Indian country, and destroy all hope of recovering Missouri, besides exposing Texas and Louisiana to the greatest misfortunes. Such calamities could not be averted without an army. I had no army, and had not been authorized to raise one, the instructions of General Beauregard limiting me to the enforcement of the conscript act, which prohibited new regiments. To wait until the necessary authority could be applied for and received from Richmond, would be nothing else than the surrender to the enemy of the very country from which the troops must be obtained. I therefore resolved to accept the responsibility, which the situation imposed, of raising and organizing a force without authority of law, and that I would do all acts to make that determination effective. In coming to that conclusion, I considered that the main object of all law is the public safety; and that the evident necessity of departing from the letter of the law in order to accomplish its object, would more than justify me in the eyes of my superiors, and of intelligent patriots everywhere. The first difficulty to be met in the execution of this purpose, was the attempt of the governor of Arkansas to raise a State force, on the basis of his formal pledge not to transfer it to the Confederate service. Under the most favorable circumstances, two different organizations would antagonize rather than help each other. I had witnessed this result in Arkansas at the commencement of the war. . . Warned by this experience, and remembering the governor's late threat of secession, I represented to him that I should feel constrained to apply the provisions of the conscript act to his troops, and to impress whatever stores he might have accumulated. He abandoned the attempt, and transferred to the Confederacy the few troops already raised, together with all military property of the State. I now directed the enrollment. . . . of all men in Arkansas, subject to conscription. Absentees from commands east of the Mississippi [invalid officers and men also] were to be included, but with a memorandum stating their proper companies and regiments. Substitution was prohibited, because I regarded it as certain to increase the difficulties, already too great, that were in my way. . . . Laying off the State into convenient districts, I appointed a commander over each, giving him control of the enrolling
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
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.