SUBSTITUES AND CONSCRIPTEES
SUBSTITUTES AND CONSCRIPTEES

SOURCES FOR CIVIL WAR ANCESTOR SEARCHES

 

There is a booklet called Civil War Draft records by Nancy Justus Morebeck  cost is $18.50. This book is necessary to find out the 1863 congressional district. It explains how to get draft records. If you know  county and state, it can tell you the Congressional District & you can send for these FREE records. There are 4 other types of records, only one of them is available by mail, that's Case files of Drafted Aliens. Those would be aliens who had not declared their intent to naturalize. Record Group 59. Congressional District not needed for this record.

NARA Archives II
8601 Adelphi Rd
College Park MD 20740-6001

Phone 301-713-7250

 

Unfortunately you have to go to NARA to look anyone up in either the Descriptive Rolls, Medical Record of Examinations or Statement of Substitutes. To whet your appetite for this book here are some excerpts of the contents:

CIVIL WAR DRAFT RECORDS

 

The first national draft in U.S. history was authorized by President Lincoln when he signed the Enrollment Act on March 3, 1863.  It was created to provide more men to fight for the Union in the Civil War.  After the first year or two of the war, the number of volunteers dwindled almost to the vanishing point.  Under the new draft bill, all eligible males between the ages of 20 and 45, both white citizens and aliens, who had declared their intent to naturalize, were eligible for the draft. 

Males 20 to 45 were to be drafted first, followed by all married men between the ages of 36 to 46.  Males 17 to 20 could serve with the permission of a parent or guardian.  The records of the draft include men born between 1818 and 1843 and include men who did not serve as well as those who served in the Army during the Civil War.  The draft applied only to men residing in states of the United States under Union control.

The following drafts were held:
15 Jun 1863 100,000 6 months
17 Oct 1863 500,000 3 years
14 Mar 1864 200,000 3 years
23 Apr 1864 85,000 100 days
18 Jul 1864 500,000 1, 2, and 3 years
19 Dec 1864 300,000 1, 2, and 3 years

 

Originally the bill allowed for few exemptions, none were based on occupation or religion, but some based on hardship.  Any drafted man could, however, either pay a $3OO commutation fee or provide a substitute to serve in his place.  It was later estimated that 65% of the men identified in the 1863 draft were released because of physical disability or hardship.

The draft, which was very unpopular, would not be applied in any locality that had alreadv met its quota of recruits.  The country was divided into Congressional Districts.  The need for men was apportioned to those districts, and each district was supposed to provide a specified number of men.  If that proper number of men had volunteered in a given district, the draft would not apply there.  So it was in the interest of government authorities in the counties and cities to recruit men as vigorously as they could to keep the draft from affecting the people in their area.  The draft stirred recruiting drives all over the country and resulted in a great many men going into the army who probably would not have enlisted if they were left to their own devices.

The draft records, available for a time period in which tracing families is sometimes difficult, are invaluable for obtaining information on men living in cities or rural areas.  The draft records give additional important details than those found in either the censuses or city directories.

The existing conscription records include lists of men which are created by enrollment districts based upon the Districts of the 38th Congress. 

The records are found in National Archives RG 110 (Records of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau) and National Archives RG 59 (General Records of the Department of State).  The records have not been microfilmed and most are in bound volumes.  It is important to be able to identify the Congressional District in which the soldier or non-soldier lived in 1863.

This is the purpose for the following index to the Congressional Districts.  First, a little more information about five types of records created by the Draft that are used by genealogist studying their family history.

 

The Draft Created Five Types of RecordsThat Genealogists Use (Only the Consolidated is given here - see the book for the rest -mr)

1. Consolidated Lists.  These are the most important individual records. 

An entry for a man gives his name; place of residence; age as of July 1, 1863; occupation; marital status, state, territory, or country of birth; and the military organization (if a volunteer) of which he previously was a member.  The records are arranged by state and by Congressional or Enrollment District.  Most are bound in volumes.  They are divided into three classes- men between the ages of 20 and 35 subject to military duty and unmarried men above 35 and under 45 subject to military duty; married men above 35 and under 45; and volunteers.  Entries in each class are arranged in rough alphabetical order by initial letter of surname.  To access your ancestor on the consolidated lists, it is necessary to identify the Congressional District in which the soldier or non-soldier lived in 1863.

