Discussion An Address by the Rebel Soldiers... How Confederate Conscription aided the Union Cause (Jan-Feb 1864).

Joined
Jan 29, 2019
I first came across an article from the 4 Feb 1864 issue of The New York Times, entitled; "An Address by the Rebel Soldiers," several years ago and have done a considerable amount of research into it since then. Basically, when news of what was to be included in the third and final Confederate Conscription Act first reached Confederate soldiers, in January and February 1864, the news began to spread throughout numerous Confederate camps in the South. It was disturbing and infuriating to many three year volunteers, who were coming up on the expiration of their terms of service in the Confederate army. Among other things, this new Conscription Act extended the ages from 17-50, and stated that any volunteer whose three year term of service was about to expire, who did not re-enlist into the Confederate army for the remainder of the war, would be conscripted and forced to serve the remainder of the war against their will. This initiated a knee-jerk reaction from many, which resulted in; "An Address by the Rebel Soldiers," being penned, reportedly by a Colonel of a Tennessee regiment in General Hardee`s corps of the Army of Tennessee, and was quickly copied from man to man, being sent to numerous Confederate camps throughout the region. Soon the copied manifesto was being seen and read by thousands of Confederate soldiers in countless camps throughout the South.

Then a U.S. Scout, who was in secret service to the U.S. Government, disguised as a Confederate soldier, was given a copy of the document at a camp in Calhoun county, AL, and quickly reported it up through his chain of command. By 2 Feb 1864 it was published in the Cincinnati Commercial as; "An Address by the Rebel Soldiers," and was quickly picked up by dozens of northern papers and read in numerous Union camps. The article was a strong arraignment of the new Conscription Act which caused a countless number of Confederate soldiers to go home after their three year terms of service had expired, with some deserting immediately and many of those crossing the Union lines and taking the oath of enlistment into the U.S. Army.

Below is that address:

The New York Times, 4 Feb 1864, An Address to the Rebel Soldiers:

AN IMPENDING REBEL REVOLT.; The Results of Their Wholesale Conscription--Remarkable Address of Rebel Soldiers in Arms--They Denounce Their Leaders and Refuse to Serve. THE ADDRESS.

The Cincinnati Commercial, of Feb. 2, publishes the following address, which it editorially vouches for as genuine. It says: "It comes to us from two distinct and independent sources, each professing to be a literal copy of the document, including italics and capitals. These transcripts of the original, are corroborative, and leave no room to doubt the genuineness of this revolutionary manifesto. How extensively it has been circulated, or to what extent it has influenced the rank and file of JOHNSTON's army, we have no means of knowing."

Eds. COMMERCIAL: The following address was procured by me from some rebel soldiers in Calhoun County, Alabama, a few days past. I was on secret service for the Government, and was, therefore, in disguise, and the rebels gave me the address, supposing me to be a rebel soldier. There is no mistake as to its genuineness; and I know that it has circulated to a considerable extent among the dissatisfied rebel soldiers. The italics and capitals are the author's; the punctuation is mine. I have the original copy in my possession. U.S. SCOUT.

FELLOW SOLDIERS OF THE ARMY OF TENNESSEE! -- Three years ago we were called upon to volunteer in the Confederate army for a term of three years; and we all nobly responded to the call, with the express understanding that we were to be discharged as soon as our term of service expired. Indeed, we were faithfully assured by all of our officials that such a course would be pursued. The Secretary of War proclaimed that those who volunteered for "three years or during the war" would have to be discharged from the army at the end of three years. But, to our utter surprise, we are now told that we must be CONSCRIPTED and FORCED to enter the army for another term of three years! Our feelings are not to be consulted -- WE MUST BE CONSCRIPTED!??

Was such a thing ever heard of before? Do the annals of war furnish a single instance of volunteer soldiers being forced to continue in the service after the expiration of their term of service? Surely not! If we search the history of the world, from the days of Adam down to the present, we will find that in every instance, a volunteer soldier was discharged as soon as his term of service expired, unless he of his own accord, reenlisted as a volunteer; and are we, Americans, once the boast and pride of the world -- ARE WE to be treated worse than the heathen of the dark ages treated their soldiers? Are we to be made the worst slaves ever known to the world? And are we to become the laughing-stock of the world?

