in this county volunteered for twelve months, and if no other call for volunteers upon the States for that length of time will be made, then is our past labor in vain. The companies will have to be disbanded and reorganized upon the basis decided by the Government. I presume that the action of the Department relates simply to such volunteers as shall be tendered directly to the General Government, leaving such requisitions as may be made upon the States to be filled upon such terms as may be obtained. If I am apparently criminally ignorant of facts, for information in regard to which I am now trespassing upon you, my almost constant absence from home and inability to obtain on my return even the newspapers of the day must plead in extenuation of my offense. I am clearly in favor of obtaining volunteers for the war, but it is now a most delicate step. After so long a peace, and in view of the sacrifices made by so large a portion of our volunteers in leaving home at all, the idea of an indefinite absence or a protracted absence is not eagerly embraced by the comparatively lethargic masses of our rural population. The pride of intellect, position, and education will only acutely feel its necessity and spring with alacrity to a post of such danger and sacrifice. Again, the honor of the position will be vastly dimmed and depressed by its contrast with the higher post of a soldier for the war. It might be that but few would enlist for the war and none for a less term of service, but the incalculaborganization over the gathering and dissolving scenes which take place inn an army under limited and short enlistments of its soldiery. I believe justify an attempt to reorganize companies already formed for twelve months' service upon the more permanent basis. But I am writing too much and about matters with regard to which I have little knowledge. Give me the information sought, advise what is best, and at your earliest convenience. Governor Pettus, it is stated, has declared his determination not to accept any more twelve-months' volunteers. If that be so, then twelve-months' volunteers are at an end. It seems to me this was not an advisable step unless he has full and certain information that he can get all you may ever want of another description. My information in this section of the State is not of that character. I may not rely as implicitly upon the ardor and enthusiasm of the masses as others; and let the leaders in the States whose breasts are charged with the electricity of the war cloud not make their own maddened pulses the standard by which to estimate the temperament and emotions of the vast masses of the peaceful peasantry of the country. But enough.
Please make a full and definite reply.
RALEIGH, N. C., May 23, 1861.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President Confederate States of America:
SIR: It is made my pleasing duty, as president of the North Carolina State convention, to transmit to you two ordinances,* unanimously passed by that body, and I have charged T. B. Venable, esq.
*See May 20, pp. 335, 336.
23 R R-SERIES IV, VOL I