Re-enlistment of volunteers.--no Coorcien.
I hope our Legislature will be able to devise a plan which will be successful in maintaining Virginia
's full quota in the military service.
The volunteers now in service are of course far better prepared for the work we have in hand than new recruits would be. But it is most sincerely to be hoped that this fact will not prove a temptation to our legislators to attempt to retain them without their cordial consent.
Whatever mode is devised, should stand fairly and squarely on the grounds of justice and equity.
Let no man be forced after he has fairly served out the period for which he enlisted.
is, or ought to be, a stench in the nostrils of Southrouns.
Any attempt at such a thing will be attemded with disaffection and disorganization.
And the reason is plain--there is no justice in it.
If we wish to retain their in valuable aid at this juncture let us go to them in all fairness, and say: ‘"We are anxious for you to re-enlist — we consider it almost indispensable to our final success, but we know that you have fullilled your engagement, and that we can have no claim upon you until every other man in the country has served a like term with you. Therefore, while we accord to every man of you the right to return to his home, if so disposed, we appeal to your love of country in the hour when she specially needs the services of true and tried men, not to jeopard all that has been gained by disbanding, but that, except in cases of imperative neceesity, you will dellberately devote yourselves to the honorable and glorious work of achieving your country's permanent peace and independence before you lay down your arms."’
Let this proposition be made in all condor, and let the volunteers be assured that no compuision shall be attempted or permitted.
At the same time, let a legislative enactment be passed by which some mark of honorable distinction shall be accorded to every man who shall thus offer himself to his country; and let him be relieved from militia and jury duty, or granted any other immunity, during his life, which may be properly granted under the circumstances.
If such a fair and honorable course shall be pursued with these noble and patriotic men, they will be led to that their country appreciates their character and services, and the result will be most happy for themselves and the country in the re-enlistment of great numbers of experien ged and willing men.
But, on the other hand, they cannot, say one side, see the justice of them, their.
the expires, to .
the army, while others, who refused to volunteer at first, and have enjoyed the comforts of home, should still take their ease.
Neither is there any justice in requiring the discharged volunteer to be subject to drafting again, until all liable to duty have been taken; for in that case the man who has done no service will stand an equal chance to get free with the one who has already discharged his duty.
Our volunteers are men, many of them men of refined feelings and cultivated minds, and as capable of appreciating honorable dealing or scorning and resisting injustice as any among us; and I, for one, do not desire to see any service required of them, nor any conditions imposed upon them, other than those which their own high sense of duty and devoted love of country shall induce them to impose upon themselves.