Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 382
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 382
 
 
them, often to the manifest inconvenience of the commanders. The slaves were friendly to the Union soldiers whom they encountered; they fed any who escaped from Southern prisons and, by handing them on from one to another, guided them to the Federal lines. At the same time they would conceal the valuables of their mistresses lest they should be stolen by the camp followers and stragglers of the Union Army, showing some craft in keeping the hiding-places secret. Thus they maintained a divided allegiance. Many Confederate officers were saved from death or capture by the care and devotion of their body-servants while other negroes served as guides to Union generals when important offensive movements were on foot.  16
  The South came to conscription sooner than the North. An act of April 16, 1862, prompted by the Southern reverses, chief of which was the capture of Fort Donelson, placed in the military service all white men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five. An act of September 27 of the same year extended the conscription to all white men between thirty-five and forty-five but at first only those of forty or under were enrolled, but directly after Gettysburg and Vicksburg, President Davis ordered that all between forty and forty-five should be included in the enrolment. On February 17, 1864, the Confederate Congress passed an act requiring that all white men between seventeen and fifty should be in the military service. 1 “They have robbed the cradle and the grave,” said Grant.  17
  As men became weary of the war desertion was more common. Compulsory service was disliked and evaded by many whenever possible. Homesickness and the
 
Note 1. Those between 17 and 18 and 45 and 50 should constitute a reserve for State defence and should not be called beyond the limits of their own State. [back]
 

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