Item description: Copy of a bill, dated 5 January 1864, before the Confederate House of Representatives titled, “An act to increase the efficiency of the army by the employment of free negroes and slaves in certain capacities.”
Item citation: “An act to increase the efficiency of the army by the employment of free negroes and slaves in certain capacities.” Confederate States of America. Congress. House of Representatives.; Richmond, Va., 1864. Call number 371 Conf., Rare Book Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, January 5. 1864 —Read first and second times, placed upon the calendar, and ordered to be printed.
[By Mr. Miles, from the Military Committee]
To be entitled An Act to increase the efficiency of the army by the employment of free negroes and slaves in certain capacities.
Whereas, the efficiency of the army is greatly diminished by the withdrawal from the ranks of able-bodied soldiers to act as teamsters, and in various other capacities in which free negroes and slaves might be advantageously employed ; therefore,
1 Sec. 1. The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That all male free negroes resilient in the Confederate States, between the ages of eighteen and fifty years, shall be held liable to perform such duties with the army, or in connection with the military defences of the country, in the way of work upon fortifications, or in Government work for the production or preparation of material of war, or in military hospitals, as the Secretary of War may from time to time prescribe ; and while engaged in the performance of such duties shall receive rations and clothing, and compensation at the rate of eleven dollars a month, under such rules and regulations as the said Secretary may establish: Provided, That the Secretary of War, with the approval of the President, may exempt from the operations of this act such free negroes as the interests of the country may require should be exempted, or such as he may think proper to exempt on grounds of justice, equity, or necessity.
1 Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That the Secretary of War is hereby authorized to employ for duties similar to those indicated in the preceding section of this act, as many male negro slaves, not to exceed , as, in his judgment, the wants of the service may require, furnishing them while so employed with proper rations and clothing, under rules and regulations to be established by him, and paying to the owners of said slaves wages at the rate of eleven dollars per month for their use and service, an in the event of the loss of any slaves, while so employed, by the act of the enemy, or by escape to the enemy, or by death inflicted by the enemy, or by disease incurred, in consequence of the discharge of any service required of said slaves, then the owners of the same shall be entitled to receive the full value of such slaves, to be paid under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of War may establish.
1 Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That when the Secretary of War shall be unable to procure the services of slaves in any military department in sufficient numbers for the necessities of the department upon the terms and conditions set forth in the preceding section, then he is hereby authorized to impress the services of as many male slaves as may be required from time to time to discharge the duties indicated in the first section of this act, under such rules and regulations as the said Secretary may establish : Provided, That slaves so impressed shall, while employed, receive the same rations and clothing in kind and quantity as slaves regularly hired from their owners, and in the event of their loss, shall be paid for in the same manner, and under the same rules and regulations as those who may have been hired.