Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/360

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

insure success. The men now absent from their posts would, if present in the field, suffice to create numerical equality between our force and that of the invaders; and when with any approach to such equality have we failed to be victorious? I believe that but few of those absent are actuated by unwillingness to serve their country, but that many have found it difficult to resist the temptation of a visit to their homes and the loved ones from whom they have been so long separated; that others have left for temporary attention to their affairs with the intention of returning, and then have shrunk from the consequence of the violation of duty; that others again have left their posts from mere restlessness and desire of change, each quieting the upbraidings of his conscience by persuading himself that his individual services could have no influence on the general result. These and other causes (although far less disgraceful than the desire to avoid danger or to escape from the sacrifices required by patriotism) are, nevertheless, grievous faults, and place the cause of our beloved country and of everything we hold dear in imminent peril.

I repeat that the men who now owe duty to their country, who have been called out and have not yet reported for duty, or who have absented themselves from their posts are sufficient in number to secure us victory in the struggle now impending. I call on you, then, my countrymen, to hasten to your camps in obedience to the dictates of honor and of duty, and I summon those who have absented themselves without leave, or who have remained absent beyond the period allowed by their furloughs, to repair without delay to their respective commands; and I do hereby declare that I grant a general pardon and amnesty to all officers and men within the Confederacy now absent without leave who shall with the least possible delay return to their proper posts of duty; but no excuse will be received for any delay beyond twenty days after the first publication of this proclamation in the State in which the absentee may be at the date of publication. This amnesty and pardon shall extend to all who have been accused, or who have been convicted and are undergoing sentence for absence without leave or desertion, excepting only those who have been twice convicted of desertion.

Finally, I conjure my countrywomen, the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters of the Confederacy, to use their all-powerful in-