Did Conscription help or hurt the Confederacy?

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leftyhunter

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Has we know the CSA was so short of manpower that by April 16 1862 it had to resort to concription to fill its dwindling ranks. The Union would have a draft which meant not all eligible men would have to enlist one year later.
I will argue that conscription hurt the CSA more then helped of course feel free to argue differently. Gen. Kirby Smith CSA estimated that by the end of April 1862 has many has 7k young men from East Tn fled to Ky where they then joined the Union Army to avoid the CSA conscription. Very few men from East Tn joined the Union Army prior to the Conscription act. See p.122 Licolnites and Rebels A divided town in America Robert McKenzie Oxford Univ Press.
Leftyhunter
 

Elennsar

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The issue of an army largely enlisted for a year whose enlistments were about to expire was going to have pretty serious consequences if nothing was done to keep them in the ranks.

It certainly had negative consequences, especially in the areas less enthusiastic about the war.
 

Miles Krisman

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For months the government in Richmond had been struggling with what General Lee termed “the fermentation of reorganization” - keeping its’ army in tack beyond the one year that the volunteers had signed up for in the first rush to the colours in 1861. To encourage re-enlistments it had tried bounties and furloughs and even allowed men to change their branch of service, but with indifferent results. Finally on April 16th, 1862, the Congress, acting on a bill drafted by Lee, took the ultimate step and decreed conscription. Men between eighteen and thirty-five would be subject to military service, and the one-year volunteers had their enlistment extended to three years or the duration of the war. Regiments had forty days in which to reorganize under the new system and to hold elections for their officers.

For those who had seen enough of soldiering, even the thought of changing the rules in this way was seen as a betrayal. “I have no respect of a government that is guilty of such bad faith” one Alabamian complained. Some thought the Congress had taken the law into its own hands unjustly; if volunteers were kept on for two more years, they said, what was to prevent the lawmakers from keeping them on for ten more years. With conscription, they warned, “all patriotism is dead, and the Confederacy will be dead sooner or later.”
 
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CSA Today

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Has we know the CSA was so short of manpower that by April 16 1862 it had to resort to concription to fill its dwindling ranks. The Union would have a draft which meant not all eligible men would have to enlist one year later.
I will argue that conscription hurt the CSA more then helped of course feel free to argue differently. Gen. Kirby Smith CSA estimated that by the end of April 1862 has many has 7k young men from East Tn fled to Ky where they then joined the Union Army to avoid the CSA conscription. Very few men from East Tn joined the Union Army prior to the Conscription act. See p.122 Licolnites and Rebels A divided town in America Robert McKenzie Oxford Univ Press.
Leftyhunter
Wow, the Confederate army grows even smaller, the hand full of Southerners that did fight must have been super heroes to have kept the CSA in the war for four years. :thumbsup:
 

southern blue

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One of my maternal great grandfathers was conscripted after the gang shot and killed his brother. When I list my Civil War ancestors I always put a disclaimer by his name that he served under duress. None of the family believes he was ever a true Confederate and he nicknamed his son after a Union Officer.
 
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rhettbutler1865

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Wow, the Confederate army grows even smaller, the hand full of Southerners that did fight must have been super heroes to have kept the CSA in the war for four years. :thumbsup:
IMHO, conscription, of course, by it's nature took away the Southern man's freedom...but so does the draft. Perhaps had it been modified to not be so harsh, so frighteningly open-ended, it would have been easier to swallow. It surely didn't help the men's view of "The Cause", but how do you coax a man (or woman) to sign up for their possible death? Threats are sure to go against human nature; but the South had to try, they did need the manpower that was so much more available in the Union. Again, IMHO, it did nothing for their patriotism, it simply put bodies on the field.
 

ole

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There is a difference between conscription and draft. Conscription is "we'll call you when we need you." Draft is "if your state doesn't fill it's quota, we'll draw names to fill it."
 
