The Confederate Congress

By Wilfred Buck Yearns | Go to book overview

X
THE CONDUCT OF THE WAR

THE CONFEDERATE CONGRESS NEVER ESTABLISHED A COMMITTEE ON the conduct of the war as did the Congress of the United States. In fact, the former was consistently criticized for insufficient direction of military affairs. President Davis was far less bothered by politicians than was Lincoln, and the central Confederate administration ran more smoothly than did that of the United States. On January 11, 1865, William P. Chilton of Alabama proposed a committee of one from each state charged with duties touching the conduct of the war and the means necessary to its successful termination, 1 but the resolution was not adopted. Controversies abounded between Congress and the administration, but the former seldom asserted itself in military affairs, and even on those few occasions when it did act it did so cautiously and almost apologetically.

For about two years a group of congressmen chafed under the administration's defensive war policy. It is impossible to determine the number in this group, though its noise was undoubtedly out of proportion to its size. It first attracted notice when some congressmen expressed the opinion that the Yankees had not been properly chased during the Battle of First Manassas. Wiley P. Harris of Mississippi, speaking before a caucus of the Mississippi delegation, condemned strongly the army's inaction. 2 Reuben Davis of the Military Committee demanded bold, aggressive action, and resigned when the remainder of the Committee preferred caution and delay. 3 Louis T. Wigfall tried to gather evidence that President Davis had refused to attack in the autumn of 1861 when the enemy was supposedly reeling helplessly, but he never found enough evidence to support the charge. 4

The climax of the issue came early in 1862 when Foote

-140-

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The Confederate Congress
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • I - Secession and Confederation 1
  • II - Life at the Confederate Capitals 11
  • III - Trial and Error Government 22
  • IV - Congressional Elections 42
  • V - Mobilization of Man Power 60
  • VI - Conscription Under Attack 74
  • VII - More Men! 86
  • VIII - Of Officers and Men 102
  • IX - Economic Organization 116
  • X - The Conduct of the War 140
  • XI - The Writ of Habeas Corpus 150
  • XII - Foreign Affairs 161
  • XIII - The Peace Movement 171
  • XIV - Financing the War 184
  • XV - The Loyal Opposition 218
  • Appendix 236
  • Notes 245
  • Bibliography 270
  • Index 280
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