John B. Galbraith to John Milton, April 28, 1862

Series: (Series 632, Florida Attorney General Opinions, 1859-1913, 1941-1948, 1992-1998)

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Civil War

John B. Galbraith to John Milton, April 28, 1862


Attorney Generals Office
Tallahassee April 28, 1862

His Excellency
John Milton Governor

I am in receipt of your communication of the 21st Inst. As follows:

“The Congress of the Confederate States having passed an act providing for a conscription of all citizens between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years for military service except such as are exempted by the law, you will please give me your opinion as to who are exempt in this State by law from such military service as it is desirable that this Department should be advised in this respect.”

In reply I would advise that the general officers of the Executive and Judicial Departments of the State and the members of the Legislative Department while they remain so are exempt from such military service. I would further advise that the officers of the county organizations to wit, the Judges of Probate, the Clerks of the Circuit Courts, the Sheriffs and the Tax Collectors are likewise exempt from such military service. Although these last mentioned officers have not been created expressly by the Constitution, as the former, yet they have duties imposed upon them by the Constitution and the laws the performance of these duties being entirely incompatible and impossible in connection with military service, they are therefore necessarily exempt, by operation of the law from the same. Any other principle would render possible the entire subversion or disorganization of the state Government, which it is not to be presumed was at all contemplated by Congress

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being entirely beyond the Constitutional power, and as the preservation and efficiency of the civil Government of the State is second in importance to nothing that Congress could have in contemplation; and still further as these exemptions although of great importance to the Government of the State are but a trifle to the Confederate Government being so few as to make no perceptible difference.

By the Militia law of the State clergymen and ferrymen and millers and such persons as are exempt by the Laws of the Confederate States are exempt from Militia duty and are therefore exempt from military service under the provisions of the said act. Foreign residents, who have not become citizens of the Confederate States and who have not exercised any of the rights of citizenship are exempt by international law. Of course persons physically incapable of such service are exempt.

Very Respectfully
Jno B. Galbraith