previous next
[487] tickets might — as was indicated by Lord Lyons--have shrunk from an open committal to such a peace; but it is none the less certain that their attitude and action tended directly to insure a result which their bolder or more candid compatriots frankly proclaimed inevitable. Many who adhered to the Democratic organization asserted, what some, at least, must have believed — that the Confederates, in spite of their persistent, peremptory denials and disclaimers, might yet, by conciliatory overtures and proper concessions, be reconciled to a restoration of the Union; but very few who still adhered to that body, out of the army, averred that, if all proffers and guaranties should be rejected, they would favor a prosecution of the War for their subjugation.

The Rebel Congress having long since passed1 a conscription act, whereby all the White males in the Confederacy between the ages of 18 and 35 were placed at the disposal of their Executive, while all those already in the service, though they had enlisted and been accepted for specific terms of one or two years, were held to serve through the War, our Congress was constrained to follow afar off in the footsteps of the enemy; since out ranks, since our heavy losses in the bloody struggles of 1862, were filled by volunteers too slowly for the exigencies of the service. The act providing “for the enrollment of the National forces” was among the last passed2 by the XXXVIIth Congress prior to its dissolution. It provided for the enrollment, by Federal provost-marshals and enrolling officers, of all able-bodied male citizens (not Whites only), including aliens who had declared their intention to become naturalized, between the ages of 18 and 45--those between 20 and 35 to constitute the first class; all others the second class — from which the President was authorized, from and after July 1, to make drafts at his discretion of persons to serve in the National armies for not more than three years; any one drafted and not reporting for service to be considered and treated as a deserter. A commutation of $300 was to be received in lieu of such service: and there were exemptions provided of certain heads of Executive Departments; Federal judges; Governors of States; the only son of a widow, or of an aged and infirm father, dependent on that son's labor for support; the father of dependent motherless children under 12 years of age, or the only adult brother of such children, being orphans; or the residue of a family which has already two members in the service, &c., &c.

The passage and execution of this act inevitably intensified and made active the spirit of opposition to the War. Those who detested every form of “coercion” save the coercion of the Republic by the Rebels, with those who especially detested the National effort under its present aspects as “a war not for the Union, but for the Negro,” were aroused by it to a more determined and active opposition. The bill passed the House by Yeas 115, Nays 49--the division being, so nearly as might be, a party one--while in the Senate, a motion by Mr. Bayard that it be indefinitely postponed was supported

1 April 16, 1862.

2 March 3, 1863.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George D. Bayard (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 3rd, 1863 AD (1)
April 16th, 1862 AD (1)
1862 AD (1)
July 1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: