|Patrick Cleburne was the highest ranking|
foreign born general in the Confederate Army.
(Library of Congress)
November 7, 1861
The Militia and the Foreigners
The duties and obligations of the Militia, in relation to foreign residents in Louisiana, have never been defined in a clear and precise manner, and on the part of the high authorities of one State, contradictions and conflicts appear every day. Some examples will suffice to edify our readers.
The Natchitoches Chronicle of the 2d November publishes a letter addressed to Capt Wm. Payne, as follows:
Attorney General's Office, }
New Orleans, Oct. 17, 1861.}
Captain Wm. Payne, Natchitoches:
Sir—Yours of 11th received. Foreigners residing in the state sixty days are bound to defend the country, and are subject to militia duty. The Governor has no power to exempt any one from militia duty; his proclamation has nothing to do with the matter.
Thos. J. Semmes
Here then we have the orders and proclamations of the Governor, destroyed by a letter, which may have the merit of being very laconic, but which is not very clear. What does the Attorney General mean by the word country? Is it the place, the Parish or the States inhabited by the unnaturalized foreigners? Or is it the whole confederation? According to the tenor of the letter addressed to Capt. William Payne, we should be tempted to believe that we should not consider the proclamations of the Governor as serious, unless approved by the Attorney General.
Amidst this conflict between those high functionaries of our State comes the opinion of Count Mejean, French Consul at New Orleans, an opinion which, on such a subject is not without importance. It is expressed in the following letter communicated to us, for the purpose of enlightening the French Residents of Louisiana.