16 July 1862: “…if this plan is carried out we will have nothing but a military government in a few years from which the Lord deliver me from ever seeing”

Item description: Letter, 16 July 1862, from Elijah Graves Faucett, a private from Orange County, N.C., in the 6th North Carolina Infantry stationed near Richmond, to William Alexander Graham, a former governor of North Carolina who had opposed secession until the firing on Fort Sumter. Faucett wrote in search of an explanation for the difference between the twelve month volunteers and his own service as a volunteer in the “State Troops.” As he understood the conscription act, the twelve month volunteers apparently were eligible to reorganize their units within forty days of the passage of the act, and men who were under the age of 18 and over the age of 35 would be released from duty after ninety days. As of the date of this letter, Faucett, who was 37 years old at his enlistment, had been serving in the military for more than fourteen months, and thus had a keen interest in how the act was interpreted. Faucett also complained of the secretary of war’s supposed revocation of the act, objecting to the undue influence of military men on congress.

Item citation: from folder 199 in the William A. Graham Papers, #285, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Richmond July 16th/62

To his excelency est gov-

William Graham


I want you to give me your opinion on this law of the confederate states respecting all men that is over thirty five it is said here that the twelve months voluntary is entitle to it and no others I was a volunteer in what was called the state Troops but I do not see how that there can be any State Troops in a war of this kind when we are not recognised by any nation as an independent nation I therefore as a free citizen claim my rights under the confederate congress as much as those that volunteered for twelve months for this law was not passed untill the war had been going on for some time why it is that one set of volunteers should have a priviledge granted to them by congress more than another when they was not received by them as state Troops is something I do not understand it is said the secretary of war has revoked what congress has done if congress is to be governed by military men and their first acts done away with by them I fear for our goverment in the destraced situation she is in I thought that congress had power to make laws and they had to be carried out by military men and not military men dictate for congress and do away with them whenever they choose and if this plan is carried out we will have nothing but a military government in a few years from which the Lord deliver me from ever seeing I have seen enough alredy to satisfy me of the horrors of war I want to know if there is in reality any state Troops and I also want to know if I have not the same priviledge as other volunteers for I considered myself a volunteer and nothing else it was pretended by our officers that the war would be over by christmas and would all be at home by that time

I would be glad that you would answer my questions immediately and let me know what yo charge for advice and I will send you the money Direct to 3 Brigade 6 inf. N.C. st. Tr. Richmond Va in care of major Webb

Elijah G Faucett

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