Conscription and Conflict in the Confederacy

By Albert Burton Moore | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
SUBSTITUTION

THE practice of substitution, previously allowed by the Confederate Government and by some of the States, was continued by the conscription act.1 It was provided that persons not liable for service might be received as substitutes for those who were, under regulations issued by the Secretary of War. Apparently it was intended to mollify the harshness of the conscript law, but more particularly to reserve skill and talent for service in the essential industries. It would give an advantage, of course, to the individual who had accumulated wealth, but likely he had succeeded through his enterprise and efficiency and was just the person whose services were needed at home. The policy, however, was not generally understood and accepted. It required a keener analysis of the collateral requisites of the war and more self-effacement than the public could make. It was not popularized by the fact that many of those who had money sought substitutes whether their talents could be used to advantage behind the battle lines or not.

The process of substitution was fairly simple.2 The

____________________
1
Substitution was allowed by the Confederate Government as early as October, 1861. Men who had volunteered were allowed to employ substitutes at the rate of one-per-company-per month (O. R. ser. IV, vol. I, 694). The practice was apparently abolished by order of the War Department, March 5th of the following year (Ibid., 971). Some of the States that had raised their quotas by draft also allowed substitution (Ibid., 967, 975).
2
O. R. ser. IV, vol. I, 1099.

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