GENERAL ORDERS, WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, No. 56.
Richmond, August 6, 1862.
I. Military commanders have no authority to suspend the writ of habeas corpus; nor does martial law, when declared by the President under the act of Congress, justify the arbitrary establishment of the price of commodities in the trade of the citizens of the Confederate States.
II. Necessity alone can warrant the impressment of private property for public use; and wherever the requisite supplies can be obtained by the consent of the owners at fair rates, and without hazardous delay, the military authorities will abstain from the harsh proceeding of impressment.
III. Paragraph V, General Orders, No. 38, current series, is hereby revoked; and all discharges will hereafter be made under the eleventh Article of War, and General Orders, No. 26, current series.
Adjutant and Inspector General.
RICHMOND, VA., August 6, 1862.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
The policy of the Northern leaders in the war for the subjugation of the Southern people has been to take our chief sea-coast cities, so as to cut off all supplies from foreign countries, get possession of the border States of Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee, which are the great grain-growing States, properly belonging to the Confederacy; cut the railway connections between Virginia and the cotton States, and cut the cotton region in two divisions by getting full possession of the Mississippi river. by getting possession of the sea-coast cities on the one side and the principal grain-growing region on the other; by separating the cotton region of the Confederacy from Virginia and cutting it into two separate divisions; by commanding completely the Mississippi River, they expected to starve the people into subjection, or crush out one division after another by the great advantage they would possess in concentrating heavy forces upon any given section or division. The lull brought upon the people of the Confederate States by their great success during the first six months of the contest has enabled their persevering enemy to half succeed in their well-laid schemes for the complete subjugation of the Southern people. The late victories of the Confederate forces, and the repulses which the Northern troops have met with lately, have stirred up the Northern Government and people to such exertions as will in their opinion complete our subjugation at no distant day. The object of first magnitude, under existing circumstances, upon our part, is to get possession of Western Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. By securing a firm foothold in these Stats and arming the people loyal to our cause, all the land forces within the limits of the Confederate States proper belonging to the enemy, and not protected by the sea or inland navigation too wide to be commanded by cannon, may be taken or driven beyond our limits; the Mississippi River and all the railway connections we have lost may be regained. The shortest way, then, to clear our coast of the invaders (provided a majority of the people of the Northwest could first be brought to favor an honorable peace)