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48
Executive Department:
Montgomery, Alabama, Feby 13th 1862
Hon. J. P. Benjamin, Sec't of War, Richmond, Va.
Sir,

I have the honor to acknowledge the rec't of your
communication of the 2nd inst. making a requisition on this State, for 12
Regiments to serve for three years or during the War, but have not
up to this time seen or been able to obtain a copy of the Act to the
title of which you refer and, under which, the requisition is made.

I understand, however, from the tenor of yours, that the troops can be
mustered into service - by companies - only, and subsisted-only from the time
they are mustered-in. If I am correct in this, I feel it my duty to state to
you, with perfect frankness, that I am satisfied that the requisition
cannot be filled by the time you prescribe, if indeed, it can be filled
at all. The Volunteers do not consider themselves bound, until mustered-
in; and it is all imporatnt that this should be done as early as possible.
If they could be mustered-in in squads - of not less than ten, or twenty -
as fast as that number arrived at the Camp with might be designated,
and on condition, that, if the requisite number was not obtained within a fixed
day, to complete the company to which they were to be attached, they should
be distributed into other companies, which had not the maximum
number, or formed, with other squads, into new Companies.

This course was successfully tried in the late requisition made
upon this State by Gen. A. S. Johnston. If it can be allowed-in the present
instance, I would urge, that the authority - as to mustering-in both
companies and squads - as well as the distribution of the latter
as proposed, or their organization into companies, be delegated
to the State Executive, to be exercised under his direction, rather
than by the Confederate Officers. The former would be to a certain
extent - responsible for the exercise of this power - so as most to promote
the comfort of the Volunteers, and they would accept the conditions,
the more readily - and cheerfully, in the one case than in the other.
As to the mere act of mustering-in, the reasons are still stronger, in
favour of the exercise of that Power by the State. The Confederate
Officers can scarcely find time to muster-in Companies - much less -
Squads. In Montgomery - for instance - there is a Quarter-master,
a Commissary - and an Ordnance Officer, all of whom are changed -
with important duties, as the time their services - as mustering officers -
are required. The men become restless: Enough leave to reduce the ranks
below the minimum number; and the consequence is the disbandment
of the Company. It is within my own personal knowledge, that the
Confederacy has lost the services of two thousand Volunteers, in this State, for
no other cause, than that the mustering-officer was prevented, by his
other duties, from leaving this point, on the day on which the
Companies were ready. Should not this authority be delegated to the State-
Executive? It costs the Confederacy nothing, and I venture the assertion,
that my Aids-du-Camp - or the officers I should deFail to discharge this
duty, would perform it as correctly - and with as much alacrity, as the
Confederate Officers. As to subsistence, I would, respectfully suggest
that as soon as a certain number of the volunteers arrive, and are
mustered-in, either as Companies or squads, upon the conditions
I have specified, they should be subsisted from that time. The
expectant officers + their friends cannot subsist their men, from the
time they commence recruiting, until the number requisite
complete the Company is obtained. I speak within bounds, when I say that
thousands have been lost to the servicem from this Cause alone. What I
propose is simply this; as fast as Volunteers arrive at the Camps,
I would muster-them-in by Companies or squads - the latter signing
a printed engagement with the proper Condition. They should
receive, from that time, subsistence until other details can

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