has the consent of State authority to take cattle or other means of subsistence from the State without the knowledge and consent of the officers in command of the military district in this State. Moreover, I have too much confidence in the patriotism and intelligence of the citizens of Florida to believe that any respectable portion of them could be induced to sell to speculators cattle or any article or subsistence needed for the support of the armies in Confederate service, or that they will refuse to sell to officers in Confederate service (properly authorized to purchase) all the means of subsistence they have not absolutely necessary to the support of their own, soldiers' families, and unfortunate fellow-citizens dependent upon their good will for support. I hope, therefore, that there will be no necessity for impressments to be made, but if there should be, no obstacle will be interposed by State authority to prevent the legal and equitable enforcement of the act of Congress upon the subject; but I have maintained and shall adhere to the position, unless I shall be convinced that I am in error, than no citizen subject to conscription and physically able to perform military service can be exempted by your appointment of him as an agent to impress, and therefore that you cannot with legal propriety appoint such an agent. Of the fourteen persons named as sub-agents in your letter there are, if I mistake not, eleven or twelve of them who are not in military service, are subject to conscription, and are named as the sub-agents of the agents appointed by yourself.
Presuming Majs. A. B. Noyes, J. B. Baldwin. A. G. Summer, [Mr.] James McKay, Captain J. D. Westcott, Captain C. F. Stubbs, and Isaac Widgeon, and yourself to be authorized by your assurance of the fact I will give the assurance by proclamation to the citizens of this State, and I shall do this the more cheerfully because I know or believe the gentlemen named to be either in Confederate military service or exempted by age from it. Until I shall be informed by the Secretary of War that it is proper that persons subject to conscription and physically able to perform military service can legally and properly be authorized as sub-agents to impress, I shall decline to declare them so by proclamation. In a general order upon the subject General Brag has made known his opinion that none but commissioned officers can legally make impressments, and complains of the demoralizing influences produced by illegal impressments upon the Army, and it is not difficult to conjecture what may be the deleterious effect upon the Army if during their absence in military service their families shall be made to suffer by impressments unnecessarily or illegally made. Brave men had rather fight upon half rations of bread, or even parched corn, than to have their families deprived of the means of subsistence necessary to their support. But I entertain the hope, and I think reasonably, that the people of Florida would much rather live on bread than that the soldiers in service be constrained to live without meat. There I hope that personally and by those under your command you will appeal properly to the citizens of the State to supply the Army with beef, pork, bacon, molasses, syrup, sugar, &c., and if you shall find them deaf to the appeal and disposed to sell to speculators, or unnecessarily to withhold from the armies the means of subsistence, against such person and all such persons, it is hoped, you will proceed agreeably to the act of Congress regulating impressments to provide for the support of the armies.
I deem it unnecessary to reply to the portions of your communication in the which you speak of your officers being willing to take the responsibility, and in order to sustain the Army run the risks and