War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0363 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

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Richmond, January 19, 1863.

Colonel J. GORGAS,

Chief of Ordnance:

The act (No. 21) of the first session of the Provisional Congress, entitled "An act to provide munitions of war," &c., authorizes the Secretary of War, under the direction of the President, "to make contracts for the purchase and manufacture of heavy ordnance and small-arms" in such manner and on such terms as in his judgment the public exigencies may require. The question you present is whether the President exhausts all his authority in making the contract, or can he authorize a modification when he supposes that the modification proposed will better accomplish his object. And upon this question there can be little room for doubt when we consider the expansive language of the authority conferred upon him. His authority is only restricted by his views of the exigencies of the public. It has been suggested that the tenth article of the ninth section of the Constitution may contain a restriction upon this power. That article prohibits Congress from granting extra compensation to any public contractor, officer, or agent after such contract shall have been made or such service rendered. This prohibition is special as to Congress and does not embrace in its terms the President. The settlement of contracts and the adjustment of compensation are, in general, administrative duties committed to the Executive Department under legal regulations. A large discretion must be committed to the officers of that Department in such cases, or the efficiency of the service would be enervated. On the other hand, these are not properly subjects of legislative management. Much abuse originated in the control that the Congress of the United States exerted over such subjects. The members were exposed to solicitation from greedy contractors and dishonest claim agents, and much corruption was introduced into the Federal Legislature in the effort to secure extra allowances the extension of the prohibition beyond the plain language of the Constitution.

For Secretary of War.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Secretary of War.


ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE No. 7. Richmond, January 19, 1863.

I. The exemption from military service of route agents of the Post-Office Department having been claimed by the Postmaster-General as executive officers of the Confederate States, under the act of October 11, 1862, is recognized. Such persons, if within conscript ages, will be enrolled and furnished with certificates exempting them during the continuance of their appointments. In all cases where the appointment fails or the term thereof expires the party is required to report himself to the officer by whom he was enrolled, or if he cannot be found to the Adjutant and Inspector General at Richmond.

II. Hereafter all field artillery belonging to any separate army will be parked together under the direction of the general or other chief