FELLOW SOLDIERS! is it not clear to every rational mind that our pompous and merciless rulers are daily stealing away our rights and liberties, and reducing us to the most abject slavery ever known to the world? And shall we cowardly submit to this palpable infringement upon our most sacred rights ? We were told that we must come out to fight for our rights: yet our inhuman leaders are gradually robbing us of every right inherited by nature or transmitted to us by our predecessors! The Federals did not hesitate to discharge all their nine months' troops whose term of service expired last Summer -- they were promptly discharged, and their places filled up by new levies: and shall we suffer ourselves to be treated worse than our enemies are treated? No, brave comrades, let's assert our rights, and unflinchingly maintain them! Let's show our beastly rulers that they can not thus enslave us because we are private soldiers! They have already cunningly led us to the very threshold of destruction; they have practiced one deception after another upon us; they have told us lies -- HORRIBLE LIES -- to induce us to become their ABJECT SLAVES.

Among the innumerable lies promulgated by these unmitigated scamps, we call your attention to the following: They told us that the war would not last three months; that foreign nations would recognize us as an independent people, and help us fight; that the Yankees could not fight; that one of us could whip ten Yankees; that Vicksburg could never be taken; that Chattanooga could never be taken; that the peace party of the North would force LINCOLN to MAKE PEACE with the South; THAT WE SOLDIERS SHOULD BE DISCHARGED AS SOON AS OUR TIME EXPIRED, and that we would not be heavily taxed. These are but a few of the many hypocritical lies proclaimed by those conspirators who have precipitated us into irretrievable revolution. Shall we submit to be beguiled by these UNPARDONABLE USURPERS, and permit our families to STARVE TO DEATH, through want of our labor at home? Are we not aware that if our absence from our families be protracted another term of three years, many of them will suffer wretchedly for the necessaries of life, if they do not starve entirely to death? And are we not bound by the MOST SACRED LAWS known to man to provide for our families? And should we permit a set of usurping profligates to prevent us from complying with this DIVINE LAW? By the late laws of Congress, our families are to be taxed to an almost unlimited extent; and if we submit to become conscripts, the last ray of hope will have to be expelled from our hearts, for we can then hope for nothing but AN UNTIMELY STATE OF ABJECT SLAVERY, NOT ONLY OF OURSELVES, BUT ALSO OF OUR FAMILIES!

NOW IS THE TIME TO ASSERT OUR RIGHTS, for if we wait longer our DOOM WILL BE FOREVER SEALED! We who write this address are determined to demand our rights, and, if necessary, we will DEMAND THEM AT THE POINT OF THE BAYONET! We are not enemies to the South; but we are lovers of our rights, liberties and families; and if we must lose all our sacred rights, and permit our families to starve, in order to sustain our wicked leaders in their DECEPTIVE COURSE, we prefer to return to our ALLEGIANCE TO THE OLD GOVERNMENT, ACCEPT OF LINCOLN's PARDON, and let the leaders and their CONFEDERACY go to HELL TOGETHER! This may be hard language for men who have fought in many a hard battle to use; but silent endurance ceases to be a VIRTUE, and confident are we that the Government of the United States can treat us no worse than we are being treated by our heartless officials in the field as well as at Richmond.

But we are told that if we will let the authorities CONSCRIPT us the war will soon close, favorable to our side! Can any rational man credit such a perfidious lie? Does not this conscripting business plainly say to the world we are fast playing out? That our weakness is rapidly manifesting itself to our own deluded minds? Fellow-soldiers, we have been too often deceived by these wily liars to place the slightest confidence in anything they tell us. They are but INVENTED LIES to enable them to tie the cord of DESPOTISM tighter around our wrists! Every intelligent soldier among us knows that we are already whipped; and why not acknowledge it at once? Why not show our leaders that we know we are whipped as well as they do? PRESIDENT DAVIS VIRTUALLY ACKNOWLEDGES THIS FACT; so do the SECRETARY OF WAR and the SECRETARY of the TREASURY! What use is there for us to contend against a DEAD CURRENCY and an EMPTY COMMISSARY in the face of the best army ever marshaled for combat? Think of these things, fellow-soldiers, and decide what shall he your course. WE HAVE MADE UP OUR MINDS TO GO HOME AS SOON AS OUR TIME IS OUT!

MANY SOLDIERS.


