Conscription and Conflict in the Confederacy

By Albert Burton Moore | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE SECOND ACT AND THE PROBLEMS OF ENFORCEMENT

THE second conscription act came none too soon. Ten days previously Lee's invading army was repulsed at Sharpsburg and hope vanished of relieving Virginia from another attack before winter; of spreading dismay in the North; of liberating Maryland from Federal control and adding it to the Confederate cause; and of creating a favorable impression in Europe.

The new act extended the age limit to 45 and authorized the President to call out all or a part of those within the draft age at any time he thought necessary, provided that if he called out only a part of those between 35 and 45 he must call out the younger men first.1 Substitution was continued, and exemption was expanded by the act of October 11th so as to include many new classes.2 The administrative machinery was essentially the same as before, and the practice of using State enrolling officers was continued over the protest of the Secretary of War. The original practices with regard to the rights of conscripts to volunteer3 and to select their organization and the distribution of conscripts from the camps of instruction were continued. In furtherance of the custom of associating conscripts from the same local-

____________________
1
O. R. ser. IV, vol. II, 160.
2
See page 67 above.
3
By an act, October 2d, conscripts were allowed to enlist in the Marine Corps or the Navy, if they expressed a wish to do so before being assigned to a company. Ibid., 191.

-140-

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