1 November 1863: “…so confident that he would be a lawful substitute that I paid him $35.00 without taking a refunding bond…”

Item description: Letter, dated 1 November 1863, from W. Gaither to William Alexander Graham.  Gaither requests that Graham argue his case for hiring a minister as a substitute for military service to a local judge.

[transcript available below images]



Item Citation: From folder 206 in the William A. Graham Papers #285, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Salisbury Nov. 1st 1863.

Gov. W. A Graham

Dear Sir

I saw the judge in the case of my substitute. Showed him your argument in the case.  He wish’d me to write you to either come up and argue the case next week or write out your opinion more fully.  He is satisfied that the substitute is a regular Minister of the Gospel.  The only difficulty in the way is whether his agreeing to go as a substitute did not forfeit his Ministerial functions.  If you can satisfy him on that point our case is gain’d.  The Government would not be defrauded out of a soldier has this man remained at home.  I am a magistrate and by my offering to go as a substitute would not take from me my office unless I was absent one year.  I have placed myself in a very critical position.  I was so confident that he would be a lawful substitute that I paid him $35.00 without taking a refunding bond so that if I fail to get him in I will loose all.  If I can get him in I will be safe.  If they conscript him afterwards

The Judge recognis’d your hand writing and I think pays great deference to your opinions.  I did not let him know that the case had been before any other Judge .  The substitute was arrested without legal authority and has not been conscripted as yet.  and if he has to be conscripted atal try try to let me get him in first.  Then I will be safe.  I would be glad if you could go before the Judge, although he said your opinions would do in writing.  Please write him immediately.

Yours very truly W. Gaither

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