During the last several years in which I have researched this, I have found and saved about twelve other period news paper accounts, spanning February-March 1864, which picked up the manifesto from the Cincinnati Commercial (2 Feb 1864) and ran the article, with several papers updating it as new information came in. I know that my 3rd Great Grandfather, who served with the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment in Brig. General Samuel Wragg Ferguson`s Cavalry Brigade, would have most likely read this, as one of the articles stated that about fifteen of the men who had deserted together from the Confederate army and enlisted into the U.S. Army, did so after receiving their copies of the manifesto from men of the 2nd Tennessee and 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiments (CSA), while in their respective camps. This manifesto, which was written as a direct consequence of the third Confederate Conscription Act, reportedly drove so many deserters and Unionists from northern Alabama across Union lines that the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment USV, was organized by Brig. General Grenville M. Dodge, becoming the sister regiment of the 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment USV, which he also organized about 16 months earlier. If my 3rd Great Grandfather did read the manifesto, it must not have been enough to dissuade him or to change his mind, as he continued in service with the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment (CSA), until the close of the war.

What do you guys think of this address? Have any of you seen it before? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
 
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Joined
Jan 29, 2019
Below is a transcribed letter written to the Editorial Department of the Cincinnati Commercial (Ohio), which was also picked up and published in the 5 Mar 1864 issue, of the Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye (Iowa). The letter was in response to the article, entitled; "An Address by the Rebel Soldiers," which was initially published in the 2 Feb 1864 issue of the Cincinnati Commercial, and picked up by numerous northern papers, in which it was also printed. The letter demonstrates the powerful effect that the manifesto had on some southern soldiers who read it and was moved to act. It was the direct testimony of a southern soldier, John E. Powell, I-Troop, 4th Georgia Cavalry Regiment (Col. Isaac W. Avery commanding), who stated that he had deserted and enlisted into the U.S. Army, just days after being given a copy of the manifesto, by a trooper of the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment (CSA), while passing through their camp. The heavily copied and shared document, or manifesto if you will, which he received and read, was the source for the 2 Feb 1864 article that was published in the Cincinnati Commercial as; "An Address by the Rebel Soldiers." Below, is that letter as published in the papers.

An Address to Rebel Soldiers - our readers will recollect the address to the Tennessee soldiers that we published on the 2d of February, and which was said to be in circulation in the rebel camp. The following letter sent to the Cincinnati Commercial, testifying to its authenticity is interesting:

Chattanooga, Feb. 17, 1864, Eds. Com.; In your paper of the 12th instant, I notice an editorial announcement that the Richmond Enquirer denies the authenticity of the address of some of our soldiers belonging to General Johnston`s army. I left Johnston`s command about the 1st Instant (1 Feb 1864), and came within the Federal lines for the purpose of taking the oath. Twelve other boys came with me. I live in Whitefield County, Georgia, and belonged to Capt. Burk`s Company I, 4th Georgia Cavalry, Col. Isaac W. Avery, commanding. A few days before I deserted, I read the same address in writing that you printed in your paper of the 2d Instant. It is somewhat changed, but is substantially the same as it was given to me by John Meadows, of the 2d Alabama Cavalry (C.S.A.). John Meadows lives in Coosa County, Ala. near Fish Pond Post Office, Tallapoosa County, Alabama. He told me that Burt Flinn of his company and regiment gave him a copy. I gave it to some boys of the 2d Tennessee Cavalry. I saw two other copies and every soldier who reads them wants to desert. The Yankees ought to print the address in hand bills and send them through the rebel camps. I heard some of the Rebel Soldiers say that a Colonel of a Tennessee Regiment first wrote the piece. General Johnston saw a copy of it and said he would give two-hundred dollars to know the man who wrote it. A copy of it was sent to the Augusta Chronicle & Sentinel, but they would not print it. If the Richmond Enquirer will go down and ask the 4th Georgia Cavalry for a copy of it, it will be apt to find it. There is lots of our boys who would desert if they could.

Yours respectfully,

John E. Powell
Co. I, 4th Georgia Cavalry.


The above account is but one of several that I have found, from period sources, which substantiates the manifesto and the effect that it had in encouraging some southern soldiers to desert and either go home to their families or cross the Union lines and take the oath of enlistment into the U.S. Army.
 

