Doc. 40.-Governor Brown's Proclamation.
An appeal to the Georgians.
the late serious disasters to our arms at Vicksburgh and Port Hudson, together with General Bragg's retreat with his army to our very borders, while they are no cause of despair of ultimate success, if we are true to ourselves and place our trust in God, admonish us that, if we would protect our homes from the ravages of the enemy, it is time for every Georgian able to bear arms to unite himself without delay with a military organization, and hold himself in readiness at a moment's warning to strike for his home and the graves of his ancestors, with an unalterable determination to die free rather than live the slave of despotic power. Tens of thousands of our fellow-citizens have volunteered for the war, and those of them who have not been slain or disabled are still risking every thing for our success in distant fields upon the borders of the Confederacy. On account of the near approach of the enemy to the interior the call is now upon those at home, who have made comparatively little sacrifice, to volunteer  to defend their own habitations and property, and the homes and families of their neighbors who are in the army, against the threatened attacks of the enemy. Is there a Georgian able to bear arms so lost, not only to patriotism, but to all the nobler impulses of our nature, that he will in this emergency refuse to take up arms for the defence of his home and his family, when the enemy comes to his very door to destroy the one and insult and cruelly injure other? If there be a Georgian possessed of so little courage or manliness, let his fellow-citizens mark and remember him. If he hides himself behind some legal exemption as a mere pretext to avoid duty, let him be exposed to the censure he deserves; or if, in his anxiety to make money and become rich, he turns a deaf ear to the promptings of patriotism, and would sacrifice his liberties to his avarice, let him be exposed with indignant scorn to public contempt. The time has come for plain talk and prompt action. All that is dear to a people on earth is at stake. The best efforts of every patriot are required to save our cause from ruin and our children from bondage. We are determined to be a free people, cost what it may; and we should permit no man to remain among us and enjoy the protection of the government who refuses to do his part to secure our independence. If all our people at home will organize for home defence, and the Secretary of War will issue and enforce such orders as will compel the thousands of persons in confederate service who, on account of the wealth of parents or political influence, or other like causes, are now keeping out of the reach of danger — as passport agents, impressment agents, useless subalterns connected with the different departments, including other favorites of those in position, stragglers, etc., many of whom are suspected of riding over the country at public expense, engaged on private speculations, enrolling officers in counties where the officers exempt are almost as numerous as the conscripts now in the counties subject to enrolment, and the host of officers in uniform, and others, who are daily seen in every city, town, and village, and upon every railroad train, and in every hotel in the Confederacy — to return immediately to their respective commands in the field, we should soon have armies strong enough to roll back the dark cloud of war which hangs over us, and drive the invaders from our soil. By reference to the General Order herewith published, it will be seen that a draft will be had on Tuesday, the fourth day of August next, in each county in this State which neglects or refuses to furnish the quota of men required of it. Though some few of the counties have exhibited too little interest, I cannot believe that a single one will have its character stained by the necessity for a draft to defend their own homes. To those counties which have nobly and promptly responded, and especially to those which have tendered much more than their quota, I return my sincere thanks. While the militia officers of this. State have generally responded promptly and willingly, I regret to learn that some of them, in contradiction of all the professions they have made, having remained at home for home defence, now refuse to volunteer. To all such I hereby give notice that if they fail to come out themselves as volunteers with the organizations now called for, and to enter the service as invited in my proclamation calling for eight thousand troops by the fourth of August next, the protection of the State against conscription will be withdrawn from them, and they will be turned over to the enrolling officers under the conscript act. If, however, any militia officer, when approached by the conscript officer, will make an affidavit that he has not heard of or seen this proclamation, or had notice of it, he shall have five days from that date within which to join one of the companies now called for as a volunteer. This rule does not embrace any one connected with the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, as they are expected to hold themselves in readiness at all times to obey his orders, and are not expected to join these companies. All justices of the peace and. constables are to be subject to the same rule as militia officers, as their offices are not now so important that they cannot be spared to do local and temporary service in the defence of the State. In protecting State officers against conscription, I have acted upon what I consider an important principle. If any of them now refuse to aid in the defence of their homes, it will be proper that the State withdraw its protection from such in future. Let no one despair of ultimate success. We should not expect to be victorious on every field. The splendid achievements of our arms in the past have made us an historical people, and have clearly foreshadowed the final triumph of our arms and the future glory and grandeur of the Confederacy. Such a people, inhabiting such a country, and having such mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters, need only be true to themselves, and humbly trust in Almighty power, to be invincible. Given under my hand and seal of the Executive Department, this July seventeenth, 1863.