CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, December 17, 1862.
Hon. HERSCHEL V. JOHNSON,
Bartow, Jefferson County, Ga.:
SIR: Your letter of the 10th instant has been received. Your inquiry is whether you have a right to have an overseer between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, under the circumstances in which you are placed as a Senator obliged to be absent for a portion of the year. The key to the construction of the conscription and exemption acts is contained in the first sentences of the former. This sentence is similar in each, and I quote from the last act:
That the President be and he is authorized to call out and place in the military service of the Confederate States for three years * * * all white men * * * residents * * * (between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five, act of October) at the time the call or calls may be made, and who are not at such time or times legally exempted from military service.
The exempts are determined by the exemption bills. Your plantation at the date of the calls had an owner resident upon it, and was not in the charge of an overseer exclusively. Your overseer, if you had one, was not then exempt as such. He was liable to conscription, and you could not by an ex post facto act relieve him. The President has not make a call for persons between forty and forty-five. You can employ such a person, and if he has the charge of your plantation at the time of a subsequent call and there is no adult upon it he would probably be exempt from that call.
For Secretary of War.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. CAMPBELL,
Assistant Secretary of War.
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., December 18, 1862.
Hon. JAMES M. MASON,
Minister, &c., at the Court of Saint James:
SIR: This will be transmitted to you by Captain William G. Crenshaw, of Richmond, Va., who has been for some time past serving with distinction as the captain of a battery raised by himself in our Confederate Army. He has been one of the most intelligent, extensive, and successful merchants of our city; having besides other important enterprises almost inaugurates and established the coffee trade between Virginia and Brazil; and such confidence has been felt in his commercial knowledge and enterprise that it has been thought advisable, first by the Navy Department, and now by this, that he should go to England to attend to important interests of the former Department, and to indicate and carry out, if, on fuller inquiry and ascertainment of the changes of success, he should deem it judicious, operations for running the blockade of our ports, and supplying this Department on a consideration scale with the munitions, army supplies, and drugs, so essential to maintain the efficiency of our forces. The scheme of these operations in its details will be explained to you best by Mr. Crenshaw in person.
Its general features are that steamers or vessels, as he may conclude best adapted for the purpose, should be built or purchased by him in