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Never heard of a CSA Third Conscription Act. Was that a real thing? What happened to it?
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2019
Never heard of a CSA Third Conscription Act. Was that a real thing? What happened to it?
The Act of April 16, 1862 made all white men, 18 to 35 years old, available for military service during three years. The one-year volunteers saw their enlistment period extended with two years. The draft would be administered by the Confederate Secretary of War who would establish draft quotas for the several states of the Confederacy. On September 27, 1862, the Congress extended the age limit to 45 years of age and on February 17, 1864 all white men, 17 to 50 years old, became available for military service for an unlimited period, i.e. "for the war", although those 17 to 18 years and 45 to 50 years old, would constitute a state defense reserve, not serving outside their resident state.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_Conscription_Acts_1862–1864
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
The confederacy was never going to be able to build a bigger army than the union. I have long believed the conscription acts played a big role in defeating the confederacy. Morale of the non slave owning soldiers was critical for the combat efficiency of the CS army which had to compensate in part with good morale to offset superior numbers of opposing force.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2019
The confederacy was never going to be able to build a bigger army than the union. I have long believed the conscription acts played a big role in defeating the confederacy. Morale of the non slave owning soldiers was critical for the combat efficiency of the CS army which had to compensate in part with good morale to offset superior numbers of opposing force.
None of the Confederate Conscription Acts were very popular with the average citizen in the South, and once implemented, at various times and stages of the war, the very nature of the thing seemed to really make southern citizens question the practice, even more-so as more of their family members were forced into service. The greatest resentment expressed was regarding the elites who were exempted from conscription, which seemed to always favor the planter class and their offspring, while sending the lower class population off to the front to fight the war.

One of the more egregious exemptions, which also favored the wealthy planter class, came soon after the Second Conscription Act had been passed and was initiated (27 Sep 1862), just weeks later on 11 Oct 1862, which was dubbed the Twenty Slave Rule. This rule stated that any one who owned at least twenty slaves would be exempt and the more slaves that a person owned the more of his family would be exempted from military service. This act was responsible for many volunteers and conscripted soldiers to question why they and their families had to fight, but the wealthy and well connected did not. This resentment led to numerous desertions from the Confederate Army and cemented strong Union sentiment in several parts of the South, which led to the Free States of Jones county, MS, and Winston county, AL., being declared, with other such declarations being considered in other parts of the South.

Up until late December 1863, anyone who had volunteered or was drafted for Confederate military service, had the right to hire a man to serve in his stead. The substitute could not be a person available for military service under the Conscription Act, and had to be fit for duty. This provision was eventually abolished by the Confederate Congress on 28 Dec 1863. Then to complicate matters worse, about a week later on 5 Jan 1864, those who had hired substitutes became eligible for the draft and could be conscripted. This was also one of the things which created anger in addition to the third Conscription Act, passed into Law just weeks after that, which forced three year volunteers to either re-enlist or be eligible for conscription after their terms of service had expired. So, by 17 Feb 1864, if a Confederate soldier had hired a substitute to serve his term of service, that contract was made null and void and now that person was immediately made eligible for conscription, as was the three year volunteer who may have decided not to re-enlist for the remainder of the war. So, when this manifesto reached many in the Confederate army, it immediately began to resonate with those who read it.

In Winston county, Alabama, and other parts of northern Alabama where Union sentiment was very strong, this was the straw that broke the Camel`s back, as many had either dodged conscription or hired substitutes to stay out of the war up until this point. When that practice was no longer allowed, many of them fled across the Tennessee river, where they crossed the Union lines and took the oath of enlistment into the U. S. Army in January and February 1864. Many of those men were used to form the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment USV and to replenish the ranks of the 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment USV and 1st Tennessee & Alabama Independent Vidette Cavalry USV, due to attrition which left many vacancies needing to be filled, replacing those who were Killed, captured, missing or severely wounded during previous battles and skirmishes fought.

Below, from the War of the Rebellion; Series I, Volume XXXII, Part II, pages 255-256, is a request sent from Brig. General Grenville M. Dodge, who referenced the fact that deserters were being heavily driven to his lines due to conscription and those who had hired substitutes, who wanted to enlist into the U.S. Army, and he was requesting to use them to form the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment USV. Which on the following day he received permission to do that, and began that process. Below is that communique.

PULASKI, TENN., January 29, 1864.

Lieutenant Colonel T. S. BOWERS, Assistant Adjutant-General:

The rebel conscription is driving to our lines a large number of Union men, who furnish substitutes, and men who have always stood by us and kept out of the rebel army by taking to the mountains. They desire to go into our service, and many prominent men among them think they can raise a regiment. Can you authorize me to enlist them, and have a regiment, to be known as the Second Alabama Cavalry? I raised and officered the First Alabama Cavalry at Corinth, now 800 strong, and I have no doubt I can raise another. These men flock to my lines this fact.

