BY THE GOVERNOR OF NORTH CAROLINA.
Whereas, it is reported to me that many soldiers from the troops of this State have deserted their colors and comrades and are now lurking in the woods and mountains, some of them subsisting by forcing their friends to violatte the laws by aiding them, and others by violent depredations upon peaceable citizens, enttailing shame and obloquy upon themselves and their posterity, outraging the lavs and peace of society, and damaging the cause of their hard-pressed country;
And whereas, General Robert E. Lee, in General Orders, Numbers 54, August 10, 1864,* has promised to deal leniently with all who promptly return to duty, though they may have incurred the penalties of desertion by prolonged absence without authority: Know, therefore, I, Zabulon B. Vance, Governor of the State of North Carolina, do issue this my proclamation, urging most earnestly upon all such misguided men to wipe out from their once-respected names the foulstain of desertion by promptly returning to the post of duty in accordance with said General Orders, Numbers 54, promising to all such who voluntarily return or surrender themselves to the proper authorities a full and free pardon, or the inflicttion of only the mildest penalties of the military law, except those who have been guilty of capital felonies against the lives and property of the citizens; and this promise shall hold good for thirty days from the date hereof. And I hereby warn all such who refuse to comply with these terms that the utmost powers of this State will be exerted to capture them or drive them from the borderes of a country whose high honor and spotless renown they disgrace by refusing to defend, and that the extremest penalties of the law will be enforced withoutt exception when caught, as well as against their aiders and abettors in the civil courts. Simultaneously with this proclamation orders will issue to the entire militia of the State to turn out for their arrest, and I hope by timely submission they will speare me the pain of huntting down like guilty felons many brave and misguided men who have served their country well and could do so again. Deserters from other States who hide in our woods and assist in giving our State a bad name I can do nothing for, but to the erring soldiers of North Carolina I confidently appeal. I earnestly call on all good citizens to assist me in making this appeal effectual, both by their exertions as militia soldiers and their influence as men, to take pains to seek out all deserters of their acquaintance, put the proclamation in their hands or in the hands of their relatives and friends, and urge upon them to return to the path of duty, which is also the path of safety and of honor. If every good and loyal citizen would set about to reclaim or capture one deserter by every means in his power he would succeed, and he will have rendered a most valuable and patriotic service to his State and country. Civil magistrateted to be diligent in proceeding against all such as violate the statute against harboring, aiding, or abetting deserters, and warning is hereby given that in all cases where either civil magistrates or militia or homeguard officers refuse or neglect to faithfully perform their duty in this respecct, upon proper evidence submitted to me, the Executive protection extended to them under acts of Congress shall be withdrawn, as I cannot certify that officers, civil or military, who refuse to perform their
*See VOL. XLII, Part II, p. 1169.