North Carolina in the American Civil War

CSA - An Act to Further Provide for the Public Defense.
aka "The Conscription Act."

Chapter XXXI

Public Laws of the Confederate States of America, Passed at the First Session of the First Congress, 1862 - Pages 29-32.

In view of the exigencies of the country, and the absolute necessity of keeping in the service our gallant army, and of placing in the field a large additional force to meet the advancing columns of the enemy now invading our soil:


All white men, residents of the Confederate States, between the ages of 18 and 35 years, placed in the military service.

Those now in the armies continued in the service.

Re-organization of companies, &c., whose term of enlistment was for twelve months.

Furloughs may be granted.

1861, Dec. 11.

Commutation. Persons now enrolled, under the age of 18 or over 35 years, required to remain for 90 days.

Certain laws repealed.

The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the President be, and he is hereby authorized to call out and place in the military service of the Confederate States, for three years, unless the war shall have been sooner ended, all white men who are residents of the Confederate States, between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years at the time the call or calls may be made, who are not legally exempted from military service. All of the persons aforesaid who are now in the armies of the Confederacy, and whose term of service will expire before the end of the war, shall be continued in the service for three years from the date of their original enlistment, unless the war shall have been sooner ended: Provided, however, That all such companies, squadrons, battalions, and regiments, whose term of original enlistment was for twelve months, shall have the right, within forty days, on a day to be fixed by the Commander of the Brigade, to re-organize said companies, battalions, and regiments, by electing all their officers, which they had a right heretofore to elect, who shall be commissioned by the President: Provided further, That furloughs not exceeding sixty days, with transportation home and back, shall be granted to all those retained in the service by the provisions of this Act beyond the period of their original enlistment, and who have not heretofore received furloughs under the provisions of an Act entitled "An Act providing for the granting of bounty and furloughs to privates and non-commissioned officers in the Provisional Army," approved eleventh December, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, said furloughs to be granted at such times and in such numbers as the Secretary of War may deem most compatible with the public interest: and Provided, further, That in lieu of a furlough the commutation value in money of the transportation herein above granted, shall be paid to each private, musician, or non-commissioned officer who may elect to receive it, at such time as the furlough would otherwise be granted: Provided further, That all persons under the age of eighteen years or over the age of thirty-five years, who are now enrolled in the military service of the Confederate States, in the regiments, squadrons, battalions, and companies hereafter to be re-organized, shall be required to remain in their respective companies, squadrons, battalions and regiments for ninety days, unless their places can be sooner supplied by other recruits not now in the service, who are between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years; and all laws and parts of laws providing for the re-enlistment of volunteers and the organization thereof into companies, squadron, battalions, or regiments, shall be and the same are hereby repealed.

Companies, &c., with number of men requisite for organization to be mustered into service.

SEC. 2. Be it further enacted, That such companies, squadrons, battalions, or regiments organized, or in process of organization by authority from the Secretary of War, as may be within thirty days from the passage of this Act, so far completed as to have the whole number of men requisite for organization actually enrolled, not embracing in said organization any persons now in service, shall be mustered into the service of the Confederate States as part of the land forces of the same, to be received in that arm of the service in which they are authorized to organize, and shall elect their company, battalion, and regimental officers.

Enrollment of men.

SEC. 3. Be it further enacted, That for the enrollment of all persons comprehended within the provisions of this Act, who are not already in service in the armies of the Confederate States, it shall be lawful for the President, with the consent of the Governors of the respective States, to employ State officers, and on failure to obtain such consent, he shall employ Confederate officers, charged with the duty of making such enrollment in accordance with rules and regulations to be prescribed by him.

Persons enrolled assigned to companies in the service, from the States from which they come.

SEC. 4. Be it further enacted, That persons enrolled under the provisions of the preceding Section, shall be assigned by the Secretary of War, to the different companies now in the service, until each company is filled to its maximum number, and the persons so enrolled shall be assigned to companies from the States from which they respectively come.

Transfer of seamen from the land forces to the Naval service.

SEC. 5. Be it further enacted, That all Seamen and ordinary Seamen in the land forces of the Confederate States, enrolled under the provisions of this Act, may, on application of the Secretary of the Navy, be transferred from the land forces to the Naval service.

Excess of enrolled persons kept as a reserve.

