War now seemed inevitable, and Alabama's young men rushed to join the upcoming fight. As early as January, Gov. Andrew B. Moore had called to duty six companies of the Volunteer Corps of Alabama to defend the state. But by the spring months, men from throughout Alabama were enlisting, often joining the ranks alongside their brothers, cousins, and friends. In general, men attended their mustering-in services with joyful attitudes. Many from prominent families hoped to prove their valor on the battlefield.
Amid the enthusiasm surrounding the enlistment of Alabama's young men, though, an "old soldier" from the Mexican War offered words of caution and advice in the Southern Advocate. The veteran reminded the young troops to buy rubber blankets for "only $1.50" to protect their bodies from the cold ground and hard rain. The "best military hat in use is the light colored soft felt," he explained, and growing a beard could "protect the throat and lungs." To keep clean, dry, and warm would be of vital importance, he wrote as he urged the young recruits to "remember that in a campaign more men die from sickness than by bullet." By heeding his warning, these soldiers could greatly increase their chances of returning home alive at the end of the fighting. Though the hardened veteran may have dampened the mood for young men who read his column, many citizens of Alabama looked toward the summer months with eagerness, hoping that war would allow them a chance to seal their independence.