--Being a close reader of your excellent paper, and observing the zeal and patriotism which have characterized your unceasing endeavors to advance the interests of our infant Confederacy, and at the same time promote the comfort of our brave soldiers, I hope that you will not consider unworthy of a small space in your columns a few remarks addressed to the militia of our State.
Last spring, Lincoln
's call upon Virginia
for a few thousand men to crush out rebellion in the Southern States
, was answered by not less than fifty thousand of as brave and resolute soldiers as the world ever saw, who, within one month of the tyrant's proclamation, stood upon our frontiers ready and anxious for the approach of the Northern
Nowhere upon the page of history is recorded such burning patriotism, such universal devotion to the cause of freedom.
Never can we sufficiently praise their heroism and courage, and thank them for the gallant manner in which they checked the ‘ "onward march to Richmond
"’--march of the thievish Hessians
on the memorable 21st.
But in our enthusiasm, let us not forget that that army enlisted for only twelve months, and, judging from present appearances, their term will have expired long before this flendish attempt at oppression ceases; and it is but right and just that they be allowed to return to their homes, and afford the in "incible militia the opportunity and the privilege of striking for ‘"God and their country."’ But, in order that they may become effective soldiers before they are required on the field, and thus prevent any discrimination in the efficacy of our arms, it seems to be an established fact that, unless they volunteer en masse
previous to that time, a draft will be issued by the Executive
about the last of February, giving them two months to become thoroughly drilled, and accustomed to handling the guns.
Now, my object is to advise this strong arm of our country to begin immediately to make their preparations to leave home, and rally to the defence of the great Temple of Liberty, determined to drive back our ruthless and fanatical invaders, or perish in the attempt.
And certainly there need be no fears about the result, when our destiny is confided to the trust of such men.
But it appears to me, after carefully watching with painful solicitude the progress of the various diseases prevalent during the summer months throughout our camps, that every effort should be made to prevent a re-appearance of all these fevers the ensuing summer.
Of course, where there are so many men congregated together, there must necessarily be some sickness; but it cannot be denied that there has been an unusual amount of it among our troops, and also in a very malignant form, owing in a very great degree to the fact that our soldiers were called upon to leave their homes in the spring of the year — a season more unfavorable than any other for making such an entire change in our mode of living, and in all our habits; because then the naturally relaxed state of the system makes it more susceptible of disease than at any other time, even when surrounded by all the comforts and conveniences of home; and of course the danger of contracting disease becomes greater in proportion to the exposures and hardships which the recruit, entirely unaccustomed to, is subjected to in camp life.--At least such is the opinion of the most skillful and intelligent surgeons with whom I have conversed on the subject.
And certainly the opinion seems to be amply sustained, if we compare the sickness among our volunteers with that of the regulars during the past summer.
The latter being accustomed to that mode of living, escaped with comparatively little sickness, whilst a distressing number of the former was swept away by the destroyer.
Then the conclusion forces itself upon my mind that the most certain way of escaping pneumonia, typhoid, and numberless other fevers, is for the men to volunteer this fall.--They would serve just the same length of time if they would volunteer now, and become hardened to camp life during the healthy months of winter, as they would if they defer it till spring.
Then, let each and all, remembering that the preservation of their health is a duty they owe their country, as well as themselves, bravely come forward now, and take their positions on the side of right and justice, and in defence of political and religious freedom.