Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

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A Turner Bugler, 2004

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A New Era in the War.


January and February 1863

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, February 27, 1863.


The passage of the Conscription bill by Congress turns over a new leaf in the history of the war. Heretofore its prosecution has depended upon voluntary effort, with the exception perhaps of some half dozen regiments of drafted men, but few of whom have yet taken the field. So long as the system of volunteering was relied upon to furnish the material for continuing the war, there could not be otherwise than a serious doubt entertained of its success. The chief reliance of the rebels in the South, and their sympathizing friends in the North, has rested upon the hope of its cessation from the exhaustion of men willing to give their services to its prosecution. To bring about this result, the “Peace” men of the North have, almost from the hour that the war broke out, been engaged in endeavoring to make it odious in the minds of the people, by publishing discouraging accounts of its progress, by magnifying the dangers and hardships to which our soldiery are exposed, and sowing the seeds of discontent wherever soil could be found ready to receive them, all in the hope of stopping the war by discouraging the voluntary efforts of the citizens in its behalf. This hope has been suddenly blighted, and all their persevering labors brought to naught by the determination of Congress and the Administration, as exhibited in the conscription act. Henceforward it will not be left to every man to choose whether he will pay the debt he owes his Government for protection or not. Payment will be exacted as a right. The Government will insist upon its dues. Hereafter the enemies of the Union in the North and border States, who have been throwing their entire influence before the wheels of the Government with a view to block the progress of the war, will find that they will have an entirely different role to perform. Instead of being permitted to spend their time in making anti-war speeches in the North, and abusing those who have given their services to the country, they may be called upon to take muskets in their hands, and per force made to discharge the duties of loyal men. Here to for treason has been cheap. Hereafter it may prove a costly luxury. The effect upon the pestilent creatures, who have been accustomed to hiss out their venom on the nation’s defenders on every occasion, must be prompt and salutary.

What has been all the time needed was confidence that the rebellion would be put down and the Union restored. Could those who have been clamorous against the war be positively assured of its success, there would not be a peace man among them. That which has kept alive a partial spirit of insubordination throughout the North, has been the impression that the war would prove a failure, through the unwillingness of the people to contribute voluntarily to carry it on. This idea is effectually exploded by the conscription act, which furnishes the material for carrying it on without reference to either public or private will. There are some who may possess the hardihood to continue in opposition to the war, notwithstanding the fact that this last movement makes its triumph a certainty, but not many. Such will do only because they are traitors at heart. All idea of making political capital out of opposition to the war must henceforward be abandoned. Peace-makers, except upon the battlefield, will find their occupation gone.