[Richmond Daily Dispatch-Oct. 24, 1864]
A meeting of the Governors of the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, was held in Augusta, Georgia, on Monday, the 17th instant. Governor William Smith, of Virginia, presided. After a full, free, and harmonious consultation and interchange of council, the following, among other views, were expressed:
Resolved, That there is nothing in the present aspect of public affairs to cause any abatement of our seal in the prosecution of the war to the accomplishment of a peace based on the independence of the Confederate States. And to give encouragement to our brave soldiers in the field and to strengthen the Confederate authorities in the pursuit of this desirable end, we will use our best exertions to increase the effective force of our armies.
Resolved, That the interests of each of our States are identical in the present struggle for self-government, and wisdom and true patriotism dictate that the military forces of each should aid the others against invasion and subjugation, and for this purpose we will recommend to our several legislatures to repeal all such laws as prohibit the executives from sending their forces beyond their respective limits, in order that they may render temporary service wherever most urgently required.
Resolved. That whilst it is our purpose to use every exertion to increase the strength and efficiency of our State and Confederate forces, we respectfully and earnestly request that the Confederate authorities will send to the field every able-bodied man, without exception, in any of its various departments, whose place can be filled by either disabled officers and soldiers, senior reserves or negroes, and dispense with the use of all provost and post guard, except in important cities, or localities where the presence of large bodies of troops make them necessary, and with all passport agents upon railroads not in the immediate vicinity of the armies, as we consider these agents an unnecessary annoyance to good citizens and of no possible benefit to the country.
Resolved, That we recommend our respective legislatures to pass stringent laws for the arrest and return to their commands of all deserters and stragglers from the Confederate armies or State troops, and that it be made the special duty, under appropriate penalties, of all civil and military officers to arrest and deliver to the proper authorities all such delinquents.
And whereas, the public enemy having proclaimed the freedom of our slaves, are foreign into their armies the able-bodied portion thereof, the more effectually to wage their cruel and bloody war against us; therefore be it.
Resolved, That it is the true policy and obvious duty of all slave owners timely to remove their slaves from the line of the enemy's approach, and especially those able to bear arms; and when they shall fail to do so, that it should be made the duty of the proper authorities to enforce the performance of this duty, and to give to such owners all necessary assistance as far as practicable.
Resolved, That the course of the enemy in appropriating our slaves who happen to fall in their hands to purposes of war, seems to justify a change of policy on our part; and whilst owners of slaves, under the circumstances, should freely yield them to their country, we recommend to our authorities, under proper regulations, to appropriate such part of them to the public service as may be required.
Resolved, That the States have the right to export such productions and to import such supplies as may be necessary for State use, or for the comfort or support of their troops in service, upon any vessel or vessels owned or chartered by them; and vessel or vessels owned or chartered by them; and that we request Congress at its next session to pass laws removing all restrictions which have been imposed by Confederate authority upon such exports or imports by the States.
And, lastly, we deem it not inappropriate to declare our firm and unalterable purpose, as we believe it to be that of our fellow-citizens, to maintain our right of self-government, to establish our independence, and to uphold the rights and sovereignty of the States, or to perish in the attempt.
Resolved, That the chairman be requested to send a copy of these resolutions to his Excellency President Davis, one each to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, to be laid before the respective bodies, and one to the governors of each State in the Confederacy.