War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 0712 Chapter LXIII. MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA.

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men already property organized who would be prompt to act for local defence, and would be in the Confederate service, and therefore far from the objections made by the desision of Judge Pearson. Will you inform me whether in your opinion there would be any difficulty in forming such organizations, to be composed exclusively of volunteers exempt from conscription? If it be impracticable, there would be no other resource than to call out the militia; but if possible, I think these organizations would prove more effective. You will observe that one great advantage in the local-service organization over the militia result from the fact that when the militia is called out it takes all classes from their labors and stript the country of those whose services are very important in other pursuits, while the local-service organization would be composed of volunteers only, adn would probably leave the most valuable of the population available at home for their usual occupation. Be assured you need no apology for the length of your letter. The subject is too important and the tone of your remarks too public-spirited and patriotic to render your letter otherwise than most acceptable.

Very truly and respectfully, yours,

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

[18.]

HANOVER JUNCTION, May 22, 1863.

To His Excellency Z. B. VANCE:

DEAR SIR: Inclosed you will find a couple of letters* sent by people at home to induce soldier to desert. Colonel Singeltary tells me he has frowarded others to you. General Lee telegraphs me that men from our State are deserting every day, carrying off guns and ammunition. A fear the thing has gone to such an extent that requres the axe to be laid to the root of the tree. It might easily have been prevented in the beginning had Generals Johnston and Bearegard been disciplinarias. Unfortunately they were not. I can attribute these desertions to but one cause, the unfortunate state of public opinion at home produced, I am convinced, by a small but very active portion of the community. We have watched closely for some months the course of certain newspaper, and of a majority of the Legislature. I regret to say that I have not seem from either a single word calculted to aid us in our efforts to save the community from subjection to the worst of all tyranies. They utter nothing but declamations calculated and intended to make us dissatisfied, not only with the Confederate Government, but the Confederate cause; to impress us with hopelessness of the struggle, adn thus to unnerve us preparatory to submission. That the majority of the people have no symphaty with these papers I am convinced since my campaigns in the enemy's lines near Washington to and New Berne. Those people, with a few vile exceptions, are true, and did everything to encourage us to bear with the privtions entailed uon us by the hard necessity of the lines since my arrival among the troops of this army. I am equally convinced that when the war is over, and our true soldier return to their homes, there will be a bitter day of reconing with the enemies behind us. Buth that is not sufficient for the present. A certain class of soled not sufficient for the present. A certain class of soldiers is influenced by this condition of public opinion. They are told, as you see by the by this condition of public opinion. They are told, as you see by the letters, that they an desertes with impunity; that the militia officers will not do their duty; that they can band together and defy the officers of

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* Not found.

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