Today in History:

1147 Series IV Volume III- Serial 129 - Correspondence, Orders, Reports and Returns of the Confederate Authorities from January 1, 1864, to the End


committee, in deference to his wishes, to abandon the project. But since the President has urged in his late message additional legislation for re-enforcing the Army, and as Congress is alone intrusted with the power of making the laws best calculated to raise, strengthen, and preserve armies, the committee have determined to urge the passage of the bill, with such modifications as may remove objections without destroying the efficiency of the measure.

The committee is constrained to believe that the soldiers in the field who have been true to duty will recognize the inefficiency of existing remedies for the evils of absenteeism and desertion, and will approve as an unavoidable necessity almost any measure calculated to secure the return to service of those whose presence is demanded by the most urgnt considerations of the public safety.

In answer to the complaint that Congress had delayed the passage of the "negro soldier" bill until the measure had lost much of its value, the committee suggest the following reasons for the delay:

First. The opinion of the President, expressed in his regular message at the beginning of the present session, that beyond the "limit" of employing slaves as "pioneer" and "engineer" laborers it did not seem to him "desirable, under existing circumstances, to go; " that "the subject is to be viewed by us solely in the light of policy and our social economy; " that "when so regarded" he (the President) "must dissent from those who advise a general levy and arming of the slaves for the duty of soldiers; " that "until our white population shall prove insufficient for the armies we require and can keep in the field," or "the alternative of subjugation" or "the employment of the slave as a soldier" be presented, the President assured the Congress that the policy of arming the slave "would scarcely be deemed wise or advantageous by any. "

Second. The equally emphatic statement of the Secretary of War, in his last report, that "his own judgment did not either perceive the necessity or approve the policy of employing slaves in the higher duties of soldiers. " Also, that "we had within the military age as large a proportion of our white population as would be required or could be advantageously employed in active military operations. "

These solemn avowals of deliberate opinion by the President and his war minister, communicated to Congress and never revoked, changed, or modified in any subsequent message, left Congrion of being compelled to override the judgment of these high functionaries upon a subject about which they are presumed to be fuly informed and not likely to fall into error, or to delay action until advised of the happening of the contingencies which would justify a resort to the doubtful policy of arming the slaves.

The appeal made by the President for "earnest and cordial co-operation betwenn all departments of the Government" meets with the hearty approval of this committee, and doubtless of Congress. Inability to concur in all the views of the President, or failure to pass, after due consideration, all the measures recommended by him, should not be received as any evidence of an indisposition to co-operate harmoniously with other departments of the Government in earnest efforts to advance the success of our arms and the welfare of our country.

(House of Representatives, March 16, 1865. Read and ordered to be printed.)

(By Mr. Pugh from the Military Committee.)