Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 1.djvu/540

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502
CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

Bocock was speaker and Albert Lamar clerk. The gravity of the situation evidently impressed the Confederate Congress, and in appreciation of the peril of the government immediate attention was given to filling up the thinned ranks of the armies. In the Senate Mr. Brown, of Mississippi, offered resolutions declaring that every male citizen should be enrolled in military service; that all laws authorizing substitutes be repealed; that foreigners should leave the country or take up arms to defend it, and that necessary civil positions should be filled by details. In addition to these measures he proposed to levy direct taxes sufficient to conduct the war; to make Confederate notes a legal tender; to prohibit trading in gold, silver and United States currency, and to make these laws "war measures" so that offenders should be tried by court martial. The military committee reported a bill to repeal all former laws which permitted the employment of substitutes, which was passed. Mr. Foote proposed resolutions requesting the President to withdraw diplomatic agents and dismiss all foreign consuls from the Confederacy. He also asked for investigation into the charges which had been made by the Northern press that the Confederacy was starving Federal prisoners, which was agreed to. Bills were passed prohibiting all traffic in United States currency. The conscription act was discussed at length and finally passed, declared all men between eighteen and fifty-five years of age subject at once to military duty, and required them to report within a certain time or be liable to trial for desertion. All mechanics would be detailed as well as railroad men, telegraph operators and miners. The country was thus placed under general military control and the Confederacy girded itself to renew the contest in 1864.

The political temper at Washington was sufficiently threatening to let the Confederacy understand that all of these preparations to exhaust the resources of the South in the cause it had espoused would be unavailing. The