Confederate States Congress.
Monday, August 18th, 1862.
The Confederate States Senate met pursuant to adjournment, at noon, in the Capitol Vice President Stephens
called the Senate to order.
Prayer by Rev. Dr. Seeley
of the 2d Baptist Church.
proceeded to call the roll, the following Senators
answering to their names Alabama Messrs. Yancey
and Clay, Florida
, Messrs. Maxwell
, B. H. Hill
, Kentucky H. C. Burnett
, Louisiana, T. J. Semmes Mississippi
, Messrs Brown
, Missouri Jno. B. Clark
, North Carolina
, Messrs. Davis
, London C. Haynes
, Messrs. Wigfall
The absentees wire Messrs. Johnson
; J. W. Lewis
of Ga.; Wm. E. Simms
, of Ky.; Ed. Sparrow
, of La.
, R. L. Y. Peyter
, Messrs. Barnwell
, of S. C. G. A. Henry
, of Tenn.
, of Ala.
, gave notice that he could move an amendment to the rules of the Senate tomorrow, by striking out the 43d and 46th rules, and inserting in item of the latter the following:
"All legislative sessions of the Senate shall be held with open doors, except when otherwise ordered by a vote of two thirds of the members of the Senate — said vote to be taken by yeas and says.
, of Ala.
, from the committee appointed to wait upon the President
, etc., reported that the joint committee had performed the army assigned to them, and were advised by the President
that he would communicate with Congress forthwith, in writing.
Afterwards the following message was received and read by the Clerk
It is again our fortune to meet for devising measures necessary to the public welfare whilst our country is involved in a desolating war. The sufferings endured by some portions of the people excite the deep solicitude of the Government
; and the sympathy thus evoked has been heightened by the patriotic devotion with which these sufferings has been borne.
The gallantry and good conduct of our troops, always claiming the gratitude of the country have been further illustrated on hard-fought fields, marked by exhibitions of individual prowess which can and but few parallels in ancient or modern times.
Our army has not faltered in any of the various trials to which it has been subjected, and the great body of the people has continued to manifest a zeal and unanimity which not only cheer the battle-stained soldier, but give assurance to the friends of constitutional liberty of our final triumph in the pending struggle against despotic usurpation.
The vast army which threatened the Capital
of the Confederacy
has been defeated and driven from the lines of investment, and the enemy, repeatedly fobbed in his efforts for its capture, is now seeking to raise new armies on a scales such as modern history does not record to effect that subjugation of the South
so often proclaimed as on the eve of accomplishment.
The perfidy which disregarded rights secured by compact, the madness which trampled on obligation made sacred by every consideration of honor, have been intensified by the malignity engendered by defeat.
These passions have changed the character of the hostilities waged by our enemies, who are becoming daily less regardful of the usages of civilized war and the dictates of humanity.
Rapine and wanton destruction of private property, war upon non-combatants, murder of captives, bloody threats to avenge the death of an invading soldiery by the slaughter of unarmed citizens, orders of banishment against peaceful families engaged in the cultivation of the soil, are some of the means used by our ruthless invaders to enforce the submission of a free people to foreign away.
Confiscation bills, of a character so atrocious as to ensure, if executed, the utter rain of the entire population of these States, are passed by their Congress and approved by their Executive.
The moneyed obligations of the Confederate Government are forged by citizens of the United States
and publicly advertised for sale in their cities with a notoriety which sufficiently attests the knowledge of their Government; and its compel city in the crime is further evinced by the fact that the soldiers of the invading armies are found applied with large quantities of these forged notes, as a means of disporting the country people, by brand, out of such portions of their property as armed violence may fail to reach.
Two, at least, of the Generals
of the United States
are engaged, unchecked by their Government, in exciting service insurrection, and in arming and training slaves for warfare against their masters, citizens of the Confederacy
Another has been found of instincts so brutal as to invite the violence of his soldiery almost the women of a captured city.
