Thursday, October 28, 2010

recusant conscripts

Lately, I’ve been reading Escott’s Many Excellent People: Power and Privilege in North Carolina, 1850-1900. It is an interesting book and I would recommend that you pick up a copy and give it a read.

On pages 79-80, Escott informs us that at least two North Carolina counties, Randolph and Caldwell, worked out deals with the bands of deserters in the last months of the war. In Caldwell County, six local citizens were authorized to appeal to Governor Vance “to allow the Home Guard of our County to remain home… and also allow the recusant conscripts to come in and join the Home Guard.” On April 22, 1865, a large group of magistrates met and adopted this resolution, that

Certain recusant conscripts, and other citizens of the county of Caldwell who are unwilling to perform Military service under the Confederate Government, and who to avoid the same are obligated to absent themselves from their Homes, on the one part; and a portion of the Military Authorities of the Confederate government, under command of Capt. N. A. Miller, on the other part, to the following effect: that the said Military Authorities or forces be withdrawn from service; that no further effort be made to enforce the conscription law in the county; that the said recusant conscripts and others be permitted to return quietly to their homes and pursue their lawful occupations unmolested; that restitution of all captured or stolen property be made, as far as possible, by both parties and that both parties shall hereafter demean themselves as quiet, orderly citizens. (From Caldwell County Court Minutes).

Hmm, I wonder how many other counties had such deals with the local “recusant conscripts”? Of course, since so many counties lost their records, it might be hard to prove. Has anyone else ever seen this for counties besides Caldwell or Randolph?

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