G. M. DODGE,
Brigadier-General.


I also feel that Confederate conscription played a much larger role in the Unions victory, more-so than many are willing to attribute to it. Every Confederate soldier who deserted and went home was one less to oppose them on the field of battle and every one that deserted and joined the Union cause gave them one more than the Confederate army had. As the war drew on and entered into its third year, many Confederate soldiers had grown tired of the hardships, finding themselves devastated by the news that they would receive from home, regarding the suffering of their families. Many of whom were in serious want for even the most basic necessities, with quite a few starving, with no where and no one to turn to in their time of need and desperation. I think that alone made the manifesto; "An Address by the Rebel Soldiers" resonate with many who read it, as it came to them from camp to camp, it reminded them of the loved ones that they left back at home and made many of them question if it was all worth the hardships that they and their families had to endure.
 
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Joined
Jan 29, 2019
The Address does sort of look like a Union propaganda effort, or psychological warfare weapon. Any opinion on whether it was genuine or not?
In several northern newspapers, which I have found from the period, letters were written by Confederate soldiers who had deserted and enlisted into the U. S. Army, who basically confirmed what John E. Powell had written in his letter dated, 17 Feb 1864 to the Cincinnati Commercial, shown above in post #3. They all spoke of a document that was circulating through their camps which read very much like the article, the words being somewhat changed but the sentiment and content was basically the same.

In the 7 Feb 1864 issue of The Nashville Daily Union, the following article was published, which addressed the effect that the Rebel Address was having on the Confederate army, in various parts of the South. It stated that a few of the southern deserters, whom were picked up by the Federal advance in northern Alabama, did in fact reference a document, very similar to the content of the manifesto (address), stating that it was responsible for their desertion. The article stated:

"Late and Important from the front - Unexampled desertions from the enemy; Our readers will recollect that one of the copies of the remonstrance of the rebel soldiers against continuing in the service, which was published a few days since, was obtained from Calhoun (formerly Benton) county, Alabama, which lies some seventy miles nearly south from Larkinsville, on the Tennessee (river), at which point a considerable force of our troops crossed, some days since. As yet we have not learned the distance our army has penetrated toward the interior; but from a gentleman just from Larkinsville, we learn that our advance is picking up deserters by hundreds, who are continually arriving at Larkin`s Ferry, and reporting to the Provost Marshal at that place. Several of them have referred to the document, which we published, without the knowledge of its having seen the light; and they declare it speaks the sentiment of four-fifths of the non-commissioned officers and privates, and of at least half of the commissioned officers in the rebel army. Our informant had not seen, nor heard of the manifesto, through northern sources, until we called his attention to it, after he had related the above facts.

He states that not only are these deserters anxious to accept the President`s amnesty, but a majority express a desire to enlist in the Union armies, despite the dangers to which they subject themselves. They say that there can be no peace while the rebels continue in arms; and that they are desirous of aiding in the work of crushing their military power. This is particularly the case with those whose families are yet with-in the rebel lines. Great delays arise from the fact that the Provost Marshal has no printed blanks; clerks are employed to write the oaths required to be taken, but that is a slow process."


On 5 Feb 1864, The Nashville Daily Union, picked up and printed the article; "An Address by the Rebel Soldiers" from the 2 Feb 1864 issue of the Cincinnati Commercial, which is what the article above, from 7 Feb 1864, was in reference to.

However, not every northern paper that picked up and printed the article; "An Address by the Rebel Soldiers" from the Cincinnati Commercial, was convinced that the article was genuine. The 12 Feb 1864 Caledonian, which was published at St. Johnsbury, VT. seemed to express, at the very least, a small amount of doubt regarding the manifestos legitimate origins as being written by Rebel soldiers. I have to say that I have only found one such article in my research of the subject matter, so the sentiment must not have been wide spread. All of the other newspapers of which I can verify ran the original address, did not express concerns or doubt of its genuine origins. The Caledonian article stated the following:

"A remarkable document from rebeldom has been forwarded within our lines. It is no less than an address prepared by the soldiers in the army of General Hardee, denouncing the Conscription Act of the government (Confederate), which forces the veterans to remain in the army another three years, whether they are willing or not. It also accuses the leaders of the rebellion with lying, cheating and making the soldiers "abject slaves." Those who prepared the address say they are determined to demand their rights at the point of the bayonet. The document in question deals in strong language, and shows there is considerable feeling among the rebel soldiers. It may be a matter of doubt, however, whether any such address was ever issued by the rebel soldiers. It was first published in the Cincinnati Commercial, and there vouched for as genuine; but we think it of doubtful origin."

