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Confederate Congress.

Thursday Sept. 11TH, 1862.

Senate.--The Senate met at noon, and was opened with prayer by the Rev. J. D. Conlling, of the M. E. Church.

On motion of Mr. Haynes, the resolutions offered by himself on yesterday, in relation to martial law and the freedom of the press, were taken up and modified so that the clause inquiring as to proper penalties for the abuse of the freedom of the press would be changed into an inquiry as to penalties for inciting insurrection by any person or means — The resolutions were then referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

A motion by Mr. Phelan to reconsider the question of reference was rejected.

Mr. Hill, of Ga., from the Committee on Judiciary, reported back the bill to regulate the nomination and appointment of Brigadier-Generals, with a report declaring that the right of nomination is given by the Constitution exclusively to the President, etc., and recommending that the bill he rejected.--The bill and report were laid upon the table and ordered to be printed.

Mr. Henry, of Tenn., from the Committee on Finance, reported back the bill to declare the true meaning and intention of the act to define more accurately the exemption of certain goods from duty, with several amendments, which was taken up and passed. The bill defines in a more precise manner those goods subject to exemption.

A communication was received from the Secretary of War, in reply to a resolution of the Senate, asking by what authority Conscripts were taken to camps of instruction. The reply stated that the establishment of such camps was necessary for carrying out properly the provisions of the Conscript act.

Mr. Hill, of Ga., expressed his disapprobation of the establishment of any such system; recited some of the abuses to which it had been carried in his own State, and denouncing the idea of forcing men from their homes under any such unauthorized and unjust regulation.

The communication was laid on the table and ordered to be printed.

The following communication was also presented to the Senate from the Secretary of War, in reply to a resolution requesting certain information from the President in relation to the pay and appointment of Provost Marshals.

His Excellency Jefferson Davis,
President C. S. A.: Sir
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the enclosed resolution of the Senate, requesting you to give them information concerning the pay and appointment of Provost Marshals.

The army regulations provide for the employment, by a Commanding General or a General of Division, of Provost Marshals, who are charged with the custody of prisoners and the performance of police duties. In garrisons, non commissioned officers are usually assigned to these duties; but, with armies of the field, deprived as they are of the assistance of the civil authorities, and often encumbered with large numbers of prisoners, the duties become more difficult and important, and commissioned officers are detailed for their discharge.

It will be observed that Provost Marshals are employed, not appointed; otherwise, officers of the army already holding commissions, could not be assigned to such duty without holding two distinct appointments from the Government.

It having been found that large amounts of public property at our principal depots, and the peace and good order of many of our towns, were endangered by the numerous stragglers from the army, and camp followers hanging about them, and that desertion from the army was encouraged by the want of persons at these points authorized to make arrests, the Department employed Provost Marshals, and vested them with authority over all persons in the army found within their respective limits.

They have no authority whatever over persons not in the army, except when martial law is in force, in which localities their police powers are extended to citizens as well as soldiers.

Whether martial law exist or not they are expressly prohibited by a general order from exercising civil jurisdiction, and the Department has checked them in all cases in which the exercise of such jurisdiction has been made the subject of complaint.

Many of the Provost Marshals of posts where martial law is not in force have fallen into the error of supposing themselves to be clothed with general police powers, but the Department has invariably informed them when such cases were brought to its attention, that they could derive the power to arrest citizens from the civil magistrates only.

Their compensation is usually fixed at that of a captain of infantry; but in some few cases they have been allowed the pay of field officers. The reference to the army grade is merely for the purpose of fixing their rate of compensation, and does not confer on them grade or commission.

The employment of Provost Marshals and Provost guards, is essential to the preservation of public property, to the peace and good order of our chief towns, and to the very existence of the army.

They are paid by the Quartermaster's Department, because the army regulations require that department to pay the incidental expenses of the army, including generally all proper and authorized expenses for the movements and operations of the army, not expressly assigned to other departments

Provost Marshals being essential to the operations of the army and not being chargeable to any other department, seem properly to be assigned for their pay and allowances to the Quartermaster General's Department

Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
George W. Randolph,
Secretary of War.

The communication was laid upon the table and ordered to be printed.

The consideration of the Exemption Bill was resumed, and Mr. Henry, of Tenn., having the floor, proceeded to respond to the arguments which had been made against the constitutionality of the amendment excepting Justices of the Peace from exemption from military duty.

House of Representatives.--House met at 10 o'clock. Journal of yesterday read.

The Chair announced that the first business in order was the bill reported from the Military Committee by the gentleman from Kentucky, (Mr. E. M. Bruce,) for the transfer of non commissioned officers and privates from regiments other than those from their own State to regiments organized from their own States. After some explanations the bill, with slight amendments, was adopted. The following is a copy of the bill as it passed the House:

An Act to Provide for the Transfer of Troops:

The Congress of the Confederate States do enact, That it shall be the duty of the Secretary of War to transfer any private or non commissioned officer who may be in a regiment from a State of this Confederacy other than his own, to a regiment from his own State, whenever such private or non commissioned officer may apply for such transfer, and whenever such transfer can be made without injury to the public service; and the Secretary of War shall make regulations for executing such transfer: Provided, That this act shall not apply to any one who has enlisted as a substitute.

Mr. Kenner, from the Committee of Ways and Means, introduced a bill to provide for raising revenue, which was postponed and ordered to be printed.

Mr. Hilton, of Ga., offered a joint resolution, as follows:

Resolved, by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the members of the two Houses of Congress have heard with unfeigned satisfaction of the movement of Gen. Lee's victorious troops across the Potomac, and that we repose, with entire confidence on the military skill of our distinguished chieftain and the bravery of his army of heroes, officers and men, for a successful issue of their great enterprise.

Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing resolution be transmitted by the Secretary of War to General Lee.

Mr. Miles, of S. C. moved the reference of this resolution to the Committee on Military Affairs.

Mr. Foote, of Tenn., opposed the motion to refer. He thought the resolution was plain enough to be understood by every member of the House, without the aid of a committee to interpret it.--The Rubicon was passed, and our gallant army, under a chieftain he believed, to become more Illustrious than Cæsar himself, was now pressing in the direction of the enemy's country. He thought it eminently proper that the confidence of Congress should be clearly expressed in the wisdom and prudence of the movement.

Mr. Miles was not opposed to the spirit of the resolution, but objected to its phraseology. If modified he would cheerfully support it.

Mr. Lyons, of Va, thought that our information from our army in Maryland was not such as to justify the adoption of the resolution. The vote was then taken upon the motion to refer, and it was adopted.

Mr. Gartrell, of Ga., from the Judiciary Committee, asked permission of the House to allow that committee to sit for this day during the session of the House. The leave was granted.

Mr. Kenner, from the Committee of Ways and Means, asked similar permission for that committee not only for this day, but during succeeding days of the present session of Congress. Not agreed to.

Mr. Ashe, of N. C., offered the following resolution, which lies over as unfinished business:

Resolved, That the President he requested to communicate to the House the estimated amount required to be appropriated to meet claims upon the Confederate Government for vessels and other property seized by the naval and military authorities for the use of Government.

The morning hour having expired, the chair announced that the business in order was the consideration of the bill to provide for filling up existing companies, squadrons, battalions, and regiments, and to increase the Provisional Army of the Confederate States; the question being upon the amendment of Mr. Smith, of N. C. Upon this the House was addressed by Messrs. Barksdale, Collier, and Harris, in favor of, and Messrs. Boyce and Smith, of N. C, and Herbert, in opposition to the bill of the committee.

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