In the Senate
the proceedings were opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Minnegerode
, of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
, of Ark.
, offered the following, which was agreed to:
That the Committee
on Military Affairs inquire into the expediency of an act to reform the system of enrollments, and particularly of an act to fix some limitation upon the class of persons or officers who may be appointed or assigned to positions of enrolling officers, and to prescribe by whom they are to be selected or assigned, and to limit the length of time during which any such officer shall be allowed to serve over one and the same district, county, or beat, and to establish some rule or regulation by which an Inspector
of enrolling districts may be appointed for separate States or sections, and regulations by which such enrolling officers shall be restricted in the number of men placed in their provost guards.
, of Miss.
, introduced a bill to authorize the President
to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
in all cases involving the right of the Confederate Government to put into the army persons claiming exemption from military duty by reason of their having furnished substitutes.
On motion of Mr. Burnett
, of Ky.
, pending his motion to transfer the bill to the secret calendar, the Senate resolved into secret legislative session.
met at 11 o'clock, and was opened with prayer by Rev. Dr. Read
The special order for the morning hour — the bill reported from the Military Committee repealing existing, and regulating future, exemptions from military service — was taken up.
, of S. C.
, being entitled to the floor, thought that the House
was getting a little too wild in its notion of putting everybody in the service who could stagger under a musket.
He entertained no such wild, radical notions.
It was not the object of the bill to put indiscriminately in the ranks every man without regard to his occupation.
He was not for placing in the service men engaged in useful mechanical pursuits merely because they were able- bodied.
In a war of this character it would not do to hurl our whole force into the field without asking whether we were prepared to feed and clothe them.
There had been many abuses under the present exemption laws, and the committee had sought to frame a bill to prevent these abuses.
It had been objected to the bill that it vested the Executive
with very large discretionary powers.
He was not in favor of giving our President
too much power, for he really thought that he was a little too fond of power, rather inclined to encroach, but still he had confidence in his patriotism and integrity, and thought that the Secretary of War
and the President
could have no other motive to actuate them than to keep up our armies to an efficient standard, without ruin to the industrial pursuits of the country.
The power of detail he considered a useful adjunct to the power of exemption.
If men were detailed for special Government service, there was a check upon them calculated to retain them in employments where their services were more valuable than they could possibly be in the field.
, of Tenn.
, thought the proposition of the gentleman from South Carolina
proceeded upon a wrong basis.
He was opposed to the bill of the gentleman for the reason that he believed Congress fully competent to frame an exemption bill without further strengthening the Executive
arm.--As to the subject of details, he knew that it had been grievously managed, and he believed in some cases with personal partiality.
The speaker took occasion to allude to the present condition of our armies, and inveighed strongly against the mismanagement of the Commissary Department, and intimated his determination to Introduce a resolution requiring the removal of the present Commissary General
The remarks of Mr. Foote
were continued until the expiration of the morning hour, when the rules were suspended, and
, of Va, introduced a bill to provide for disabled officers, non-commissioned officers, musicians, privates and seamen, which was laid on the table and ordered to be printed.
, of Miss.
, also introduced a bill for the relief of tax-payers in certain cases, which was referred to the Committee of Ways and Means.
On motion the House
then went into secret session for the purpose of considering the report from the special Committee on Currency.