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[552] Legislature that, unless he was reinforced he could not maintain the struggle any longer than the opening of the spring campaign. Nothing can reveal more forcibly the selfish narrow-mindedness and jealousy of the slave-holding interests than this bill.

Still, if there had been time to do it, Jefferson Davis would have, doubtless, conscripted the three hundred thousand negroes which the law empowered him to call for. But there was not time. The House concurred in the Senate amendments on the 9th, by a vote of thirty-nine to twenty-seven, and the bill was promptly approved on March 13th. On the 15th, the Adjutant General's office gave authority to Majors J. W. Pegram and T. B. Turner, to raise a company or companies of negro volunteers at Richmond, and muster them into the service. These volunteers were called for under the several acts of the Confederate Congress and the Legislature of Virginia, and every man was called upon to constitute himself a recruiting officer. The rendezvous was established at Smith's factory, Twenty-first street, between Main and Carey streets. But this call was only made on the 10th of March, and Richmond was evacuated on April 2d, while Lee's surrender took place on the 9th. The Confederate Congress adjourned sine die on the 17th, and the last issue of the Richmond Sentinel, my authority in these matters, is dated April 1st, when Sheridan had already forced Lee's lines. Mr. Lincoln, apparently, did not think much of the impressment and enlisting of slaves. He said, in a speech made at Washington on the 17th of March, that the negro could not stay at home and make bread and fight at the same time, and he did not care much which duty was allotted to him by the Confederates. “We must now soon see the bottom of the rebels' resources.”

We hear not much more of the negro enlistment question. The papers urge the importance of dispatch, patience, discipline. The Twenty-first street recruiting office apparently got on well, and another office was opened successfully in Lynchburg. A portion of the recruits of Messrs. Pegram and Turner went into camp on the north side about the 27th of March. The Lynchburg papers published a circular of citizens of Roanoke county, pledging themselves to emancipate such of their negroes of the military age as would volunteer to enlist, and, on the 28th, the Adjutant General's office at Richmond published its regulations in regard to negro enlistments. The provisions were merely formal, and did not vary from the regulation orders except in one particular: the negroes, as enlisted, were to be enrolled only in companies, under the control of the inspector general, as the government did not contemplate at that time the formation of either regiments or brigades of negroes.

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