Your Excellency may find some things in this circular worthy of your consideration.
RICHMOND, VA., April 16, 1863.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
Having approved and signed a bill which originated in your body entitled "An act to allow minors to hold commissions in the Army," * I deem it due to many meritorious officers in the service to make a short explanation.
The bill, in my opinion, is only declaratory of the pre-existing law. No prohibition existed, prior to its passage, against the issue of commissions either in the permanent of Provisional Army to persons under twenty-one years of age. Many of the commissioned officers of the Provisional Army have attained high rank by election and promotion before attaining the age of twenty-one years.
The only objection, therefore, that I could entertain to signing the bill in question was based on the apprehension that the approval of an act allowing commissions to be issued to minors ": from and after the passage of the act" might imply that the commissions heretofore issued to juniors are invalid.
It seemed, however, more proper to sign the act, which in itself was unobjectionable, and to address to you this explanation, which will obviate, it is believed, the only ill consequence that could flow from the passage of the law.
AN ACT to allow minors to hold commissions in the Army.
The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That from and after the passage of this act, commissions in the Army of the Confederate States, and in the Provisional Army of the Confederate State, may be issued to persons under twenty-one years of ago, except in the case of officers who are required by law to give bond. Approved April 16, 1863.
AN ACT for the relief of the Brunswick and Alabama Railroad Company.
Whereas, the Brunswick and Albany Railroad, in the State of Georgia, has been run and used as a military necessity, from the month of September, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, to the present time, and no charge for the use of the said road has been made by the proprietors thereof against the Government: Therefore, to preserve the said railroad from being broken up or destroyed,
The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the stock and bonds of the Brunswick and Albany Railroad Company, returned, or which may be returned to the received at Savannah, as property of alien enemies, and sequestered, or which may be sequestered by decree of the proper courts, shall not be sold at public auction not otherwise disposed of during the continence to the war, but
* Next, post.