Yet the rebuke of civilized man has failed to evoke from the authorities of the United States
one mark of disapprobation of his acts; nor is there any reason to suppose that the conduct of Benjamin F. Batler
has failed to secure from his Government the sanction and applause with which it is known to have been greeted by public meetings and portions of the press of the United States
To inquires made of the Commanded-in-Chief
of the armies of the United States
, whether the atrocious conduct of some of their military commandants met the sanction of that Government, answer has been eluded on the pretext that the inquiry was insulting, and no method remains for the repression of these enormities but such retributive justice as it may be found possible to execute.
Retaliation in kind, for many of them, is impracticable, forth have had occasion to remark in a former message, that under no excess of provocation could our noble-hearted defenders be driven to wreak vengeance on unarmed men, on women, or on children.
But stern and exemplary punishment can and must be meted out to the murderers and belong who, disgracing the profession of arms, seek to make of public war the occasion for the commission of the most monstrous crimes.
Deeply as we regret the character of the contest into which we are about to be forced, we must accept it as an alternative which recent manifestations give us little hope can be avoided.
The exasperation of failure has aroused the worst passions of our enemies; a large portion of their people, even of their clergymen, now engaged in urging an excited populace to the extreme of rusticity; and nothing remains but to vindicate our rights and to maintain our existence by employing against our foe every energy and every resource at our disposed.
I append for your information a copy of the papers exhibiting the action of the Government
, up to the present time, for the repression of the outrages committed on our people.
Other measures now in progress will be submitted hereafter.
In inviting your attention to the legislation which the necessities of our condition require, those connected with the prosecution of the war command almost undivided attention.
The acts passed at your last session intended to secure the public defence by general enrollment, and to render uniform the rules governing troops in the service, have led to some unexpected criticism that is much to be regretted.
The efficiency of the law has been thus somewhat impaired though it is not believed that in any of the States the popular mind has withheld its sanction from either the necessity or propriety of your legislation.
It is only by harmonious as well as zealous action that a Government as new as ours, ushered into existence on the very eve of a great war, and unprovided with the material necessary for conducting hostilities on so vast a scale, can fulfill its duties.
Upon you, who are fully intermed of the acts and purposes of the Government
, and thoroughly imbued with the feelings and resentments of the people, must reliances be placed to secure this great object.
You can best devise the means for establishing that entire co-operation of the State
and Confederate Governments which is so essential to the well being of both at all those, but which is now indispensable to their very existence.
And if any legislation shall seem to you appropriate for adjusting differences of opinion, it will be my pleasure as well as duty to co-operate in any measure that may be devised for reconciling a just care for the public defence with proper deference for the most scrupulous susceptibilities of the State
The report of the Secretary of the Treasury
will exhibit in detail the operations of that department.
It will be seen with satisfaction that the credit of the Government
securities remains unimpaired, and that this credit is fully justified by the comparatively small amount of accumulated debt, notwithstanding the magnitude of our military operations.
The legislation of the last session provided for the purchase of supplies with the bonds of the Government
, but the preference of the people for Treasury notes has been so marked that legislation is recommended to authorize an increase in the issue of Treasury notes, which the public service seems to require.
No grave inconvenience need be apprehended from this increased issue, as the provision of law by which those notes are convertible into eight percent, bonds forms an efficient and permanent safeguard against any serious depreciation of the currency.
Your attention is also invited to the means proposed by the Secretary
for facilitating the preparation of these notes, and for guarding them against forgery.
It is due to our people to state that the manufacture of counterfeit notes exists within our limits, and that they are all imported from the Northern States
The report of the Secretary of War
, which is submitted, contains numerous suggestions for the legislation deemed desirable, in order to add to the efficiency of the service.
I invite your favorable consideration especially to those recommendations which are intended to secure the proper execution of the Conscript law, and the consolidation of companies, battalions and regiments, when so reduced in strength as to impair that uniformity of organization which is necessary in the army, while an undue burthen is imposed on the treasury.
