War of the Rebellion: Serial 062 Page 0974 Chapter XLVI. LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI.

Search Civil War Official Records

These troops were received by companies, according to the Confederate organization, and elected their field officers after entering into the Confederate service, and my object was to consolidate, when once in for the war, these regiments with the old skeleton regiments, retaining best officers from both. The Legislature, however, notwithstanding my urgent representation, failed to legislate the State troops in for the war, but passed an act keeping them in service for six months longer, giving furloughs to all over forty-five years of age, and ordering an entire reorganization of the State forces, with a new election of officers. The Legislature did not attempt to exercise any control over the conscript element, and the Governor in his first correspondence with me in reference to the law also seemed to waive any such pretensions. He issued a proclamation, however, to that portion of the citizens still liable to militia duty, among whom there were many conscripts, not to join any organization, old or new, except that of the State troops, and the conscripts already in service among the State troops considered this proclamation as applicable to them also, and great number of them returned home.

Under these circumstances, I invited the Government and Lieutenant-General Smith to meet me at Houston, and in a conference which then ensued the Governor claimed the right of the State to the conscripts, which was denied by both Lieutenant-General Smith and myself. I knew, however, after the proclamation of the Governor alluded to, these conscripts could not be practically made available by the lieutenant-general commanding and myself. Lieutenant-General Smith substituted to the Governor the following proposition as a compromise, which was accepted by him: That the conscripts, at their option, form new organizations of companies in the C. S. service, or join existing organizations in the C. S. service. All who do not join either will be organized into the State troops. All of conscript age who go into the State troops will, at the expiration of the six month's term of service, be enrolled in the C. S. service.

It was subsequently clearly understood that they would be transferred to the old organizations at the end of six months, and as the State law prescribed furloughs for the State troops, excluding the conscript element, it was deemed best to grant furloughs of from thirty to forty days to the conscripts then in the State troops, they having left home to serve for six months, and not having made arrangements for absence during the war; besides, as before stated, many had already gone home, and the rest could not be enrolled, as the principle seemed to be established by the Governor's proclamation above mentioned that their services were due to the State in preference to the Confederate States. The principle upon which the Governor rested this claim he announced to be that when the Confederate States and the State had concurrent jurisdiction, the party which occupied the ground first was entitled to the exclusive exercise of such jurisdiction. This claim was strenuously resisted by Lieutenant-General Smith and myself, and I remarked that the President would never consent to waive his jurisdiction over the conscripts, as the maintenance of his armies depended upon his preserving that principle inviolate.

The Governor claimed that the President would decide in his favor. The result is the entire disorganization for the present of the State troops, and the loss for the present of all the conscripts, except the few who have chosen to enter old organizations and those who