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Jefferson Finis Davis, Proclamation concerning Military Service, Richmond, Virginia, August 1, 1863

Jefferson Finis Davis, engraved portrait, 1861, detail
Confederate President Jefferson Davis, reacting to the recent defeats in Pennsylvania and Mississippi and aware of the growing military manpower crisis in the South, published a proclamation addressed directly to "the Soldiers of the Confederate States." In it he encouraged the troops with promise of eventual victory but warned that the aim of the enemy was "nothing less than the extermination of yourselves, your wives and children." He then declared a blanket pardon for all those soldiers absent without leave who returned to their units over the next twenty days. He also appealed to the "wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters of the Confederacy" to ensure that their men do their patriotic duty." (By John Osborne)