Shorter_correspondence_RSG00689_Q145250_Q145648

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395 Executive Department; Montgomery, Ala. May 12th, 1863 Col. Wm F. Samford, Auburn, Ala. Sir; I regret that my absence, at Eufaula, to visit my plantation, where I had not been since last Summeer, should have been succeeded by such an unprecedented pressure of official correspondence, that I have been unable, at an earlier day, to reply to your letter of 17th Ulto. I regret that Col. McGehee, Salt-Commissioner, should have misapprehended the purport of my conversation with him, in reference to payment for your boy, who died at his works, & that that misapprehension should have misled you, in regard to my proposition, intended to be made thro' Col. McGehee, was - in order to perpetuate testimony - & save expense of time in investigation, was, to agree to the selection of some indifferent - & disinterested party, to take, & record all the testimony bearing upon the case, which, then, could be used by you, in such way as you might prefer, in obtaining compensation for the loss of your Slave. §. I need not argue with so experienced, and well-informed a lawyer as yourself, as to the limited powers of the State Executive, or the necessity of some Legislative Authority, to authorize him to bind the State to the performance of an award, and of Legislative appropriation, to authorize a payment from the Treasury. § But the testimony taken, as I propose - without bias - feeling, or partiality, - would have its full - & appropriate weight, either before the Legislature, or the Courts, as you might choose your Forum. To this extent; I proposed to bind the State, and, with my limited powers, I do not see how I could go farther though with every desire to do you full & complete justice, in the matter.

In reference to the payment of your demands, against the Salt-Commissioner, in Salt, as suggested in yours, in relation to the award, I beg to refer you to the 4th Section of Act No 37, sent by this mail, by which you will see that the Legislature has made a specific disposition of all Salt, made at the State-works, so that the Commissioner could not divert it to the payment of your demands, even if so inclined. §. The Case of your boy Dennis, does not stand alone, but in common with many others, who have died at the works, and for which, doubtless, claim will be made upon the State for payment, Here, the Executive stands, as in the other Case, without authority to decide upon the measure of damages, or appropriation for payment. Were I to undertake to adjust your claim at the Treasury, I could not omit to include the others, also, who are like sufferers with yourself, This would exhaust the Treasury. But, being possessed of no such power, & no provision having been made by laws, for such cases, I have determined to bring the matter to the attention of the Legislature, in my annual message, & to recommend the appointment of a Commisioner to take evidence, & determine the damage to the parties, & that appropriation be made for the payment. The Claims against the State, for such losses, will be heavy, beyond the expectation or calculation of those who are not informed of the numbers of the Slaves who have been lost to their owners, while impressed by the State, or whose death may be, directly, traced to that service. But Justice calls for the payment, & the State will vindicate its integrity, to its people, by a prompt payment for their losses. §. The payment for services - and labor of your boys at Mobile, you may obtain, by appointing an agent there, to receipt for you, or if you prefer waiting, as soon as a Settlment & adjustment of accounts there can be had there, with the Engineer Department, an Agent of the State will visit the Counties, charged with the payment of owners. Such certificate could not be recd in the payment of taxes, because they are unliquidated demands, &, also, because they are primarily payable by the Engineer department of the Confederate States.

I regret, exceedingly, the delay in the answer to your letter, but I know you would pity rather than blame me, if you could see the accumulated pressure of the last few weeks.

I beg to assure you of my kindest regards and am, Very Resp'y, Y'r ob't Ser't (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter Gov. of Ala