The necessity for some legislation for controlling military transportation on the railroads, and improving their present defective condition, forces itself upon the attention of the Government
, and I trust you will be able to devise satisfactory measures for attaining this purpose.
The Legislation on the subject of general officers involves the service in some difficulties which are pointed out by the Secretary
, and for which the remedy suggested by him seems appropriate.
In connection with this subject, I am of opinion that prudence dictates some provision for the increase of the army in the event of emergencies not now anticipated.
The very large increase of forces recently called into the field by the of the United States
, may render it necessary are after to extend the provisions of the Cen so as to embrace persons between the of thirty-five and forty-five years. The vizor and efficiency of our present forces, their co and the skill and ability which distinguish their leaders, inspire the belief that no further enrollment will be necessary.
But a wise foresight requires that, if a necessity should be suddenly developed during the recess of Congress requiring increased forces for our defence means should exist for calling such forces into the field without awaiting the re-assembling of the legislative department of the Government
In the election and appointment of officers for the provisional army, it was for be anticipated that mistakes would be made, and incompetent officers of all grades introduced into the service.
In the absence of experience, and with no reliable guide for selection, Executive appointments, as well as elections, have been sometimes unfortunate.
The good of the service, the interests of our country conquer that some means be devised for withdrawing the commissions of officers who are incompetent for the duties required by their position.
And I trust you will find means for relieving the army of such officers by some mode more prompt and less wounding to their sensibility than the judgement of a court-martial.
Within a recent period we have effected the object so long desired of an arrangement for an exchange of prisoners, which is now being executed by delivery at the points agreed upon, and which will, it is hoped, speedily restore our brave and unfortunate countrymen to their places in the ranks of the army, from which, by the fortunes of war, they have been, for a times, separated.
The details of the arrangement will be communicated to you in a special report, when further progress has been made in their execution.
Of the particulars concerning the operations of the War Department, you will be informed by the Secretary
in his report and the accompanying documents.
The report of the Secretary of the Navy
embraces the operations and present condition of this branch of the public service, both a float and ashore, the construction and equipment of armed vessels at home and abroad, the manufacture of ordnance and ordnance stores, and the establishment of workshops and the development of our resources of coal and iron.
Some legislation seems essential for securing crews for vessels.
The difficulties now experienced on this point are fully stated in the Secretary
's report, and I invite your attention to providing a remedy.
The report of the Postmaster General
discloses the embarrassments which resulted in the postal service from the occupation by the enemy of the Mississippi river
, and portions of the territory of the different States.
The measures taken by the department for relieving these embarrassments as far as practicable, are detailed in the report.
It is a subject of congratulation that during the ten months that ended on the 3d of March last the expenses of the department were largely decreased, whilst its revenue was augmented, as compared with a corresponding period, ending on the 30th June, 1861 when the postal service was conducted under the authority delegated to the United States
Sufficient time has not yet elapsed to determine whether the measures heretofore devised by Congress will accomplish the end of bringing the expenditures of the department within the limits of its own revenues by the 1st of March next, as required by the Constitution
I am happy to inform you that, in spite both of blandishments and threats used in protrusion by the agents of the Government
of the United States
, the Indian
nations within the Confederacy
have remained firm in their loyalty and steadfast in the observance of their treaty engagements with this Government.
Nor has their fidelity been shaken by the fact that, owing to the vacancies in some of the offices of the agents and superintendents, delay has occurred in the payments of the annuities and allowances to which they are entitled.
I now advise some provision authorizing payments to be made by other officers, in the absence of those specially charged by law with this duty.
We have never ceasing cause to be grateful for the favor with which God has protected our infant Confederacy; and it becomes us reverently to return our thanks and humbly to ask of His- bounteousness that wisdom which is needful for the performance of the high trusts with which we are charged.