Conscription and Conflict in the Confederacy

By Albert Burton Moore | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
THE DUAL SYSTEM

THE need for a better enforcement of conscription east of the Mississippi led to the creation of a Bureau of Conscription in the Adjutant and Inspector General's office with complete control over conscription.1 But it had scarcely had time to exert a systematic influence before the Inspector General tried to promote a general system of field recruitment. By a circular, January 8th, he urged the field commanders to detail officers and men at once to gather volunteers from those sections of the country in which their regiments had been raised. It was hoped that they might by kindness and persuasion induce conscripts to volunteer.2 This sort of recruitment had been permitted from the outset, but apparently the field commanders had not generally attempted to reinforce their armies by means of it.3

General Bragg responded promptly to the circular.

____________________
1
For some time the need of a bureau of conscription had been urged upon the President. Richmond Dispatch, quoted in the Clarke County Journal, January 15, 1863; O. R. ser. I, vol. XXIII, Pt. II, 921. Conscription in the Trans-Mississippi Department was left in the hands of the Commander of the Department, who was responsible only to the Secretary of War.
2
O. R. ser. IV, vol. II, 305. Those who volunteered were promised all the benefits guaranteed by law to volunteers.
3
Ibid., vol. I, 1098; vol. II, 165. Enough officers had been detailed to evoke criticism from Commandant Jno. S. Preston of South Carolina. He said the country was already "flooded with ignorant subaltern officers" (p. 307).

-191-

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