The fact exists, however, and with that fact we have to deal. I venture now to suggest the remedy, based upon the idea that the conscript law has done all that it will do in the way of filling up the Army. I would say, then, repeal the conscript law so far as the future is concerned, retaining all that you have made by it, and then either call upon the Governors of the different States to furnish their quotas or authorize the formation of companies, regiments, and even brigades and divisions, to be accepted by the President and officered by him. In this work he might profitably employ many officers now in commission. Both these plans will at once add to he number from which recruits are to be got-all the men under eighteen and over thirty-five in the different States, and the latter constitute a very large element. It besides relieves the new recruits from the odium of being conscripts, and will give a new impulse to the work of volunteering. Of the two plans, the first is the best, as in the event of a failure to get as many as you want, the machinery of the State governments for drafting can at once be resorted to, and is far less offensive to the pride of our people than the conscript law. Such is the result of my observations and reflections in my quiet home. I give them to you for what they are worth.
While writing I will refer to another matter that is creating some unpleasant feeling in our State. General Mercer is impressing negroes to complete the fortifications at Savannah, and is going to the plantations, where our planters give up their cotton crops to raise corn and provisions for the Army and country, and he goes just at the time when they are saving their fodder and when all their hands are required. Our planters very naturally say that we ought to take the negroes working upon railroads, accustomed therefore to such work, and besides he railroads can wait. Corn and fodder cannot wait. In addition to this, the offer has been made to General Mercer to do the whole work by contract at less expense to the Government. I mention this matter because it is creating much bad feeling. Our people are willing to make any and all sacrifices but they like to see reason and common sense in the officials of Government. My health has improved much slower than I had hope, but I shall still return to camp next week and try it, anyhow.
The order of General Cooper and the letter of President Davis about General Pope and his officers meet universal and enthusiastic approval. *
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, DISTRICT OF GEORGIA,
Savannah, August 5, 1862.
Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to inclose a memorial presented by a committee of the citizens of Libthis State, a community noted for their respectability and worth. the subject presented, I would respectfully submit, is one that demands the early notice of the Congress when it shall reassemble, and the instructions of the War Department (in accordance with such legislation as may be adopted) for the government of military commanders. The evil and danger
*For these documents see Series II, VOL. IV, p. 830, 836.