Propaganda or factual, many Confederate soldiers who had read it, in the original manifesto or later in northern papers, they believed it was real, and it resonated with many enough so much so, as to move them to desert and either go home, or to cross the Union lines and take the oath of enlistment into the Union army.
 
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Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
In several northern newspapers, which I have found from the period, letters were written by Confederate soldiers who had deserted and enlisted into the U. S. Army, who basically confirmed what John E. Powell had written in his letter dated, 17 Feb 1864 to the Cincinnati Commercial, shown above in post #3. They all spoke of a document that was circulating through their camps which read very much like the article, the words being somewhat changed but the sentiment and content was basically the same.

In the 7 Feb 1864 issue of The Nashville Daily Union, the following article was published, which addressed the effect that the Rebel Address was having on the Confederate army, in various parts of the South. It stated that a few of the southern deserters, whom were picked up by the Federal advance in northern Alabama, did in fact reference a document, very similar to the content of the manifesto (address), stating that it was responsible for their desertion. The article stated:

"Late and Important from the front - Unexampled desertions from the enemy; Our readers will recollect that one of the copies of the remonstrance of the rebel soldiers against continuing in the service, which was published a few days since, was obtained from Calhoun (formerly Benton) county, Alabama, which lies some seventy miles nearly south from Larkinsville, on the Tennessee (river), at which point a considerable force of our troops crossed, some days since. As yet we have not learned the distance our army has penetrated toward the interior; but from a gentleman just from Larkinsville, we learn that our advance is picking up deserters by hundreds, who are continually arriving at Larkin`s Ferry, and reporting to the Provost Marshal at that place. Several of them have referred to the document, which we published, without the knowledge of its having seen the light; and they declare it speaks the sentiment of four-fifths of the non-commissioned officers and privates, and of at least half of the commissioned officers in the rebel army. Our informant had not seen, nor heard of the manifesto, through northern sources, until we called his attention to it, after he had related the above facts.

He states that not only are these deserters anxious to accept the President`s amnesty, but a majority express a desire to enlist in the Union armies, despite the dangers to which they subject themselves. They say that there can be no peace while the rebels continue in arms; and that they are desirous of aiding in the work of crushing their military power. This is particularly the case with those whose families are yet with-in the rebel lines. Great delays arise from the fact that the Provost Marshal has no printed blanks; clerks are employed to write the oaths required to be taken, but that is a slow process."


On 5 Feb 1864, The Nashville Daily Union, picked up and printed the article; "An Address by the Rebel Soldiers" from the 2 Feb 1864 issue of the Cincinnati Commercial, which is what the article above, from 7 Feb 1864, was in reference to.

However, not every northern paper that picked up and printed the article; "An Address by the Rebel Soldiers" from the Cincinnati Commercial, was convinced that the article was genuine. The 12 Feb 1864 Caledonian, which was published at St. Johnsbury, VT. seemed to express, at the very least, a small amount of doubt regarding the manifestos legitimate origins as being written by Rebel soldiers. I have to say that I have only found one such article in my research of the subject matter, so the sentiment must not have been wide spread. All of the other newspapers of which I can verify ran the original address, did not express concerns or doubt of its genuine origins. The Caledonian article stated the following:

"A remarkable document from rebeldom has been forwarded within our lines. It is no less than an address prepared by the soldiers in the army of General Hardee, denouncing the Conscription Act of the government (Confederate), which forces the veterans to remain in the army another three years, whether they are willing or not. It also accuses the leaders of the rebellion with lying, cheating and making the soldiers "abject slaves." Those who prepared the address say they are determined to demand their rights at the point of the bayonet. The document in question deals in strong language, and shows there is considerable feeling among the rebel soldiers. It may be a matter of doubt, however, whether any such address was ever issued by the rebel soldiers. It was first published in the Cincinnati Commercial, and there vouched for as genuine; but we think it of doubtful origin."

Propaganda or factual, many Confederate soldiers who had read it, in the original manifesto or later in northern papers, they believed it was real, and it resonated with many enough so much so, as to move them to desert and either go home, or to cross the Union lines and take the oath of enlistment into the Union army.

