From the NCpedia.
This past Friday I wrote about there being a N.C. Junior Reserves encampment at Fort Fisher over the weekend. There were members of this unit of 17-year-olds at the First Battle of Fort Fisher.
In 1862, the Confederate Congress passed a conscription act to establish the draft for all males ages 18-35. Later that year, the age was raised to 45, but, as in the North, there were exemptions for a variety of reasons or the men would be assigned to work in industries deemed essential to the war effort. A third conscription law passed in early 1864 brought many of the previously exempted men into combat units.
One provision of this third law was that it required 17-year-old boys and 45 to 50-year-old men to join up and serve in units of their own age group.
The boys became part of the Junior Reserves and the men became the Senior Reserves.