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rhettbutler1865

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There is a difference between conscription and draft. Conscription is "we'll call you when we need you." Draft is "if your state doesn't fill it's quota, we'll draw names to fill it."
Ole, I was simply saying that both take a person many times against their will. I know the difference between the 2 methods...
 
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ole

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"pick--pick--pick..." lol. This is like Kate Hepburn asking Fonda in "Golden Pond", "...do you want to debate this all day?" ---he says, "We can, if you like..."
Accuracy in terms means something, and it it is pick, pick, pick.
 
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Tin cup

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Here's a personal account of the conscription problem in the South:

"At the beginning of 1862 the victories had about equalled,
but the Southern army had been slowly pushed back on almost all sides, and the Southern ports were blockaded. Governor Joe Brown, of Georgia, called on the State for twelve regiments. Catoosa County had to furnish one large company. A draft was ordered to be taken March 4th; if quQta was not made up. On the 4th of March the militia was called together and formed in line, and a call made, and the men informed that if the quota was not made up a draft would be made at once. Rather than be forced to go by draft, enough
volunteered to make out the number wanted. Brother I. L. Magill joined that company. I thought I would stay at home and risk the consequences.
I began making a crop, but soon the news came that the Conscript Act had passed the Confederate Congress, which forced every man between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, (except such as were exempted by the Governor), into the Southern Army or take the consequences. This conscript law was to take effect about May 1, 1862. Brother Thomas and myself were subject to conscription. Here was a dilemma that had to be met; there were three horns tp the dilemma: Volunteer, be conscripted and placed in a company not of your own choosing and bear the odious name of conscript, or attempt to go North, turning our backs on the home of our childhood and a widowed mother, and run a risk of ten to one of being captured and shot as a traitor to the Southern cause. We chose the first, and joined the same company in which Brother I. L. Magill was, so that we might all be together."


Robert M. Magill: PERSONAL REMINISCENCES OF A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER BOY.
Volunteered at Chattanooga, Tenn., in Company F, 39th Georgia Regiment of Infantry.

Kevin Dally
 

rhettbutler1865

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Here's a personal account of the conscription problem in the South:

"At the beginning of 1862 the victories had about equalled,
but the Southern army had been slowly pushed back on almost all sides, and the Southern ports were blockaded. Governor Joe Brown, of Georgia, called on the State for twelve regiments. Catoosa County had to furnish one large company. A draft was ordered to be taken March 4th; if quQta was not made up. On the 4th of March the militia was called together and formed in line, and a call made, and the men informed that if the quota was not made up a draft would be made at once. Rather than be forced to go by draft, enough
volunteered to make out the number wanted. Brother I. L. Magill joined that company. I thought I would stay at home and risk the consequences.
I began making a crop, but soon the news came that the Conscript Act had passed the Confederate Congress, which forced every man between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, (except such as were exempted by the Governor), into the Southern Army or take the consequences. This conscript law was to take effect about May 1, 1862. Brother Thomas and myself were subject to conscription. Here was a dilemma that had to be met; there were three horns tp the dilemma: Volunteer, be conscripted and placed in a company not of your own choosing and bear the odious name of conscript, or attempt to go North, turning our backs on the home of our childhood and a widowed mother, and run a risk of ten to one of being captured and shot as a traitor to the Southern cause. We chose the first, and joined the same company in which Brother I. L. Magill was, so that we might all be together."


Robert M. Magill: PERSONAL REMINISCENCES OF A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER BOY.
Volunteered at Chattanooga, Tenn., in Company F, 39th Georgia Regiment of Infantry.

Kevin Dally
Excellent post! Well done! I always love these personal accounts!
 
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leftyhunter

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Wow, the Confederate army grows even smaller, the hand full of Southerners that did fight must have been super heroes to have kept the CSA in the war for four years. :thumbsup:
I don't know if I would call people who believe in slavery and racial discrimination heroes. Different stroke for different folks. The CSA was outnumbered two to one and they started with a lot of territory. They lost territory and popular support every year they fought . It took years for them to recover . I don't consider that a success. Of course we can all believe what we want.
Leftyhunter
 
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