Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/236

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

tem for exercising the power of raising armies, which is vested in the Congress by the Constitution. But there is another and more important consideration. The vast preparations made by the enemy for a combined assault at numerous points on our frontier and seacoast have produced the result that might have been expected. They have animated the people with a spirit of resistance so general, so resolute, and so self-sacrificing that it requires rather to be regulated than to be stimulated. The right of the State to demand, and the duty of each citizen to render, military service, need only to be stated to be admitted. It is not, however, wise or judicious policy to place in active service that portion of the force of a people which experience has shown to be necessary as a reserve. Youths under the age of eighteen years require further instruction; men of matured experience are needed for maintaining order and good government at home and in supervising preparations for rendering efficient the armies in the field. These two classes constitute the proper reserve for home defense, ready to be called out in case of emergency, and to be kept in the field only while the emergency exists. But in order to maintain this reserve intact it is necessary that in a great war like that in which we are now engaged all persons of intermediate age not legally exempt for good cause should pay their debt of military service to the country, that the burdens should not fall exclusively on the most ardent and patriotic. I therefore recommend the passage of a law declaring that all persons residing within the Confederate States, between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years, and rightfully subject to military duty, shall be held to be in the military service of the Confederate States, and that some plain and simple method be adopted for their prompt enrollment and organization, repealing all the legislation heretofore enacted which would conflict with the system proposed.

Jefferson Davis.

Executive Office, Richmond, March 29, 1862.

To the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

I herewith transmit a report and accompanying tabular statement from the Secretary of State, in answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 26th inst.

Jefferson Davis.