This Week in the Civil War - 760

Feb 5, 2014

On Wednesday, February 3, 1864 President Jefferson Davis in a letter addressed to the Confederate Congress acknowledged that “discontent, disaffection, and disloyalty” were too often manifested by Confederate citizens who, in Davis’ words, “have enjoyed quiet and safety at home.” 

Recommending that the Congress consider suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus as a “sharp remedy” to combat the evils of spying, desertion, consorting with the enemy, and disloyal activities, Davis clearly was concerned about the deteriorating morale of the Southern people. 

In that context, the Confederate president shared the same desire to “get tough” over desertion and disloyalty as General George Pickett, who would execute Confederate deserters who fell into his hands at New Berne, North Carolina. Hard times begat harsh solutions in the Southern Confederacy.