Sunday, March 3, 2013

Filling Up The Army

The United States Congress passed the Enrollment Act which is better known as the Civil War Military Draft, it was enacted March 3rd 1863.

The Confederacy passed the first conscription act, or draft on April 16th 1862.  About a year later the Union passed their own draft law.  The Union Enrollment Act which was enacted March 3rd 1863 was controversial.  It called for every male, including immigrants who had filed for citizenship between the ages of 20 and 45 to enroll.  There were quotas set for the number of men to be raised in each congressional district.  A man could avoid the draft by providing a substitute or by paying $300.  This provision led to the saying of "rich man's war, poor man's fight."  In some cities, such as New York, the Act led to Draft Riots.

Congress amended the Act in 1864 shortening the length of time a man could be exempt from the draft by payment to one year.  There was another change made to the Act in March 1865 which imposed a loss of citizenship on any man who deserted or evaded the draft.

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