giving you the power to suspend the act as above stated. If you refuse to exercise this power and are permitted to take all between thirty-five and forty-five as conscripts, you disband and destroy all military organization in this State and leave her people utterly powerless to protect their own families even against their own slaves. Not only so, but you deny to those between thirty-five and forty-five a privilege of electing the officers to command them, to which, under the Constitution of the Confederacy and the laws of this State, they are clearly entitled, which has been allowed to other troops from the State, and was to a limited extent allowed even to those between eighteen and thirty-five under the act of April 16, as that act did allow them thirty days within which to volunteer under such officers as they might select, who chanced at the time to have commissions from the War Department to raise regiments. If you deny this rightful privilege to those between thirty-five and forty-five and refuse to accept them as volunteers with officers selected by them in accordance with the laws of their State and attempt to compel them to enter the service as conscripts, my opinion is your orders will only be obeyed by many of them when backed by an armed force which they have no power to resist. The last act, if I construe it correctly, does not give those between thirty-five and forty-five the privilege under any circumstances of volunteering and forming themselves into regimental organizations, but compels them to enter the present organizations as privates under officers heretofore selected by others, until all the present organizations are filled to their maximum number. This injustice can only be avoided by the exercise of the power given you to suspend the act and call upon the States for organized companies, battalions, and regiments.
I think the history of the past justifies me in saying that the public interest cannot suffer by the adoption of this course. When you made a requisition upon me in the early part of February last for twelve regiments I had them all, with a large additional number in the field, subject to your command and ready for service in about one month. It has now been over six months since the passage of the first conscription act and your officers during that time have not probably enrolled and carried into service from this State conscripts exceeding one-fourth of the number furnished by me s volunteers in one month; while the expense of getting the conscripts into service has probably been four times as much as it cost to get four times the number of volunteers into the field. In consideration of these facts I trust you will not hesitate to exercise the power given you by the act of Congress and make an early requisition (which I earnestly invite) upon the Executive of this State for her just quota of the additional number of troops necessary to be called out to meet the hosts of the invader, the troops to be organized into companies, battalions, and regiments in accordance with the laws of this State. The prompt and patriotic response made by the people of Georgia to every call for volunteers justifies the reasonable expectation that I shall be able to fill your requisition in a short time after it is made, and authorizes me in advance to pledge prompt compliance. This can be done, too, when left to the State authorities, in such a way as not to disband nor destroy her military organization at home, which must be kept in existence to be used in case of servile insurrection or other pressing necessity. If you should object to other new organizations on the ground that they are not efficient, I beg to invite your attention to the
9 R R-SERIES IV, VOL II