February 5, 1863
To arms! To arms!
The under signed having been detailed for 30 days on
special duty, with the following instructions, will be found either at Dinbury or Joseph I Sanford, in the county of Stokes, where
they earnestly solicit an immediate interview with every man in the county,
liable to the Conscript Act:
N. C. Jan. 24th, 1863
Upon arriving at your station, you will at once make
publication by newspaper if practicable, by placard and every other available
means, announcing the partial suspension of the operation of the Conscript Law,
so as to permit conscripts to volunteer in the companies of their own
selection, without passing through Camps of Instruction, and receive the bounty
and other benefits provided by law for volunteers; and urging upon the people
the great importance of speedily filling up the ranks of this army, in order
that the threatened invasion of the State may be repelled. It is confidently believed that, by the
earnest and well directed efforts of recruiting officers, with the liberal
enticements they are authorized to tender to conscripts, a large number will be
added to the rolls and ample means thus secured for the common defense. Upon application, you will muster conscripts
into any company they may select, now in service in this command.
Your attention is particularly called to the duty also
imposed upon you, of apprehending stragglers and deserters. A very large number of officers and men are
now absent without or beyond leave, skulking from the danger and hardships to
which their comrades and neighbors are exposed and at a critical moment,
imperiling the success of our cause. You
will procure upon your company commander a list of their names, and cause an
order to be served upon each of them to report to you at once promising to all
who obey promptly, full pardon except as to forfeiture of pay. Those who do not report you will cause to be
arrested and confined in county prison, until they can be forwarded to their
companies under guard. Whenever
necessary for this purpose, you will call for and from the civil
authorities. In making such arrests, you
will respect no leave of absence or furloughs, except those signed by Gens.
Lee, Beauregard, Smith, French or signed by Commandants of Ports, where General
Hospitals are allocated; and you will not regard certificate of local
physicians for exemption of furlough, except when, in your opinion, they are
given in good faith.
From the number of those who report voluntarily, you
will retain the services of as many as may be necessary to the thorough and
efficient performance of your duties, sending the remainder to their companies.
There is reason to apprehend that in many sections the
people, either through a mistaken sympathy or in ignorance, are encouraging and
abetting desertion and straggling from the army. A candid and earnest appeal will be
sufficient if it is believed to awaken them to their duty in this matter, to
themselves and to the country. The cause
is lost when the people at home cease to lend their hearty cooperation in
maintaining the efficiency and supporting the discipline of the army. You are therefore directed, in performing
your duties, to employ every energy and proper influence to ____ their good
will, engage sympathy with your efforts, and procure their active assistance
and cooperation in securing volunteers and inducing the laggard to return to
Your obedient servant,
SAM W. MELTON
Major and A. A. G.
to Capt. S. V
Taylor, and Lieut. H. H. Gambell, 53rd
Regt., N. C. Troops
From the above instructions it will be seen that we are
fully authorized and do hereby suspend the provision of the Conscript Act in
the county of Stokes for 30 days. The Col. commanding the Militia of the
county is requested forthwith to order up the said Militia, at their usual
place for General Review, for the purpose of giving more perfect publicity to
this notice; and for the further purpose of giving us a personal interview with
the people. All deserters and such as
are absent from their post of duty will find it greatly to their interest to
report themselves immediately to the undersigned at Danbury.
S. V. TAYLOR
Capt. Co. H, 53rd Reg. N. C. T.
H. H. GAMBELL
1st Lieut. Co. G 53rd
Reg. N. C. T.
by Sharon Strout]