Bureau are authorized to impress free negroes for the purposes of working the niter caves, who will be paid wages and be furnished with subsistence.

V. Paragraph No. 161, General Regulations of the Army, relating to discharge in hospital, is so far modified as to dispense with the necessity of sending certificates of disability in the case of soldiers sick in the hospitals in Richmond to the commandants of regiments where communication with them is difficult and cases urgent. In all such cases the certificate will be sent to Brigadier Gen. John H. Winder, commanding the Department of Henrico, who will grant the discharge and notify the same to theander, who will cause the