RALEIGH, N. C., December 11, 1862.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate States of America:
DEAR SIR: The undersigned, senators and representatives from the Tenth Congressional District of North Carolina, now attending the General Assembly, desire to call your attention to the following statement of facts:
The people living in the counties composing the Tenth Congressional District own comparatively but few slaves, and have, therefore, to rely mainly upon white labor for the cultivation of their lands and their supplies of provisions. In nearly all the counties we represent the number of volunteers and conscripts furnished to the Confederate Army is almost equal to our entire voting population. This district is composed of fifteen counties. These counties do not [contain] as many slaves, all told, as some single counties in the middle and eastern divisions of the State. It is manifest, then, that the levies made by the conscript law upon our section have well-night stripped us of our laboring population. We further state that with aid of the conscripts during the last summer we have been unable to produce sufficient supplies for the present winter and coming spring. We hope, however, by the strictest economy and the abandonment of a portion of our live stock to prevent actual starvation. It must be borne in mind, nevertheless, that great privation and suffering are inevitable. We could cite hundreds of instances where three or four families of women, numbering from ten to fifteen children, have been thrown together into one house, not having so much as a boy large enough to go to mill. These noble women or now aided by the few scattering men who remain at home. But if the remaining conscripts, from thirty-five to forty or forty-five, are enrolled and ordered into camp, it can result in nothing short of actual starvation among some of these helpless women and children. Moreover, it will be impossible for the few old men and boys remaining at home to cultivate one half the amount of land that was cultivated last summer in that section, and hence the danger of a general famine through that entire district. This section of the State which we represent is very mountainous and remote from railroad facilities, and cannot, therefore, procure provisions from abroad.
We are free, thought the task is an unpleasant one, to state another fact. Most of the cases of desertion among the soldiers from that section have been produced by the sufferings of their families and parents at home. We challenge the Confederacy to produce a more loyal and brave people than ours, and instance as an example the glorious Sixteenth North Carolina Regiment. Yet with all their loyalty, if the law be enforced and the remaining conscripts be taken, it will produce the deepest discontent and dissatisfaction among the soldiers already in the field form that section. We had reason to expect that you would have exempted that section from any further call.
In view of the foregoing facts we respectfully ask that you will suspend the enforcement of the conscript law in the Tenth Congressional District of North Carolina. We now appeal with confidence to you in behalf of these helpless women and children, believing that you cannot consent to see any one section of our beloved Confederacy reduced to actual starvation while some of our sister States are behind us in furnishing men for the field. So far we have done our duty and