H-CivWar is H-Net's network on scholarship, teaching, and outreach on the history of the American Civil War.

Recent Content

Re: Were African Americans drafted under the 1863 Enrollment Act?

Great discussion. I think, too, that we need to make a distinction between drafted and pressed into service. My research on the Civil War on the lower Mississippi (Louisiana in particular) indicates a great deal of pushing liberated slaves into the ranks, willingly, unwillingly, or perhaps unwittingly. Research using original muster rolls and even the WPA slave narratives indicates the when officers had a need to fill the ranks (desertion rates were very high) they went shopping at local plantations. Need a farrier? There is one over on the Labadie place!

Re: Were African Americans drafted under the 1863 Militia Act?

To follow up on William Kurtz's reference to civil war data: I've found uadata.org to be a more reliable source than civilwardata.com. 16% of the black troops in the uadata "extended" sample are listed as drafted, whilst the majority (54%) in that sample are listed as substitutes. If we combine the "extended" and "original" samples then only 7% of all black troops were drafted and 24% were substitutes, the majority being volunteers.

Re: Were African Americans drafted under the 1863 Militia Act?

Professor Oakes writes: "I have another suspicion that I can't document just now. I wonder if the original request for information about Fry's policy was driven by Congress's dissatisfaction with the fact that slaves were not being drafted in Kentucky. If so, Fry's response may have led Congress to be more explicit. "

Based on two letters found in OR ser 3, vol 3, I think Prof. Oakes is exactly right.

Re: Were African Americans drafted under the 1863 Militia Act?

I tried to make this point earlier. As far as I can determine there was no Militia Act of 1863. On March 3, 1863, Lincoln signed the Enrollment Act of 1863, which entirely bypassed the militia system. This law established a federally managed system of enrollment of draft eligible men, held the drawings, and chose the draftees. The confusions and failures of the Militia Draft Act of 1862 had left northern governors with little appetite for attempting to enforce a militia draft.