MOBILIZATION OF MAN POWER
SECESSIONIST LEADERS HAD CONFIDENTLY ASSURED THE PEOPLE THAT severance from the United States would be peaceable and uncontested. Nevertheless they recognized the need for an army, both as a precautionary measure and as a concomitant of national existence, and after outlining the preliminary framework of government Congress turned its attention to national defenses. The military tradition of the South had always been strong, and each state that joined the Confederacy had a well-organized militia of several thousand men. In his inaugural address President Davis advised Congress to use these militia as the basis for its army.1
On February 28 Congress authorized Davis to take control of all military operations in the Confederacy. It then set up the "Provisional Army" as the instrument for such control by allowing him to receive into the Confederate service for not less than twelve months whatever militia the states might offer or which might volunteer with the consent of their state. At that time there was considerable feeling against building up a large army, and on March 6 Congress limited the number of twelve-month volunteers to 100,000 from the militia army and naval forces. As a partial compensation the same law allowed the President to receive other troops or militia for a period not exceeding six months. To avoid conflict with the states, the President could receive men only in the units in which they volunteered and must allow them to be officered under the laws of their respective states. His only control over their organization was that he could form the smaller into larger units and, with the approval of Congress, appoint their general officers.2 Except for the short enlistment this law was a precise enactment of Davis's requests. He had wanted three-year terms, but the Military Committee assured him that Congress would agree to no longer than one year.3
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Publication information: Book title: The Confederate Congress. Contributors: Wilfred Buck Yearns - Author. Publisher: University of Georgia Press. Place of publication: Athens, GA. Publication year: 1960. Page number: 60.
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