ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, No. 298.
Richmond, December 20, 1862.
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XIII. Authority is hereby granted A. A. Stewart to raise a company of men over the conscript age (forty-five years) for service in the State of Florida, and not to be attached to any regiment or battalion.
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By command of the Secretary of War:
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Jackson, Miss., December 20,1 862.
GENTLEMEN OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
For the consideration of matters of vital interest to the safety of the State you have been called into extra session. The magnitude of the preparations and the vast armies sent by our enemies for our subjugation require corresponding efforts on our part to render our defense successful. To effect this end I recommend that the entire white male population of the State from sixteen to sixty years to age be enrolled in the militia, and that such as are deemed able to go into the active service be called at once to the defense of the State. This class who are able for active service in the field will probably constitute one-half of the entire population subject to military duty. The other half could be organized as a reserve to be armed and drilled for local defense against raids of small foraging parties of the enemy. One-fourth of this reserved class could act as armed patrols in their respective counties, and thus give a feeling of security to the people in every county in the State and the successful prosecution of the war to fill up our regiments now in the field and to return to the Army the hundreds who are absent without leave, or on expired furloughs, or have recovered from disability and are now able to return to the Army the hundreds who are absent without leave, or on express furloughs, or have recovered from disability and are now able to return to duty, I suggest the importance of requiring the sheriffs, magistrates, and constables to aid the military authorities of the State to enroll, and if necessary to arrest, conscripts and send them to the proper camps, and to arrest and send to their commands all who owe service to the country and either neglect or refuse to perform it. The prompt and faithful performance of this duty should be enforced by heavy penalties, extending to even the dismissal from office for willfully failing or refusing to give the required aid in arresting and sending back to duty those who seek to avoid it. I recommend that the Legislature pass an act disfranchising every citizen who shall be convicted of evading or refusing to perform the military duties required of him by law, either by leaving the State, or hiding out from home, or otherwise. Such are not fit to associate on terms of equality with the loyal and brave who return with honorable scars from the battle for independence. Slave labor has been employed by State and Confederate authorities on works deemed necessary for the public safety. The liberal and patriotic have cheerfully responded to the calls for slaves for this purpose, while some have refused to contribute anything, or even to send their slaves on assurance of full and ample compensation. I ask that