Details from the reserve to keep each company to its maximum.

Reserves may remain at home.

Not to receive pay;

nor be subject to rules and articles of war.

When the entire reserve may be called into actual service.


Election of officers.

Troops raised in different States not to be combined.

SEC. 6. Be it further enacted, That in all cases where a State may not have in the army a number of Regiments, Battalions, Squadrons or Companies, sufficient to absorb the number of persons subject to military service under this Act, belonging to such State, then the residue or excess thereof, shall be kept as a reserve, under such regulations as may be established by the Secretary of War, and that at stated periods of not greater than three months, details, determined by lot, shall be made from said reserve, so that each company shall, as nearly as practicable, be kept full: Provided, That the persons held in reserve may remain at home until called into service by the President: Provided, also, That during their stay at home, they shall not receive pay: Provided, further, That the persons comprehended in this Act, shall not be subject to the Rules and Articles of War, until mustered into the actual service of the Confederate States; except that said persons, when enrolled and liable to duty, if they shall wilfully refuse to obey said call, each of them shall be held to be a deserter, and punished as such, under said Articles: Provided, further, That whenever, in the opinion of the President, the exigencies of the public service may require it, he shall be authorized to call into actual service the entire reserve, or so much as may be necessary, not previously assigned to different companies in service under provision of section four of this Act; said reserve shall be organized under such rules as the Secretary of War may adopt: Provided, The company, battalion and regimental officers shall be elected by the troops composing the same: Provided, The troops raised in any one State shall not be combined in regimental, battalion, squadron or company organization with troops raised in any other States.


SEC. 7. Be it further enacted, That all soldiers now serving in the army or mustered in the military service of the Confederate States, or enrolled in said service under the authorizations heretofore issued by the Secretary of War, and who are continued in the service by virtue of this Act, who have not received the bounty of fifty dollars allowed by existing laws, shall be entitled to receive said bounty.

Pay for private arms.

SEC. 8. Be it further enacted, That each man who may hereafter be mustered into service, and who shall arm himself with a musket, shot-gun, rifle or carbine, accepted as an efficient weapon, shall be paid the value thereof, to be ascertained by the mustering officer under such regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of War, if he is willing to sell the same, and if he is not, then he shall be entitled to receive one dollar a month for the use of said received and approved musket, rifle, shot-gun or carbine.

Substitutes allowed.

SEC. 9. Be it further enacted, That persons not liable for duty may be received as substitutes for those who are, under such regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of War.

Vacancies filled by promotion according to seniority.


Further proviso.

SEC. 10. Be it further enacted, That all vacancies shall be filled by the President from the company, battalion, squadron, or regiment in which such vacancies shall occur, by promotion according to seniority, except in case of disability or other incompetency: Provided, however, That the President may, when in his opinion, it may be proper, fill such vacancy or vacancies by the promotion of any officer or officers, or private or privates from such company, battalion, squadron or regiment who shall have been distinguished in the service by exhibition of valor and skill; and that whenever a vacancy shall occur in the lowest grade of the commissioned officers of a company, said vacancy shall be filled by election: Provided, That all appointments made by the President shall be by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

*1 of this Act to apply to certain regiments, &c.

SEC. 11. Be it further enacted, That the provisions of the first section of this Act, relating to the election of officers, shall apply to those regiments, battalions, and squadrons which are composed of twelve months and war companies combined in the same organization, without regard to the manner in which the officers thereof were originally appointed.

Complement of infantry;

field artillery;


SEC. 12. Be it further enacted, That each company of infantry shall consist of one hundred and twenty-five, rank and file; each company of field artillery of one hundred and fifty, rank and file; each of cavalry, of eighty, rank and file.

Persons subject to enrollment may volunteer.

SEC. 13. Be it further enacted, That all persons, subject to enrollment, who are not now in the service, under the provisions of this Act, shall be permitted, previous to such enrollment, to volunteer in companies now in the service.

APPROVED April 16, 1862.

Passed at the first session, which was begun and held at the City of Richmond, in the State of Virginia, on Tuesday, the eighteenth day of February, A. D., 1862, and ended on Monday, the twenty-first day of April, A. D., 1862.

JEFFERSON DAVIS, President. ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS, Vice-President, and President of the Senate. THOMAS S. BOCOCK, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Law Clerk.

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