I get it that your research has shown that the Address was circulated around to a significant number of active-duty Confederate soldiers, and that it had an impact. But my question is a little different. Do you think that the Address, as published in the Cincinnati newspaper, was a genune appeal from an actual Confederate soldier to his comrades in arms, or merely a war-time confabulation concocted by Unionists for propaganda effect?
 

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Sounds like propaganda to me. I don't see much effect on the army-

Confederate Army
December 31, 1863: 278,000
June 30, 1864: 260,000

Between those two dates many battles were fought.
 

lelliott19

Brigadier General
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Forum Host
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Mar 15, 2013
A quick search of southern newspapers for the terms "re-enlisted for the war" will turn up several thousand results like these which seem to suggest that the 'Address to the Rebel Soldiers' was embraced by only a very small percentage of Confederate soldiers.
1614972187697.png

Columbus Daily Times. (Columbus, Ga.), February 05, 1864, page 2.
1614971574141.png

Southern Recorder. (Milledgeville, Ga.), February 09, 1864, page 2.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/re...pi-brigade-february-1864.165929/#post-2162791
 
Joined
May 18, 2005
Location
Spring Hill, Tennessee
@Bruce Vail
I searched the name J. E. Powell, Company I, 4th Georgia Cavalry on Fold3. There were two 4th Georgia Cavalry regiments. There was the 4th Cavalry State Guards and the 4th (Clinch's) Cavalry. The Guards had no one named Powell, but Clinch's had three men with the surname Powell.

One of them was a substitute for another man and was still present and serving in Co. G in June 1864. Two other Powells were in Company B, both of whom were still present in June 1864 - which appears to be when records end for that regiment.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2019
I searched the name J. E. Powell, Company I, 4th Georgia Cavalry on Fold3. There were two 4th Georgia Cavalry regiments. There was the 4th Cavalry State Guards and the 4th (Clinch's) Cavalry.
John E. Powell, in the letter stated that he was in Capt. Burk`s Company I, 4th Georgia Cavalry Regiment, Col. Isaac W. Avery, commanding. The 4th Georgia Cavalry Regiment (Avery’s), was a different designation than Clinch`s 4th Georgia Cavalry Regiment or the 4th Georgia State Guards. Avery`s 4th Georgia Cavalry was formed with eleven companies in January, 1863, using Avery's 23rd Georgia Cavalry Battalion as its nucleus. It served for a time with the Conscript Department in Tennessee, then was assigned to J.J. Morrison's, C.C. Crews', and Iverson's Brigade. The regiment participated in the Chickamauga, Knoxville, and Atlanta Campaigns, skirmished in Northern Georgia and East Tennessee, and took part in the defense of Savannah. In January, 1865, the unit was reorganized and called the 12th Cavalry. It went on to fight in the Carolinas and surrendered with the Army of Tennessee.

All that I have been able to find is the following: The 4th Georgia Cavalry Regiment (Col. Isaac W. Avery), on 20 Sep 1863, was listed in an organization of the Army of Tennessee (General Braxton Bragg), as serving in Wheeler`s Cavalry Corps, Wharton`s Division (BG John A. Wharton), 1st Brigade / Crew`s Georgia Brigade (Col. Charles C. Crews). This being during and after the Battle of Chickamauga. Then during the Knoxville, TN Campaign (4 Nov - 31 Dec 1863) the 4th Georgia Cavalry Regiment (Avery) served in Lieutenant General James Longstreet`s Command, Major General William T. Martin's Cavalry Corps, General John T. Morgan's Division, 2nd Brigade / Crew`s Georgia Brigade (Col. Charles C. Crews). So in January 1864, John E. Powell would have remained in Crew`s Georgia Cavalry Brigade in Morgan`s Division, until being turned over to Iverson`s Division during the Atlanta Campaign, but by then he had already deserted to the Union side, as he stated in the article above that he and twelve other men deserted from the 4th Georgia Cavalry Regiment (Avery), about the 1st of February 1864, and took the oath of enlistment into the U.S. Army.

