by this law, and also all regiments whatsoever raised since it went into operation. And in both cases they have claimed to commission and appoint all regimental staff officers, even when they conceded to the Executive of the State the appointment of the officers of the line. Again, while appointing and commissioning field officers the Secretary of War has declined to appoint the company officers. To remedy if possible this confusion and to avoid conflict I called in person to see the President, who promised to take the opinion of his Attorney-General on the subject at length. I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing that opinion, and now lay the matter before you and recommend you to take such steps as will preserve the rights and honor of the State. It may well be doubted if the officering of the whole of our troops does not belong exclusively to State authority, as by strict reference to the Constitution they may be found to be in point of law militia. It is mortifying to find entire brigades of North Carolina soldiers in the field commanded by strangers, and in many cases our own brave and war-worn colonels are made to give place to colonels from distant States, who are promoted to the command of North Carolina troops over their heads to vacant brigadierships. Some of these promotions are charged to North Carolina, which enables the authorities to say that we have had so many appointments, when in fact we have not, the appointees not being citizens of our State. This is fast breaking down the pride and patience of our officers, many of whom have reported to me their intention to resign, alleging that the road to honorable promotion is almost closed to our citizens. This is not right, and forms a just cause of complaint both in our Army and with our people at home. We are willing that our soldiers should follow any general capable of leading them, but we contend that as a matter of sheer justice our soldiers are entitled to receive their fair proportion of the honors won by their gallantry and endurance.
I would also recommend that the existing prohibition against the distillation of spirits from all kinds of grain be continued during the war. There is no grain to spare for such purposes, and all the medical needs of the country and Army can be abundantly supplied by the liquors made from the fruit crop. Should even the supply for the Army fail, it cannot be doubted that is much better for the soldier to go without spirits than that his wife and child should go without punishment of all persons who may be convicted of speculating in any of the necessaries of life under the false pretense of being Government agents.
In order to keep the highways of the country in better condition (they having since the commencement of the war been permitted to get in very bad repair) I recommend that the Revised Code be so amended that the age to be reached to entitle a man to exemption from working on the roads shall be fifty years, instead of forty-five as now.
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In conclusion, gentlemen, allow me to urge upon you the vital importance of bringing forth all the powers and resources of the State for the common defense of our country and our cause. The two great dangers we have to meet will be found connected with our currency and supplies for our army. Men enough to protect us and drive back the invader we can always get, if we can properly clothe and feed them. Let us do this and preserve our paper from depreciation and