“Governor Brown’s Proclamation to the People of Georgia”


July 14, 1864

Collection: The Civil War
Publication: The Charleston Mercury
Date: July 14, 1864
MILLEDGEVILLE, GA., July 9, 1864.
To the Reserved Militia of Georgia:
A late correspondence with the President of the Confederate
States satisfies my mind that Georgia is to be left to her own
resources to supply the reinforcements to General Johnston
army, which are indispensable to the protection of Atlanta, and
to prevent the State from being overrun by the overwhelming
numbers now under command of the Federal General upon our soil.
The officers, civil and military, who constitute, in a great
degree, the remaining active militia force left to the State by
the different acts of conscription, have already been called
out, and have rendered effective service, while they, as well
as the two regiments of the State Line have distinguished
themselves by cool courage and intrepid valor when attacked by
the enemy. But there is need of further reinforcements, as
will be seen by the accompanying letter of Gen. Johnston; and
while a very large proportion of the gallant and chivalrous
sons of Georgia are on distant fields defending the soil of
other States, it becomes my duty to call forth every man in the
State able to bear arms as fast as they can be armed, to aid in
the defence of our home, our altars, and the graves of our
I am fully aware of the importance of the growing crop of
the State, and have delayed this call as long as the exigencies
will possibly permit to enable the people to do the labor
necessary to secure the crop. In the Southern portion of the
State, it is believed this will be accomplished by the time
this proclamation can be generally published, while ten days or
two weeks longer will enable those in the Northern half of the
States to do most of their labor necessary to make the crop.
I therefore, by virtue of the authority in me vested by the
laws of this State, do hereby order into active military
service all that part of the reserve militia of this State
between the ages of 50 and 55 years, and all between the ages
of sixteen and seventeen years, who reside South of a line
running East and West across the territory of the State,
passing through the City of Macon, to report to G. W. Smith at
Atlanta, with the least possible delay; and I further order,
that all persons between said age subject to militia duty, who
reside North of said line, report to General Smith, each
leaving his home on the 20th of this month, and repairing to
Atlanta by the nearest and speediest route.
I also order all free white male persons in this State
between the ages of seventeen and fifty years who are exempt
from Confederate Conscription, and are not absolutely unable to
do militia duty, which disability must be shown by the
certificate of a Surgeon properly appointed under the laws of
this State, to report with the militia of the respective
counties, as they are subject to State militia duty. And I
further require all free white male persons between said ages
in this State, not in actual military service of the
Confederacy, except as therein exempted, report also, as I
cannot suppose the President will claim as exempt from militia
duty in that great emergency, the large number of able bodied
young men who have Confederate details to attend to various
industrial avocations and pursuits, in which they have no
military service to perform. It cannot surely be the intention
of the Confederate Government to place a large number of young
men able to do service, in the organization to keep them out of
the bullet department. Hence, I claim their aid in the field
till this emergency is passed, and direct, in case of their
refusal to report when others embraced in the call respond that
their neighbors who are going to camp, arrest and compel them
to go. The time allowed, enables those of them who are
planters to lay by their crops, or to approximate so near to
completion, that serious injury cannot grow out of their
absence, while little damage will be done by the temporary
absence from their places, of Confederate Tax Assessors,
Collectors, Tanners, Mechanics, secret service men, etc., etc.,
as their business must cease entirely, if the enemy overruns
the State. All who respond to this call are required to arrest
and carry with them all deserters within their power at the
time they start to camp.
The following persons are not embraced in this call. All
commissioned officers of the Confederate States on detached or
local service, all State officers and others exempt from
military duty by the act to recognize the militia and the act
amendatory of that act.
All persons in the employment of the Confederate States in
the cities of Savannah, Augusta, Macon, Columbus, Griffin,
Atlanta and Athens, who belong to regularly organized military
companies who drill frequently and are held for the local
defence of the place against raids, &c.
All officers and employees of any Railroad Company in this
State, who are regularly and constantly employed in the service
of said road at the date of this call. All Telegraphic
Operators and Employees of the Express Company.
All persons employed in any cotton or woolen factory or
paper mill in this State, who have details fromthe State or
Confederate Governments, on condition that they keep themselves
organized as military companies prepared to do all in their
power to defend the factory in case of attack. The Mayor of
each of the cities above named, and such policemen and firemen
as he will certify to be indispensably necessary to the
protection of the city. All practicing physicians not exceeding
three in a county, to be selected by the inferior court in case
their are more, and all such millers as the court will certify
are actually necessary at home. Two agents of the relief fund
selected by the court for each county. All post masters in
cities with their necessary clerks, and one postmaster in each
county town, and all mail carriers constantly engaged in that
business. All State House officers and their necessary clerks.
The officers and guards of the Penitentiary, and the officers
and employees of the State Armory, and Card Factory, who are
required to drill twice a week as military company, for the
defence of the capitol. All persons who remain in counties in
the rear of the enemylines, all who reside north of the Blue
Ridge, with the people of the counties of Rabun, Habersham,
White, Lumpkin, Gilmer, Pickens and Dawson, on account of the
great scarcity of provisions and the distance they have to haul
them, to preserve the lives of the inhabitants of those
As the law of this State declares every man, subject to
militia duty, who refuses to respond to this order, to be a
deserter and liable to be tried and punished as such, all aids
de camp at home, and all Justices of the Inferior Court,
Sheriffs, Clerks, Ordinaries and Tax Collectors and Receivers
of Tax Returns of the State, who are by statute declared exempt
from militia duty, are hereby required to travel through their
respective counties constantly, and, if necessary, arrest and
send forward all persons subject, who neglect or refuse to
report. In case any of those officers neglect this duty and
refuse themselves to report and aid in repelling the enemy, it
is hoped all who are in service will remember them in future,
and place more faithful public servants in positions of
responsibility. However weighty the reasons each man might be
able to give for remaining at home, there are more important
reasons why he should hasten to thefront if he is able to
Georgians, you must reinforce General Johnstonarmy and
aid in driving back the enemy, or he will drive you back to the
Atlantic, burn your cities and public buildings, destroy your
property, and devastate the fair fields of your noble State.
If the Confederate Government will not send the large
cavalry force (now engaged in raiding and repelling raids) to
destroy the long line of railroad over which General Sherman
brings his supplies from Nashville, and thus compel him to
retreat with the loss of most of his army, the people of
Georgia, who have already been drawn upon more heavily in
proportion to population than those of any other State in the
Confederacy, must at all hazards and at any sacrifice rush to
thefront, and aid the great commander at the head of our
glorious self-sacrificing army, to drive him fromthe soil of
the Empire State.
I beg you, fellow citizens, to reflect upon the magnitude
of the issue.
If Gen. Johnstonarmy is destroyed the Gulf States are
thrown open to the enemy and we are ruined. If Gen. Sherman
army is cut off the West is thrown open to us to the Ohio
River, and all the raids into Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama
will at once cease. If every citizen of Georgia will do his
duty and the President will permit Kentucky to rest free from
raids for a time, and will send Morgan and Forrest to operate
upon the Railroad line of communication, nearly three hundred
miles, in Shermanrear, which passes over many bridges,
through a country destitute of supplies, the grand army of
invasion can be destroyed and not only our own State but the
Confederacy delivered from disaster by the triumphant success
of our arms.

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