Note: You will need to acquire Nancy's book for this information.

Using the name of the state, county, and/or ward of city, that your ancestor resided in, the index which follows identifies the Congressional District.  The number of the district is necessary to request that the staff at the National Archives search for the registration file for your ancestor.  The index which follows is based upon the Congressional Directory for the Second Session of the 38th Congress of the United States (Washington, D.C.- For the Joint Houses of Congress, 1865.)

Records by Mail

The records of the Consolidated Lists are kept in the National Archives in Record Group 110.  No fee is being charged for the information requested as of publication date.  For information telephone (202)

501-5385 to the National Archives & Records Administration.  Research can be conducted in person at the following location, or requests can be made by mail:

National Archives & Records Admin.
Seventh & Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20408

 

The following page shows a page from the Consolidated Lists from the National Archives.  It must be remembered that some records contain more information than others.  A sample letter to request information from the Consolidated Lists on an ancestor is presented after the example, and it may be copied, completed, and then mailed to the above address.  A few sample letters with responses from the National Archives referring to a requests on records from the Consolidated Lists are included.  The staff at the Archives does not usually copy the page from the record group as they are found in tightly bound volumes, but they will send the information found in the record.

SAMPLE REQUEST LETTER

National Archives & Records Admin
Seventh & Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20408

Date

Dear Sir,

Please check the Consolidated Lists for Draft Registration for the Civil War in Record Group 110 for the following person.

NAME

AGE

MARRIED SINGLE

LIVING 1863 (state)

(county)

         (Congressional District)

 

I would like to have a copy of all available information.

Thank you very much.

Reminder you must have Nancy's book to find your Congressional District. -mr

 

I welcome additional information on this subject mruddy@usit.net

The following entries do not answer the question of where is my relative listed or what if my ancestor was a substitute , but may provide some insight into where to look. The records of the specific individual drafted may be kept, as shown in the last entry, in the Provost Marshall's office or in state archives. I welcome information of anyone having attempted or succeeded in obtaining records in this manner.
Whether a specific substitute is tied by records to a specific thereby exempted individual is unknown to me:
What follows is information from the
Official Records and describe the process of conscription (draft) and use substitutes to avoid conscription as it was practiced during the Civil War.

1. Letter concerning riots and conscritption avoidance:
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE CHAMBER,
Harrisburg, Pa., October 25, 1862.
Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D.C.:
SIR: The riots in Schuylkill County have ceased for the present. The object
of the rioters seems to have been to prevent the draft, and to this end, I
understand that they forcibly obstructed persons who had been drafted and
were on their way to the place of rendezvous in conformity with the notice
which had been served on them.
I beg to observe that this enrollment and draft have been made under the
authority of and directly by the United States. I originally suggested,
therefore, that they should be conducted by officers of the United States,
but that suggestion not being adopted, I have acted for the United States
in superintending the enrollment and the drawing of names for the quota.
The next step contemplated by the regulations is the appointment of
provost-marshals to enforce the attendance of the drafted men. I have not
nominated persons to fill this office, because I do not perceive that
officers of that kind are necessary.
By the act of 29th of June, 1861, penalties are provided for drafted men
who shall not obey the orders of the President, but there is no act
authorizing them to be forcibly impressed.
I would advise that a regulation be made directing that the courtsmartial
shall be immediately held on all recusants. These courts must be ordered by
the President.
In this mode I think you would get the men more easily than by the use of
force. Men unwilling to go, and unable to pay the probable fine, will serve
in the army on pay [in preference] to being shut up in prison without pay.
Those who are able to pay the fine will prefer using the money in procuring
substitutes. The same limit of the fine will probably regulate the price of
substitutes. I respectfully submit these matters for your consideration.
Very respectfully, yours, &c.,
A. G. CURTIN,
[Governor of Pennsylvania.]