No roster of the 23rd Georgia Cavalry Battalion or the 4th Georgia Cavalry Regiment (Avery’s) seems to have been found, I have tried several times to research it out, but can not find a roster on those two regiments. The records are all filed in the state archive microfilm as the GA 12th Cavalry Regiment although the unit only assumed this designation right at the end of the war and is referred to throughout the war as the Georgia 4th Cavalry Regiment (Avery’s).

http://www.researchonline.net/gacw/unit68.htm#.YELtxLCSmUk
 
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I get it that your research has shown that the Address was circulated around to a significant number of active-duty Confederate soldiers, and that it had an impact. But my question is a little different. Do you think that the Address, as published in the Cincinnati newspaper, was a genuine appeal from an actual Confederate soldier to his comrades in arms, or merely a war-time confabulation concocted by Unionists for propaganda effect?
From what I have been able to find, I believe that the address was genuine. Although I have to say that there is no way that we can prove beyond a doubt, that what appeared in the northern papers was genuine, and unaltered from the original manifesto said to have been circulating from camp to camp. To be able to make that claim we would need the original document, from which the article was based, so that we could compare the two. Several of the Alabama men who joined the Union cause, after deserting from the Confederate army, stated that they did so after reading a document being passed around camp. In the case of John E. Powell, he said that he read the document as it was being passed around and stated regarding the 2 Feb 1864 Cincinnati Commercial article, that the words had changed but it was basically the same thing, meaning the complaints and frustrations were the same as was the sentiment, however he remembers the words being changed. This would indicate to me that when the Cincinnati Commercial published, "An Address by the Rebel Soldiers," perhaps they may have taken liberties with it in making it more sensational.

The one thing that can not be denied is that there was nothing that was untrue in the address, as in January - February 1864 the Confederate Congress did extend the ages of conscription from 17-50, and they did state that any three year volunteer whose time of expiration was nearing, who did not re-enlist wound be conscripted to serve until the close of the war. With conscription representing the vast majority of the address.
 

lelliott19

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On Fold 3, the records for Isaac W. Avery's regiment of Georgia cavalry are filed under 12th Georgia Cavalry.

The men with last name Powell include:
James H. Powell, Private, age 24/25, Whitfield GA, deserted December 1863 and "allowed to go within our lines"
John Powell, Corporal, enlisted 12 Dec 1862 at Dallas, GA., left behind with wounded man 12 Oct 1863 at Decatur AL, listed as AWOL since 12 Dec 1864.
Watson F. Powell, age 27, enlisted 15 Nov 1862 for the war at Dalton, GA, no further record.

There are several men with the last name Powell, who were from Georgia, who enlisted and served in the 1st Alabama Cavalry US, but none named John, James or Watson. There are no men recorded in the 1st Battalion GA Infantry US with the last name Powell.
 

leftyhunter

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Sounds like propaganda to me. I don't see much effect on the army-

Confederate Army
December 31, 1863: 278,000
June 30, 1864: 260,000

Between those two dates many battles were fought.
Then where were all these fine Confedrate soldiers when Sherman and his merry men were casually strolling through Georgia? Why was Davis complaining that two thirds of the Confedrate Army was AWOL by the summer of 1864?
Leftyhunter
 
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James H. Powell, Private, age 24/25, Whitfield GA, deserted December 1863 and "allowed to go within our lines"
Great job, it could be James H. Powell, as John E. Powell stated that he was from Whitfield county, Georgia and the time line is close. He stated on 17 Feb 1864 in the article that he deserted about the 1st inst. which would be 1 Feb 1864. He may have used a different name with which to write the letter, as his family was still living in Whitfield county, Georgia, and maybe he feared that someone would read the paper who knew him and his family and retaliate against them. I have seen several incidents of that. One of whom being Jeremiah Alexander Heatherly, who had served in the 56th Alabama Partisan Rangers in Brig. General Samuel W. Ferguson`s Cavalry Brigade, deserted in late January 1864 - early February 1864, during this same time frame, and crossed the Union lines where he took the oath of enlistment into the 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment USV, but he enlisted under a different name, that being James M. Heatherly. After the war he stated that he did so to protect his family who were still living in Confederate controlled northern Alabama, and he knew that if any of his neighbors found out that he had deserted and enlisted into the U.S. Army that some would surely retaliate against his family.
 
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Bruce Vail

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Then where were all these fine Confedrate soldiers when Sherman and his merry men were casually strolling through Georgia? Why was Davis complaining that two thirds of the Confedrate Army was AWOL by the summer of 1864?
Leftyhunter

Wasn't Davis' Macon speech mentioning "two-thirds absent" meant to be specific to Hood's Army of Tennessee?
 
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