did not make use of the slaves the Federals
The Confederacy was too weak in men to stand long the pressure of war waged in its present tremendous shape.
The negroes had the physical powers and the habits of discipline to make good soldiers, and, with proper training, their efficiency would be unquestionable.
They would make willing soldiers, provided emancipation was their reward.
In spite of this letter, however, the Senate defeated the measure again on the 25th, but on the 1st of March, Barksdale
's resolution, materially amended, came up in the House
and was passed.
, Miles, and other leaders opposed the enlistment policy savagely, but, still, when the bill of Barksdale
finally came up in the Senate, Hunter
voted for it, even while speaking against it. The vote in the Senate on the final passage of the bill, March 7th, 1865, was as follows:
YEAs-Messrs. Brown, Burnett, Caperton, Henry, Hunter, Oldham, Semmes, Sims, and Watson--9.
NAYs — Mssrs.
Barnwell, Graham, Johnson (Ga.), Johnson (Mo.), Maxwell, Orr, Vet, and Witfall-8.
Thus, the instructions of the Virginia Legislature, by compelling Hunter
to vote contrary to their opinions, carried the bill through.
This bill enacted that in order to secure additional forces to repel invasion, etc., the President
be authorized to ask for and accept from slave owners the services of as many able-bodied slaves as he thinks expedient; the same to be organized by the commander-in-chief
under instructions from the War Department, and to receive the same rations and compensation as other troops.
If a sufficient number of troops cannot thus be secured, the President
is authorized to conscript three hundred thousand men without regard to color.
There is no provision for emancipation or for volunteering, except that the last section says:
That nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize a change in the relation which the said slaves shall bear toward their owners, except by the consent of the owners and of the States in which they may reside, and in pursuance of the laws thereof.
This measure was, of course, ineffective.
It did not embody the views of Mr. Davis
, nor of General Lee
, nor of the Virginia Legislature.
It was comparatively useless as a means to reinforce the army immediately, and this was the more singular, since it was now well known in Richmond
that General Lee
had told the Virginia