Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18, 1863: Gideon Pillow calls for volunteers

Even as Gideon Pillow was organizing a force of cavalry to round up conscripts for Braxton Bragg's army, he tried to convince reluctant Southerners to come forward and volunteer for service.  Pillow invoked the Emancipation Proclamation and the possibility of slave insurrections to try and convince men to volunteer.

Fayetteville, January 18, 1863.


Having been directed by General Bragg to organize a volunteer and conscript bureau for the purpose of recruiting and strengthening his army and making it self-sustaining, I appeal to you to come promptly to its support.

Upon that army depends the safety of your homes and all that you hold dear. We are no longer in doubt as to the character of the Lincoln despotism. The ruin and desolation which is everywhere left in the track of its armies attest its vandalism.

The late proclamation of the tyrant and usurper, proposing to free all our slaves and taking them into this Army, and inciting the slaves to insurrection and massacre of their owners and their families, places him and his Government without the pale of civilization. Men who will not resist such a despotism do not deserve to be freemen. I will receive all who come to me as volunteers and allow them to select the company and regiment which they will join; and they will be entitled to the bounty and all the privileges of volunteers. Those who will not join as volunteers will have to come as conscripts.

Report yourselves to Colonel Campbell, Fayetteville; Major Nicholson, Shelbyville, or to the commanders of existing regiments, and you will be received and enrolled as volunteers.

Recruiting officers will be sent to all the States having troops in the Army. Those tendering themselves as volunteers will be so received.

I will also receive organized companies of volunteers from within the enemy's lines, or behind his positions. Such companies will be organized into regiments by the order of the President.


Brigadier-General, C. S. Army, and

Chief of Volunteer and Conscript Bureau.

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