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396 392 Executive Department; Montgomery, Ala. May 13th, 1863. Mr Charles Petty, Clayton, Ala. Sir; I am notified by Col. E. S. Shorter, A. D. C. that Mr Russell, SaltContractor, has delivered some salt in his Contract, to Mr McKenzie at Eufaula. As his Contract is divided, equally, between Clayton & Eufaula, I have appointed you Agent for the rec't & Sale at Clayton, & refer you to the 4th Section of Act No 37, a copy of which has been forwarded to you, for instructions, as to the manner of Sale. §. You will find, enclosed, a copy of Mr Russell's contract. To the Contract price, you will add all expenses & sell, as directed in the laws. The object is, simply, to re-imburse the State. You will be allowed five pr cent commissions, (not, however to exceed 1500$.) which must be added to the cost. §. The enclosed circular will show the manner of making your returns, & you will deposit, semi monthly, in the Eastern Bank, to the credit of the Treasurer of the State, nett amounts rec'd & forward receipts with your account. §. Mr Russell's accounts will be audited here, upon rec't from you, & Mr McKenzie of deliveries. You will give preference, in Sales, to those requiring but twenty-five pounds, and purchasers must furnish their own Sacks. The Sacks rec'd by you, from the Contractor, you will return to him, for future transportation. Very Resp'y, (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter.

Executive Department; Montgomery, Ala. May 13th, 1863 A. McKenzie, Esqr, Eufaula, Ala. Sir; I am notifed, by Col. E. S. Shorter, that Mr Russell, SaltContractor, has commenced delivery to you, & that you desire instructions, as to sale. §. I have forwarded to you, copy of the Salt-Acts, passed at the last Session of the Legislature; and invite your attention to the 4th Section of No 37, which contains full directions as to sale. You will find, enclosed herewith, a copy of Mr Russell's contract. To the Contract price, you will add all expenses and sell, as directed in the law. The object is simply to re-imburse the State. You will be allowed five pr. ct. commissions, (not to exceed, however, $1500) which must be added to the cost. The enclosed circular will show the manner of making your returns, & you will deposit, semi monthly, in the Eastern Bank, to the credit of the Treasurer of the State, the nett amounts received from Sales, & forward rec'ts with your account. §. Mr Russell's accounts will be audited here, upon the shewing of rec't by State-Agents - yourself & Mr Charles Petty, - at Eufaula & Clayton. Mr Petty has been, similarly, instructed. You need not, therefore, make payment to him. §. You will give preference, in sales, to those requiring but twenty five pounds, & purchasers must furnish their own Sacks. §. Col. Pickett will send you 150 sacks, by Express, as requested, for the use of the Contractor. Yours, (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter.

Executive Department; Montgomery, Ala. May 13th, 1863. Gen. Braxton Bragg, Comm'g Tullahoma, Tennessee, Sir; I, respectfully, refer to your kind consideration, the enclosed letter of Mr D. B. Graham, StateTreasurer, addressed to Mr Joseph Goode, who, I understand, is upon - or connected - with your Staff. §. Mr Graham is one of those invaluable officers, whose study and desire is, only, for the good & security of the State. As the War has increased his labors, & enlarged his responsiblities, the labors of a faithful - & efficient clerk, are of the greatest importance to him, and his acquaintance with Mr Goode, & his knowledge of his abilities, & fitness for the Task, have induced him to solicit Mr Goode to take-charge of that post, which has now been vacant, for some weeks. §. I need scarcely remind you, that the Treasury of Alabama, to the extent of its resources, has ever been open to the Confederacy, but I may say that its ability to aid the Common Cause has been due, in great measure to the faithfulness & efficiency of her present Treasurer, & his prudence & forsight. §. By an act of the last Congress, the Mlitary Authorities are authorized to discharge frmn the Service, parties who have been elected or appointed to State offices, and I, respectfully ask that you will forward to Mr Goode, the enclosed, for his acceptance, and either order his detail, or his discharge, to assume the duties of the office, or recommend the same to the Secretary of War.

I would say, in addition, that should you see proper to give a favorable consideration to this request, it will be, most gratefully received by his afflicted - recently widowed sister who is without a relative, or near kinsman, to whom to look, in her bereavement. Very Respectfully, Your obedient Servant, (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter. Gov. of Ala

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393 Executive Department; Montgomery, Ala. May 12th, 1863. Col. Frank Prince, commanding 18th Reg't Ala. Mil. Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Sir; I am in rec't of your letter of the 8th inst. & congratulate you, & the State upon the happy termination of the late Raid into our borders, & the ready will of the people of your city & county, to meet, & repel the enemy. I should, most certainly, have approved Your ordering-out the whole of your force had the Enemy advanced upon your city. Your Military duty would, doubtless, have been, to order-out your force, & hold it in readiness, & report, in the mean-time, to your Division Commander. But, in an emergency, not admitting of delay, it would have been your duty, at once, to have met, & checked the enemy; and I should, not only, have approved, but applauded the Course. I am proud to know that your Regiment is in such a state of efficiency, as to justify you, in that reliance upon your Command.

