Doc. 85.-rebel impressments.
Adjutant and Inspector-General's office, Richmond, Va., March 7, 1864.General orders, no. 80. the following act of Congress concerning impressments, and the instructions of the War Department respecting it, are published for the information and direction of all concerned: an act to amend “an act to regulate impressments,” approved March twenty-sixth,one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and to repeal an act amendatory thereof, approved April twenty-seventh, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three. The Congress of the confederate States of America do enact, That in all cases where property is impressed for the use of the army and navy, or for other public use, under said act, the same shall be paid for at the time of said impressment, unless an appeal shall be taken from said valuation, as hereinafter provided, according to the valuation agreed upon between the parties, or ascertained by loyal and disinterested citizens of the city, county, or parish in which the impressment may be made, in the manner and according to the regulations provided in the first, second, and third sections of the above-recited act, or in the eighth section thereof, where it is applicable. Sec. 2. Whenever the officer making the impressment of property, under the act hereby amended, shall believe that the appraisement is fair and just, he shall indorse his approval upon the appraisement, and make payment accordingly; but if he shall believe that it is not fair and just, then he shall refuse to approve, and indorse the reasons of his refusal on the certificate, and shall have the right to appeal from the decision of the appraisers, by reporting the case to the commissioners appointed under said act to which this is an amendment, for their decision, whose judgment shall be final, and in the mean time the property shall be held and appropriated by the officer impressing the same, who shall give a receipt therefor to the owner, who shall also have the right of appeal as herein provided. Sec. 3. The said commissioners shall have power to summon and examine witnesses to enable them to fix the value of property impressed which shall be a just compensation for the property so impressed, at the time and place of impressment; and when the commissioners shall have fixed the value of property in cases of appeal, they shall furnish the owner and impressing officer with a statement of such value, which valuation by the commissioners shall be within three months from the time of impressment. Sec. 4. That said commissioners shall be sworn faithfully to discharge all their duties under this act and the act to which this is an amendment. Sec. 5. That the tenth section of the act of which this is an amendment be stricken out, and the following inserted instead thereof: “No slave laboring on a farm or plantation exclusively devoted to the production of grain or provisions shall be taken for public use, without the consent of the owner, except in case of urgent necessity and upon the order of the general commanding the department in which said farm or plantation is situated.” Sec. 6. That the act amendatory of the above recited act, approved April twenty-seventh, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and so much of the first section of said act as requires an affidavit to be made by the owner or his agent, that such property was grown, raised, or produced by said owner, or held, or has been purchased by him, not for sale or speculation, but for his own use or consumption, be and the same is hereby repealed. Sec. 7. That no impressment shall be made under this act, or the act to which this is amendatory,  for the use or benefit of contractors with the government. Sec. 8. Nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize the impressing officer to enter an appeal from any decision of the local appraisers, under the seventh section of the act to which this is amendatory. Approved February sixteenth, 1864. I. Impressments according to this act, and the act to which this is an amendment, may be made for necessary supplies for the confederate armies in the field, and for their accumulation in magazines and at posts and depots, and to carry on the various operations of the military bureau connected with the war department, whenever the same cannot be obtained by contract. II. They may be made under orders from the generals commanding armies, departments, corps, divisions, and by commanders of detached parties when a necessity arises therefor. These orders may be executed by appropriate officers of the staff belonging to the army. The chiefs of the various bureaux shall designate the officers and persons who shall be competent to make impressments under the authority conferred upon them. III. Before any impressment shall be made, the impressing officer or his agent will make an offer to the owner, his bailee, or agent, in writing, for the purchase of the property, describing the property he wishes to purchase, the price he is willing to pay, and the mode of payment, and stating that, upon a refusal to accept the same, compensation will be made according to the acts of Congress for the regulation of impressments. This notice will be considered as binding the property until the completion of the negotiation for the sale and transfer of the same to the impressing officer. The property will remain in the custody of the owner, and at his risk, during the pending of these proceedings, unless a delivery of the same be thereupon made to the impressing officer, with his consent. In case of a change of possession under these circumstances, the confederate States will be regarded as the owner, and the property held for its use and at its risk. IV. In all cases in which the offer of an impressing officer is refused, he will proceed to adjust the price according to the first section of the act above recited — that is, by the judgment of two loyal and disinterested persons of the city, county, or parish in which the impressment may be made--one to be selected by the owner, his bailee or agent, and one by the impressing officer. In the event of their disagreement, these two will select an umpire of like qualification. The persons thus selected will proceed to assess just compensation for the property so impressed, whether the absolute ownership or the temporary use thereof be required. If the impressing officer believes that the appraisement is fair and just, he will indorse his approval, and pay for the property; and the right in the object impressed will become the property of the confederate States. But if he does not approve of the appraisement, he will decline to approve it, and indorse the reason for his refusal on the certificate, and forthwith report the case to the commissioners appointed under the fifth section of the act to which the act above recited is an amendment, and in the mean time the property will be taken and a receipt describing the property and the proceedings for the adjustment of the price and the appeal, given to the owner. The impressing officer will immediately report the case to the appraisers, with a statement of the quality and condition of the property, and his opinion upon the subject. V. No officer or agent will impress the necessary supplies which any person may have for the consumption of himself and family, employes, slaves, or to carry on his ordinary mechanical, manufacturing, or agricultural employments. If any question arise as to the fact whether the supplies are necessary, or whether there be a surplus, it will be determined by appraisers mutually selected according to the preceding section, and in this case the decision of the appraisers will be binding on the officer, who will not be allowed an appeal therefrom. VI. These regulations are published as a substitute for the regulations contained in General Orders Nos. 37 and 161, series of 1863. By order.
S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General.