War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0033 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

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in your case, it was freely given, I wish it to be received with every mark of consideration and courtesy. The matter will receive prompt attention, and a further reply will be made to you when I am better informed of the action of the War Department. In the meantime I have wished to assure you of my regret that anything should have happened which evinced the least neglect of that which I recognize as due to you, not only in virtue of your office, but also because of your cordial and efficient aid to our efforts to provide for the command defense.

Very respectfully, your fellow-citizen,

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

[AUGUST 4, 1862. -For Price to Pettus, invoking his assistance by calling out militia in Mississippi, &c., see Series I, VOL. XVII, Part II, p. 664.]

[AUGUST 4, 1862. -For proclamation by Governor of Virginia calling on "militia not now in service to unite with him in a prompt and vigorous effort to repel the enemy," &c., see Series I, VOL. XII, Part III, p. 923.]

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT,

Richmond, August 5, 1862.

His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,

President, &c.:

SIR: I have the honor to inclose an opinion* of the Attorney-General upon the question whether persons under eighteen and over thirty-five years of age in service at the time of the passage of the act or ninety days from the expiration of their respective terms of service.

He decides that those whose terms expired within ninety days from the passage of the act were required to serve during the ninety days, but that all others of the class must be discharged at the expiration of their terms of service.

I submit with all due deference to the learned Attorney-General that his distinction between those whose terms expire within ninety days from the passage of the act and the remainder of the class is unsupported by the language or the policy of the act and is productive of inequality and injustice.

The language of the act is that all persons under eighteen and over thirty-vie years of age shall be required to remain "for ninety days. " (Section 1.) The Attorney-General says that some shall remain ninety days from the passage of the act, and others much more.

He equally violates the policy of the act as declared in its preamble. It was passed to "keep in service our gallant Army," and yet he discharges a considerable portion of it at the end of their term of enlistment. They are not kept a single day, although they constitute a part of the Army required to be kept in the service. His construction produces inequality and injustice, for it is neither equal nor just

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*See Watts to Randolph, July 24, p. 15.

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3 R R-SERIES IV, VOL II