Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/435

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405
First Congress.

which are always involved in obtaining forces under such calls. When called out it will naturally result that the men will be retained for long periods in the field or in camp, to be ready for emergencies, as they could not, if discharged, be promptly recalled when required. This method of using the reserves will tell with disastrous effect on our agriculture.

On the other hand, troops for local defense and special service, as organized under the act of 21st of August, 1861, would afford the Commander in Chief the means of calling out the men embraced in such organizations at a moment's warning, and enable him, without imprudence, to dismiss them the moment the danger had disappeared. They would probably not be absent from the fields and workshops more than two or three weeks at a time, and there would thus be no serious interruption to the productive industry of the country. If the spirit which rendered the volunteering so general among all classes of citizens at the beginning of the war were still prevalent, there would be no necessity for the proposed legislation, as the citizens would readily join the organizations provided in the law above mentioned. But as this is not the case, it is necessary that conscription for local defense should replace volunteering.

If Congress should decline to adopt this measure, which my sense of what is needed for the public defense forces me again to urge upon its attention, I am unable to perceive from what source we are to obtain the men necessary not only to repel raids but to relieve the large number of able-bodied soldiers now detailed from the Army for local service in the States.

I trust that my conviction of the pressing necessity for this legislation in aid of the public defense will be received by Congress as a sufficient justification for this renewal of the recommendation contained in the message addressed to you at the commencement of the present session.

Jefferson Davis.


Richmond, Va., February 15, 1864.

To the Senate of the Confederate States.

In response to your resolution of the 12th inst., I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, conveying the information asked for relative to Gen. A. R. Lawton and Gen. J. B. Gordon.