This Week in the Civil War - 551

Apr 18, 2013

By mid-April 1863 the Confederate Congress passed a series of legislative acts which revealed inherent weaknesses in the Confederate military.  On April 16, President Jefferson Davis approved an act to allow minors to hold army commissions; the act suggested a shortage of manpower in the Confederate nation. 

A further act approved by Davis sanctioned punishment for both Confederate soldiers and officers absence without leave.  And, on Saturday, April 18, 1863 the Confederate Congress authorized a volunteer navy whereby qualified persons could procure and fit out vessels for cruising against the enemy, with the main compensation to be prize money. 

This law, essentially sanctioning privateering, never went into operation, however.  All three laws reveal the tenuous state of Confederate military fortunes both in the army and the navy by mid-1863.