top of page

Source: Governors Papers, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC

White Oak, Polk Co. N.C. Sep 20th 1862,

To His Excellency Z.B. Vance

Dear Sir:

          I deem it my duty to advertise you of the condition of affairs in this section of the State. I was in Rutherford a few days since, & ascertained, upon good authority, that there are more than one hundred conscripts /in/ that county, who positively refuse to perform the military service they owe to the country.            There are also several men returned from the army, who do not deny that they are absent without leave, & who are in point of fact deserters.

          Another abuse is the purchase of petty mail contracts, by young able bodied men, sometimes two contriving to get a single contract, & both claiming exemption under it. [1]

          I can also state from my own personal knowledge that there are a good many persons of both the classes mentioned above in this (Polk) county.

          Now what is the remedy for this state of things? No effort is being made to correct it, and the Sheriff of Rutherford[2] positively refuses to apprehend any one. If enrolling officers previously appointed have been charged with this duty I can only say that it has not been performed. The remedy that suggests itself to me is the appointment of an officer who shall be permanently located, for the purpose of examining the papers of all person returning from the army and seeing that the conscript law is rigidly enforced.

If this state of things is permitted to continue there is no telling where it will end, inasmuch as both the above classes of delinquents, the deserters & the conscripts, are received by the community with as much favor as though they had been guilty of no dishonourable conduct.


Very Resp

Yr Obdt Svt.

Jason H. Carson[3]


[Endorsement]: Ansr. that the Cols of militia are ordered to arrest all such & I would be obliged if he would report any Col refusing to do his duty. Z.B.V.

[1] The Confederate Conscription Act of April 1862 granted exemptions to men who had contracts to carry mail. There was disagreement over the exemption at the highest levels, but it became law. Moore, Conscription and Conflict in the Confederacy, 53, 73.

[2] Martin Walker (1807-1896), a slave-owning farmer from Green Hill, was sheriff of Rutherford County from 1860-1872. “Former Sherriffs,” found at: ; 1860 U.S. Census.

[3] Jason Hazard Carson (1814-1865) was a planter from Polk County who owned twenty-one slaves. He served as Polk County’s delegate to North Carolina’s Secession Conventions and Constitutional Conventions in 1861-1862. John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government: 1585-1974 (Raleigh, 1975), 387, 825; 1860 U.S. Census.

bottom of page