5 August 1862: “Major Mallett reports that the desertions are numerous and that 200 men overpowered 10 guards and went off in a body.”

Item description: Clerk’s copy of a letter, dated 5 August 1862, from Confederate Secretary of War George W. Randolph to Jefferson Davis. The letter concerns conscription.

Peter Mallett was a merchant of Fayetteville, N.C., and New York City; and a Confederate Army officer and head of Confederate conscription in North Carolina.

Item citation: From folder 6 of the Peter Mallett Papers, #480, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:


Confederate States of America
War Department
Richmond Augt. 5th 1862

His Excellency Jefferson Davis
Presdt. C.S.A.


I have the honor to acknowledge the reference to me of Gov. Clark’s letter of the 21st ult. in relation to conscripts in North Carolina, with your endorsement [?] and to return the same.

Major Mallett and Captain McCrae were appointed upon the recommendation of Genl. Holmes and D.H. Hill and were [represented?] the officers who had served with credit.

They received the instructions prepared for commandants of Camp of Instruction and issued as approved by yourself. And have probably received a supplemental instruction subsequently issued. Copies of both are herewith returned.

In conformity with these instructions they were allowed a Quarter Master, a Commissary and a Surgeon for each Camp, who were duly appointed.

Major Mallet on the 11th of June reported that in conformity with instructions he had applied to Governor Clarke for permission to [?] the State officers on making enrollments and subsequently reported that the Governor did not consider himself authorized to assign those [offices?] to him. The efforts of Major Mallett and Captain McRae in raising conscripts have been much more successful than those of other officers employed for the same purpose, and they are sending on about four hundred conscripts a day.

They cannot obtain transportation for more. Major Mallett reports that the desertions are numerous and that 200 men overpowered 10 guards and went off in a body. He says they have been pursued and some of them captured and asks authority to increase his guard, which I have given.

Very respectfully
Your obt. servt.
(signed) G.W. Randolph
Secy. of War

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