War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0042 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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cases where the soldier did not belong to the class which was to constitute the Army of the Confederate States.

I have said this much not to sustain or combat any particular opinion, but the rather to show how well you might have entertained a doubt as to the true meaning of the law, which warranted you in calling upon the Attorney-General for an official opinion, and also to sustain me in suggesting to you the propriety of accepting the opinion, although you judgment may not be entirely convinced. The opinion of the law officer of the Government, though it cannot bind the conscience of the head of a Department, nor therefore entirely relieve him from responsibility, may well be relied upon to solve a doubt, and in questionable cases to sanction official action. Comity between the different Departments indicates the propriety of accepting an opinion on a question of law which has been given by the Attorney-General in response to the request of a member of the Cabinet.

I am, very respectfully and truly, yours,



Richmond, August 11, 1862.

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V. Whereas doubts have arisen with reference to the term of service of the men of the First Maryland Regiment, it is ordered that the said regiment be disbanded, and the members thereof, with all other native and adopted citizens of Maryland desirous of enlisting into the service of the Confederate States, are invited to enroll and organize themselves into companies, squadrons, battalions, and regiments, the officers of which are to be elected. The organization hereby authorized will be known as the Maryland Line.

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By command of the Secretary of War:


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Richmond, August 12, 1862.


President of the Confederate States:

SIR: Although it is not customary for the heads of Departments to make reports at extra sessions of Congress, yet, in consideration of recent changes in the organization of the Army, and of the necessity for further legislation, it is deemed best to depart from this usage on the present occasion.

It became apparent in the course of the last spring to all acquainted with the condition of the Army that the acts of Congress providing for re-enlistments would not effect the desired object. The privilege allowed of re-enlisting for different corps, and even for different arms of the service, coupled with the love of change always found in camps, and heightened in the case of our armies by the monotony and discomfort of winter quarters, caused such extensive changes that the re-enlistments tended to the disorganization of the Army.

Large numbers of our men, yearning for home, weary of the discomfort of camp life, and deceived by the apparent inactivity of the