The consolidation of regiments is a matter beyond the Executive Control, & belonging, exclusively, to the Legislature. I doubt not that in many parts of the State, it would increase the efficiency of the Militia. Very Resp'y, (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter.

Executive Department; Montgomery, Ala. May 12th, 1863. Mr A. Powell, Mobile. Sir; I embrace the earliest opportunity to reply to your letter of 8th inst. & am not at all surprized at the impatient tone in which you write. I pass-over all delinquencies charged upon the Governor of Alabama, with the simple denial that he is, officially or personally, responsible for the defaults, & improper conduct of the officers & agents of the Confederate Government. The Military Commander, at Mobile, in making a requisition of slave-laborers, stated that a force of five thousand could make Mobile impregnable in thirty days. Well-knowing that it would be impossible to distribute this heavy requisition fairly, and gather that number together, in Mobile, at an early day, I, naturally concluded that half that number could do the work in Sixty days. Yet I have supplied the Engineer Department with an average of 2600 labaorers, for 90 days, & the works are not yet finished. I was aware of the sickness among the negroes, & well knew, that the greater the numbers - together there, at any one time, the greater wd be the sickness & mortality among them, at any one time. My purpose in filling the requisition for labor, was, so to apportion it, that, as the sixty days' service expired, others would be coming-on, to take their places; but, in some instances, the Impressment agents were tardy, in sending-forward their impressments. But whether the State Agents have been in default or not, the fact is - the Slaves were turned-over to the Military authorities of Mobile, by the Governor of the State, under a law of the State, & for a period of Service of sixty days - of all of which they were duly informed. But, in defiance of the Law, & in disregard of the repeated requests of the State Executive, they have refused to discharge some of the Slaves, while improperly releasing others. This unauthorised & disrespectful course towards the State has been communicated, directly, to the Secretary of War, & he has been requested to issue a peremptory order to the Commander at Mobile, to observe the instructions of the Executive of Alabama, as to the discharge of Slave labor, furnished by the State. §. Many complaints as to the manner in which the Slaves have been fed, & their treatment in sickness, have been, before made, &, by me, communicated to the Commandants at Mobile, with an urgent request that they might be corrected. I protest against being held accountable for the omission of duty, by officers over whom I have no control. Resp'y &C. (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter.

Executive Department; Montgomery, Ala. May 12, 1863. Col. P. Hamilton, A. D. C. Mobile. Sir; I, herewith hand you a copy of a letter from Mr A. Powell, one of the overseers of hands at Mobile, & any reply, which, I have to request you will cause to be delivered to him. I do not know him or the County he is from; but, I regret to say that his his complaints are too well-founded. §. The Military authorities at Mobile have, wilfully, trampled the Law of Alabama, under their feet, &, in reply to an official request, by her Executive to discharge slaves - turned over, by him to them, for the limited service provided by Law, have, insultingly notifed him, that when he sent other Slaves, those in their hands shall be discharged. The Correspondence, on file, in the Executive Office, will abundantly prove that the failure to complete the works is not attributed to any default, on part of the State authorities, but to the blunders in the estimates of the Military Department at Mobile, as to the quantity & time of Labor needed for the undertaking. §. The disrespect with which my repeated letters of request, & earnest protest have been treated, has determined me to order no more Slaves to the works in Mobile, until after the grain-crops shall have been secured; and not then, unless the proper amende is made for the past discourtesies, & a written guarantee is filed in this office, that my orders shall be obeyed, & the former abuses discontinued. Resp'y, Y'r ob't Ser't (Signed) Jno Gill Shorter. P. S. Please read my letter to Mr Powell.

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