Imagini ale paginilor

that the great number of heretofore respectable men who had thus stifled their consciences, and were prepared to barter their country for gain, would continue to increase until this deadly species of treason, not overt, should become itself, respectable.

The public confidence seemed firm, that notwithstanding the temporary scarcity the resources were sufficient to produce the supply within reasonable time, in most articles of primary necessity. The limited number of cotton factories, and the great want of cotton cards in the hands of the people who had, in a great measure, suspended the domestic manufactures, gave grounds to fear that we should be closely pressed in obtaining a supply of clothing. The subject of a supply of salt to meet the wants of this country during a long, continued blockade was one of the most serious that the public mind was called upon to digest during the war. A portion of the salines in Virginia were already within the lines of the enemy's military operations, while those which were not, were liable to constant interruption. On the coast, all operations for the manufacture of salt were necessarily subject to be broken up at any time by the enemy's fleets. The reclaiming of the deposits of salt from the beds of smoke houses, where it had settled from the dripping of pork, had aided some in supplying this essential article ; while it was hoped that discoveries of salines might be made, and operations projected at points where salt could be safely manufactured. Some was imported through the blockade and the supply on hand, by strict economy, was made to extend far beyond the time to which it would hold out with the ordinary lavish mode of using it. It was evident, however, that our people who were determined upon the accomplishment of independence, would live without salt, or

upon a very small quantity, rather than contemplate the idea of surrendering to the enemy.

The question of subsistence for the families of poor men who were in the public service, and who were destitute of the necessaries of life, assumed a grave aspect. It was found that private contributions and individual charity, however promising upon the opening of the war, had proven to be an uncertain reliance, and that suffering for want of food and clothing would follow unless some certain provision was made for their support. It was conceded on all hands that they were entitled to a support from the property holders of the country. The husbands, sons, fathers, or brothers who customarily supported them, being now detained from them in the post of exposure and danger, or having died or become disabled in service, in a struggle for the protection of property, the sentiment was general that the holders of that property ought to see to it that the helpless ones did not want for the necessaries of life; it was found also that private contributions, even if they could be relied on, operated very unequally upon the holders of property. There were some also who were naturally very liberal and patriotic, and would from charitable impulses give bountifully, while others from natural stinginess or lukewarmness in the cause gave but very little, and others nothing at all.

In view of this, and fully alive to the necessity of providing a support for them, the Legislature of the State of Georgia, and perhaps of other States, empowered the county court of each county to impose a large tax upon the property of the citizens thereof to raise a fund for this purpose. The error of this system was found upon trial to be that the counties having the least property would generally have within their limits the most paupers.

[ocr errors]

Those very rich counties where there were but few families too poor to support themselves were almost exempt from the burden of supporting the poor; while in the populous poor counties the burden on the few small holders of property was either unsupportable, or the poor left unprovided for.

Experience demonstrated the necessity of drawing the pauper fund from the public treasury of the State, so that property wherever located was reached, and the poor whose necessities had been brought upon them by the withdrawal of their reliance for a support to serve in the Confederate army, were partially supported.

One portentous aspect of our affairs seemed to indicate a tendency to alienation between the rich and the


of the people, and the troops of our army. The means of supplying the


in many cases decreased, while the applicants for bounty increased, and not unattended in many instances with a spirit of exaction which was not visible at the outset. In other cases the ardor of patriotism and the breadth of charity alike decreased under the growing prospects of realizing high prices from speculators and extortioners for their bread and meat. Hence, their

growing apathy to the idea of lavishing upon the hungry poor around them, notwithstanding the promises made to the departing soldiers, far away from home, enduring hardships, privations, and exposure to danger. This evil increased with the prospective advance of high prices, and with every new levy of troops, which increased the number of paupers in almost every neighborhood in the South. The reality of supporting other men's families for one, two, or three years, was quite different from that outburst of evanescent charity that flowed into the laps of the poor upon the breaking out of hostilities. The reflex influence

of the discontents in the home circle



poor men in the army, after a few more months when they had become tired of the service, and sought pretexts to complain, was deleterious.

We close this imperfect review of the year 1861, and await with anxiety the now undeveloped changes which the incoming year would make, with the remark that, surveying the whole field of operations, it appeared that the prospect of eventual success was high; that the obstacles in the way were not insuperable; that we had no real cause to despond, that our condition was every way as good as could have been expected; and that, with the continuation of Divine favor, we must sooner or later be a disenthralled and independent people. It was in the power of our enemies to long harass and perplex us; to lay waste our cities, destroy our fields and industrial resources, shut us out from communication with the world, crimson many a field with the best blood of our country, and literally clothe the South in mourning for her gallant dead; but we did not believe it in their power ever to subjugate us; and such was the prevailing sentiment of our people at that time.



On the 6th of November, 1861, Governor Brown, on the assembling of the Legislature, in his general message, makes the following succinct statement on the subject of the


“The Act of the last Legislature authorized the Governor to call out ten thousand volunteers, if necessary, for the defence of the State.

“Early in the spring I divided the State into four sections or brigades intending, if necessary, to raise one brigade of volunteers in each section, and appointed one major-general and two brigadier-generals with a view to the prompt organization of one division in case of emergency. The position of major-general was tendered to Gen. Henry R. Jackson, who has lately gained a very important victory over a greatly superior force of the enemy in northwestern Virginia, who declined it in favor of Col. William H. T. Walker, late of the United States Army and a most gallant son of Georgia. I then, in accordance with the recommendation of General Jackson and the dictates of my own judgment, tendered the appointment to Colonel Walker, by whom it was accepted. The office of brigadier-general was tendered to and accepted by Col. Paul J. Semmes for the second brigade, and to Col. William Phillips for the fourth brigade. With a view to more speedy and active service under the Confederate government, General Walker and General Semmes resigned before they had organized their respective commands. About this time our relations with the government of the United States assumed so threatening an aspect that I ordered General Phillips to organize his brigade as rapidly as possible, and to throw the officers into a camp of instruction for training that they might be the better prepared to render effective those under their command. This camp of instruction was continued for about

wo weeks and the officers sent home to hold their respective commands in readiness. This was the condition of our volunteer organization early in June when the United States troops crossed the Potomac and invaded the soil of Virginia. Not knowing how soon a similar invasion of our own soil might be made by a landing of troops upon our coast, I ordered General Phillips to call his whole brigade into a camp of instruction and hold them in

« ÎnapoiContinuă »