of them, and those which it has obtained are, generally speaking, the meanest, scarcely worth the repairs which have been put upon them.
In relation to the success of the late requisition, the security of the country depends upon its being met, and if it is not we may expect to be desolated by raids. We must necessarily depend upon our home population to repel them, as we cannot draw upon our main armies to do it. Our forces in Tennessee and Mississippi are opposed by those of the enemy greatly superior in numerical strength as well as equipments and munitions of war. Bragg and Johnston each need at least 20,000 men, and Lee to do his work is obliged to uncover Richmond. It would deplete each of these armies if we were to take from them men enough to give security against the predatory and plundering incursions which will be attempted at every point within our lines where we can be weakened by the destruction of our resources of any kind. Our lines of communication will be interrupted, our workshops destroyed, and the most fertile section of our country desolated. I do not believe they will strike at the poorer sections. The object is to demoralize our slaves and destroy our means of subsistence.
There is with us a considerable and I think an increasing disposition manifested to meet the requisition by forming volunteer companies under the act of Congress of the 21st of August, 1861. This course is greatly to be preferred, and is in every respect more efficient to accomplish the purpose of the call as well as the least burdensome on the troops, as they would not be called out unless demanded by some particular and special exigency, and returned too their homes and their avocations as soon as the exigency had passed. In case of militia this course would be impracticable, at least to the same extend, as being generally infantry they could not be concentraen point with the requisite rapidity, nor could they if once discharged be reasembled without much difficulty. I know there is a strong prejudice entertained by many against entering the Confederate service, but am satisfied that under the assurances given by the Secretary of War, in his letter to the Governor making the requisition, that there is really just grounds for apprehension. I inclose extracts* from the letter referred to, which, although you are not authorized to make any public use of them so as to risk their being published, you can use in any other way in which you think proper if it will tend to encourage volunteering.
As to substitutes, I expect a large portion of them will try their best to escape taking any part whatever in the defense of their country, but it will be passing strange that a man who is able to fight for his country should not in any emergency be required to do so because he had furnished a substitute in the Confederate Army. I have no doubt whatever as to their liability to draft. By putting in a substitute he simply discharges a debt he owes to the Confederacy under the conscription act, but does not affect the duty he owes as a militiaman. The first is regulated by Confederate and the last by State authority. While it is the power of Congress to raise armies from men who are subjected to militia duty, that body has no authority to say that those who do not belong to the Confederate Army shall not be subject to militia duty. Under the first conscription Quakers could obtain exemption by payment of a sum of money into the Confederate Treasury. Would that exempt them from militia duty?