Press release - Los Angeles, CA, USA - April 2, 2015
The Civil War was filled with vicious intensity and a substantial amount of casualties. It is said to be one of the most ferocious wars ever fought as it had no other objective than to take down the men fighting on the opposite side. The entire US army held only 16,000 men when the Confederacy was organized by the first seven states in Montgomery. Shortly after that the governors in the North began mobilizing and 100 000 troops were authorized to be sent in February by the Confederate Congress. Both the North and the South were able to proceed with more than enough volunteers during the first year however by year two the initial enthusiasm had faded. Both sides were forced to resign to signing a draft law to successfully enroll as many men as possible. In April 1862 the draft law written by the Confederacy applied to young men age 18-35 with the exception of overseers of slaves, clergymen and government officials. The U.S. Congress followed by authorizing militia drafts in states where the volunteer quota could not be met. The Union then began recruiting European immigrants including 144,000 born in Ireland and 177,000 born in Germany. In July 1863 there was a great draft riot in NYC involving Irish immigrants for they had been lured by the idea of citizenship without knowing that by becoming citizen they were liable for the draft.
In January 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect and in order to meet the state quotas ex-slaves were recruited as “volunteers” against their will in contrast to the white volunteers who received high cash bonuses to sign up. There were some men who took advantage of this by signing up for the war and deserting after receiving the bonus only to show up somewhere else to sign up once more under a different name. They were called “bounty jumpers” and 141 of them were caught and executed under the war.
In truth, very few of the men selected in the draft actually went to war. In the North 280,000 soldiers deserted and in the South 10%, around 100,000 soldiers deserted. Some deserted completely and some temporarily to help their families out, after which they returned to their units, kind of like taking an unauthorized leave of absence. One could also evade the draft legitimately by paying a substantial fee or providing another man to go in your place. Families were therefore able to decide themselves who should or shouldn’t go to war. The Catholic people were especially averse to the draft. 168,649 men were recruited for the Union and 117,986 of them were substitutes. It didn’t matter which side you were on; the draft laws were highly detested.
The Union and Confederate armies became known as the “largest and most efficient armies in the world” in merely four years.