The act of February 28 gave to the President authority only to receive into his service such forces then in the service of the States as might be tendered, or as might volunteer by consent of their States. The next act, of March 6, removed these two restrictions and authorized the President to employ the militia, and naval forces of the Confederate States of America, and to ask for and accept the services of any number of volunteers not exceeding 100,000, &c. The act of May 6 removed the limitation as to numbers and gave to the President the power to appoint the field and staff officers for the organization accepted under it. By the act of May 11 the President was relieved of the delay of a formal call, was authorized to prescribe the term of service for which the volunteers offering under the act should be accepted, anto commission all officers entitled to commission.
By the act approved May 11, 1861, the President was authorized to receive into service such companies, battalions, or regiments, either mounted or on foot, as might tender themselves, and he might require, without the delay of a formal call upon the respective States, to serve for such time as he prescribed, and "to commission all officers entitled to commission of such volunteer forces as may be received under the provisions of this act," &c.
These acts and the subsequent legislation on recruitment, to be found in full in Appendix to this report, give evidence of the immediate decline of the regard for State rights after the organization of the Confederacy, and establish the fact that the rebel leaders recognized the necessity of cogent military legislation sooner than the loyal people.
Prior to December 11, 1861, there was no law to enlist men in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States for a longer period than twelve months. On that date an act was approved providing for converting the troops then in service into three- years" troops, and the enlistment for that period of all troops thereafter. A bounty of $50 was allowed by this act to all soldiers enlisting or re-enlisting in accordance with it.
For the purpose of filling up with three-years" recruits the companies then in service, the rebel authorities sent recruiting parties from the different regiments and companies to the neighborhoods where their commands were raised to procure volunteers. These efforts do not seem to have met with success. On the 23rd of January, 1862, and on the 29th of January, 1862, acts were approved, the first of which required regular contingents of troops from the different States, while the second indicated that State drafts were necessary to obtain them.
With the exception of an act approved April 21, 1862, to organize hands of "partisan rangers," no important legislation was had for recruiting the rebel armies by volunteers subsequent to that last referred to.
CONSCRIPTION RESORTED TO BY THE REBELS.
On the 16th of April, 1862, an act of the rebel Congress was approved to "further provide for the public defense," the preamble to which recites" the exigencies of the country and the absolute necessity of keeping in the service our gallant Army, and of placing in the field a large additional force to meet the advancing columns of the enemy invading our soil." This act established conscription. It authorized the President "to call and place in the military service,