Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28, 1863: The Confederacy issues instructions for the arrest of deserters, stragglers, and evaders of conscription

Much was made in the Southern press at the time about the New York Draft Riots of July 1863, but the Confederacy was struggling with a severe shortage of men coupled with increasing rates of desertion.
CIRCULAR.]
BUREAU OF CONSCRIPTION,
Richmond, Va., July 28, 1863.

In addition to the matters set forth in the letter from this Bureau to the Adjutant and Inspector General of June 24, and approved by the War Department, for the arrest of deserters, stragglers, and evaders of conscription, commandants of conscripts in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia will so arrange in receiving from the State authorities the portions of organized militia liable to conscription as to employ these forces before being brought to any camp or rendezvous, forthwith and simultaneously, in their respective districts or counties in gathering up deserters, stragglers, and evaders of conscription. Care will be taken in executing these instructions to prevent the escape of such parties into one county while the search is being prosecuted in another. The commandants will apply to the State authorities to facilitate this object by turning over the parties of militia, each in their respective county or district, simultaneously in all parts of the State.


G.W. LAY,
Lieut. Col., Asst. Adjt. Gen., Acting Chief of Bureau.
(To Commandants of Conscripts.)

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