Monday, December 6, 2010

The Conscription Law


In view of the exigencies of the country, and the absolute necessity of keeping in the service our gallant army, and of placing in the field a large additional force to meet the advancing columns of the enemy now invading our soil; therefore,

SECTION 1.  The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the President be, and is hereby authorized to call out and place in the military service of the Confederate States, for three years unless the war shall have sooner ended, all white men who are residents of the Confederate States between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years at the time of the call or calls be made, who are not legally exempted from military service.  All of the persons aforesaid who are not now in the service of the Confederacy and whose term of service will expire before the end of the war, and shall be continued in the service for three years from the date of their original enlistment, unless the war shall have been sooner ended: Provided, however, That all such battalions and regiments, whose terms of original enlistments were for twelve months, shall have the right within forty days, on a day to be fixed by a commander of the brigade to reorganize said companies, battalions and regiments by electing their officers, which they had a right heretofore to elect, who shall be commissioned by the President: Provided further, that furloughs not exceeding sixty days, with transportation home and back, shall be granted to all those retained in the services by the provision of this act beyond the period of their original enlistment, and who have heretofore not received furloughs under the provisions of an act entitled, “An act providing for the granting of bounty and furloughs to privates and non-commissioned officers in the Provisional Army,” approved 11th December, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, said furloughs to be granted at such times, and such numbers as the Secretary of War may deem most compatible with the public [interest] and Provided, further, That in lieu of a furlough, the [commutation] value in money of the transportation herein above granted, shall be paid to each private, musician or non-commissioned officer who may elect to receive it at such time as the furlough would otherwise be granted: Provided, further, That all persons under the age of eighteen years, or over the age of thirty-five years, who are now enrolled in the military service of the Confederate States, in the regiments, battalions, and companies hereafter to be organized, shall be required to remain in their respective companies, battalions and regiments for ninety days, unless their places can be supplied by other recruits not now in the service, who are between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years, and all laws and parts of laws providing for the reenlistment of volunteers and the organization thereof into companies, squadrons, battalion or regiments, shall be and the same [are] hereby repealed.

[SEC. 2.]  Be it further enacted, That, such companies, squadrons [battalions] regiments organized or in process or organization by authority from the Secretary of War as may be within thirty days from passage of this act so far completed as to have the whole number of men requisite for organization actually enrolled, not embracing in said organization any person now in service shall be mustered into the service of the Confederate States as part of the land forces of the same, to be received in that arm of the service into which they are authorized to organize, and shall elect their company, battalion and regimental officers.

SEC. 3.  Be it further enacted, That for the enrollment of all persons comprehended within the provisions of this act, who are not already in service in the armies of the Confederate States, it shall be lawful for the President, with the consent of the Governors of the States, to employ State officers, and on failure to obtain such consent, he shall employ Confederate officers, charged with the duty of making such enrollments in accordance with the rules and regulations to be prescribed by law.

SEC. 4.  Be it further enacted, That persons enrolled under the provisions of the proceeding section shall be assigned by the Secretary of War to the different companies now in service until each company is filled to its maximum number, and the person so enrolled shall be assigned to companies from the States from which they respectively come.

SEC. 5.  Be it further enacted, That all seamen and ordinary seamen in the Confederate States, enrolled under the provisions of this act may on application of the Secretary of the Navy; be transferred from the land forces to the naval service.

SEC 6.  Be it further enacted, That in all cases where a State may not have in the army a number of regiments, battalions squadrons or companies, sufficient to absorb the number of person[s] subject to military service under this act, belonging to such State then the residue or excess [thereof] shall be kept as a reserve under such regulations as may be established by the Secretary of War, and that at stated periods of not greater than three months details, determined by lot, shall be made from said reserve, so that each company, as nearly as practicable, be kept full.  Provided, That the persons held in reserve may remain at home until called into service by the President.  Provided, also, That during their stay at home they shall not receive pay.  Provided, further, that the persons comprehended in this act shall not be subject to the rules and articles of war until mustered into the active service of Confederate States; except that said persons when enrolled and liable to duty, in case they shall willfully refuse to obey said call each of them shall be held to be a deserter and punished as such under said articles Provided further, That whenever, in the opinion of the President, the exigencies of the public service may require it, he shall be authorized to call into active service the entire reserve, or so much as may be necessary; not previously assigned to different companies in service under provision of section four of this act; said reserve shall be organized under such rules as the Secretary of War may adopt, Provided, The company, battalion and regimental officers shall be elected by the troops composing the same.  Provided, The troops raised in any one State shall not be combined in regimental, battalion, squadron or company organizations with troops raised in any other states.

SEC. 8.  Be it further enacted, That each man who may hereafter be mustered into the service, and who shall arm himself with a musket, with a musket [sic], shot-gun or rifle, accepted as an efficient weapon, shall be paid the value thereof, to be ascertained by the mustering officer, under such regulation as may be prescribed by the Secretary of War, if he is willing to sell the same, and if he is not, then he shall be entitled to receive one dollar a month for the use of said received and approved musket, rifle, shotgun or carbine.

SEC 9.  Be it further enacted.  That all vacancies shall be filled by the president from the company, battalion squadron or regiment in which said vacancies shall occur, by promotion, according to seniority, except in cases of disability or other incompetency; Provided, however, That the President may, when in his opinion, it may be proper, fill such vacancy or vacancies by the promotion of any officer or private or privates, from  such company, battalion squadron or regiment who shall have been distinguished in the service by the exhibition of valor and skill, and that whenever a vacancy shall occur in the lowest grade of the commissioned officer of the company, said vacancy shall be filled by election.  Provided, That all appointments made by the President shall be by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

SEC. 10.  Be it further enacted, That the provisions of the first section of this act relating to the election of officers, shall apply to those regiments battalions or squadrons which are composed of twelve months’ and war companies combined in the same organization, without regard to the manner in which the officer thereof were originally appointed.

SEC. 11.  Be it further enacted, That each company of infantry shall consist of one hundred and twenty-five rank and file; each company of field artillery company [sic] of one hundred and fifty rank and file; and each company of cavalry of eighty rank and file.

SEC. 13 [sic].  Be it further enacted, that all persons subject to enrollment, who are now in the service under the provisions of this act, shall be permitted previous to such enrollment to volunteer in companies new in the service.

– Published in The Daily Rebel, Chattanooga, Tennessee, August 9, 1862, p 4

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