Alabama; John J. Pettus, of Mississippi; F. W. Pickens, of South Carolina; John Milton, of Florida; Z. B. Vance, of North Carolina, and Thomas O. Moore, of Louisiana.)
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, DEPT. OF JUSTICE, Richmond, Va., November 26, 1862.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a dispatch (telegraphic) from Lieut. Colonel E. D. Blake, addressed to General Cooper, sent by yo for my opinion. The question submitted is whether the term "army supplies" in the exemption law is general, or does it apply only to the Ordnance Department. I suppose reference is here made to that portion of the exemption law which declares that "all artisans, mechanics, and employed in the establishments of the Government for the manufacture of arms, ordnance, ordnance stores, and other munitions of war, saddles, harness, and army supplies, who may be certified by the officer in charge thereof as necessary for such establishments," are exempt from military service in the armies of the Confederate States.
The language used as well as the context shows that the term "army supplies" is used in its general sense, and not confined to ordnance sorts or the things made in the Ordnance Department. By the terms of the act quoted the army supplies contemplated must be manufactured in the establishments of the Government, under the charge of an officer appointed by the Government. Whatever these army supplies may be, if manufactured in the establishment belonging to and under the control of the Government by artisans, mechanics, or other employed or the Government, they are covered by the law, and the artisans, mechanics, and employed in their establishments, if certified to be necessary by the offf such establishments, are exempt from military service of the Confederate States. The next clause to the one quoted has reference to artisans, mechanics, and employed in establishments owned by others than the Government, under contracts with the Government, in furnishing arms, ordnance, ordnance stores, and other munitions of war. This clause is subject to a proviso, which places it under the control of the chief of the Ordnance Bureau, and this clause is confined strictly to the Ordnance Department.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. H. WATTS,
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Montgomery, Ala., November 26, 1862.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond:
SIR: I inclose you herewith a copy of resolutions of the Alabama Legislature approved 25th November, declaring the liability of our militia officers to military duty under the conscription act, and on yesterday I telegraphed to you to the same effect, as follows:
Alabama Legislature has resolved that militia offices are liable to enrollment as conscripts. This will surprise many, and if permissible I ask that they may have thirty days to volunteer into companies in service prior to 16th day of April last.