Calls For Troops in 1862


Chapter X Pages: 108-109

During the months of May and June special authority was given the States of New York, Indiana and Illinois to furnish men for three months' service, and their response yielded 15,007. (24) The numerical losses of the troops at the front had been such that, on June 28th, eighteen governors petitioned the President to call upon the States for sufficient men to fill the armies in the field up to their proper complement, as well as "to garrison and hold all the numerous cities and military positions that have been captured by our armies, and to speedily crush the rebellion." (25) Mr. Lincoln complied by issuing a call on July 2nd for 300,000 volunteers for three years, and the states generously exceeded their quotas by fully 33 per cent. (26)

"The great depletion of the old regiments b y the campaigns of 1862 induced special efforts during the summer and fall of that year to secure recruits for them. It was, however, perceived early in August that these efforts would not meet with success, and that the call of July 2, where filled at all, would be filled mainly by new organizations. These the governors of the States authorized partly from a misapprehension of the real needs of the service, (27) and partly from a more or less well-founded belief that, without the stimulus of commissions in new regiments, individual efforts, heretofore so successful in raising men, would not be made by influential parties in different localities. In view of this failure and the pressing want of troops, a draft for three hundred thousand (300,000) militia, to serve for a term of nine months, was ordered by the President on the 4th of August, 1862. The order directed that if any State failed to furnish its quota of men under the preceding call for volunteers, the deficiency should be made up by a special draft from the militia by the 15th of August. It also announced that steps would be taken for the promotion of officers for meritorious services, for preventing the appointment of incompetent persons as officers in the volunteer and regular forces, and for ridding the service of the unworthy ones already commissioned.

"This order was the first step taken by the government towards carrying out the maxim upon which the security of the republican governments mainly depends, viz: THAT EVERY CITIZEN OWES HIS COUNTRY MILITARY SERVICE. (28) To its adoption, and the subsequent rigorous resort to conscription, the salvation of the Union is due, more than to any other cause.

"The draft under this order commenced on the 3rd of September, 1862, and was conducted by the State authorities. Of the three hundred thousand (300,000) men called for, about eighty-seven thousand were credited as having been drafted into the service under the call. (29) This number was much reduced by desertion before the men could be got out of their respective States, and but a small portion of them actually joined the ranks of the army.

"This draft constituted the last demand of the general government for men previous to the inauguration of the system of conscription in the following spring." (30)

Footnotes On Chapter X (24-30)

24. Phisterer, p.4

25. Report of the Provost Marshal General, Part I, pp. 10; Part II, pp. 102 and 103.

26. The quotas amounted to 334,835; the number of men actually furnished was 431,958.__Ibid, p. 160; Phisterer, pp. 4-5.

27. Which could readily have been prevented had there existed a General Staff to tell them the proper measures to take under such circumstances.

28. A principle laid down by the Act of May 8, 1792. See p. 48.

29. Actually 87,588 out of quotas amounting to 334,835.__Phisterer, p.5.

30. Report of the Provost Marshal General, I, pp. 10-11.

Website: The History
Article Name: Calls For Troops in 1862
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my collection of Books: The Military Unpreparedness of the United States- A History of American Land Forces from Colonial Times until June 1, 1915. By Frederic Louis Huidekoper; Publisher: The Macmillan Company-New York 1916
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