2. Letter to Secretary of War Stanton concerning problems with conscription:
HARRISBURG, PA., November 22, 1862.
Hon. E. M. STANTON:
The taking of substitutes has grown worse each day until it has become a
real evil, and I request authority to stop it entirely. A system of
brokerage has sprung up, and men of suspicious and disreputable character
are brought in numbers from the cities of New York, Philadelphia, and
Baltimore for sale. After receiving their money they desert, and thus but
few men are added to the old regiments. It is producing very great
demoralization. Arms have arrived, and their issue will commence. Fourteen
hundred horses will be issued to-day, and Colonel Gregg will be at once
prepared to move.
L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General.

3. ENROLLMENT BOARDS from the OFFICIAL RECORDS:

73. The Board shall make an exact and complete roll of the names of the
persons drafted, and of the order in which they were drawn, so that the
first drawn may stand first on the said roll, and the second may stand
second, and so on. The draft shall take place at the headquarters of the
district. It shall be public and under the direction of the Board of
Enrollment. The name of each person enrolled shall be placed in a box to be
provided for the purpose, and the provost-marshal, or some person
designated by him (the drawer to be blindfolded), shall draw therefrom one
name at a time until the required number is obtained.
74. The exact and complete roll of the names of persons drawn in the draft
shall be entered by the Board in a book to be kept for that purpose, ruled
and headed to correspond with the descriptive roll of drafted men. (Form 34.)
75. The number required to fill the call will be taken from this roll by
commencing at the first name and taking in order, until the required number
is obtained, all who are not, by the Board, decided to be excepted and
exempt under the provisions of the enrollment act.
76. The names of the men thus called into service will be entered on
"descriptive rolls" (in triplicate), signed by the Board. One copy of this
roll will be sent to the Provost-Marshal-General direct, one copy to the
acting assistant provost-marshal-general of the State, and one will be
retained by the provost-marshal.
77. Certified extracts from this descriptive roll shall be made in
duplicate by the provost-marshal for every party of drafted men sent off,
and sent with the party to the officer to whom the party is to be
delivered. One copy is to be retained by this officer, and the other is to
be returned, with a receipt for the party as delivered to him on the back.
The returned copy will accompany the provost-marshal's monthly report to
the Provost-Marshal-General.
78. The Board shall note on the roll book of drafted men, in the column of
remarks opposite each man's name, the disposition made of him--whether
called into service and sent to the rendezvous, exempted by the Board,
replaced by a substitute, commuted for, deserted, or discharged as not
being required.
79. The substitute whom any drafted person is authorized, by section 13 of
the enrollment act, to furnish must be presented to the Board of
Enrollment; and it shall be the duty of the Board to examine him and, if
accepted, to place his name on the book of persons drafted, with
explanatory remarks. His name will then be transcribed on the descriptive
rolls of men called into service.
80. Certificates of exemption from the draft, by reason of having provided
a substitute, or having paid commutation money, shall be furnished by the
Board of Enrollment according to Form 31. A discharge from one draft
furnishes no exemption from any subsequent draft, except that when the
person drafted has furnished an acceptable substitute, and has received a
certificate of discharge from a preceding draft, he shall be held exempt
from military duty during the time for which he was drafted and for which
such substitute was furnished.
81. The Board shall furnish a discharge (Form 31) from further liabilities
under the particular draft to any drafted person who presents a bona fide
receipt, for the sum announced in orders for the procuration of
substitutes, from the person authorized by the Secretary of War to receive it.

4. REGULATIONS IN REGARD TO SUBSTITUTES.
1. Any person enrolled and drafted may at any time on or before the time at
which he is ordered to report at a rendezvous obtain, and present to the
Board of Enrollment of the district in which he resides, a substitute.
2. The substitute must be in every respect suitable for the military
service, which shall be determined by the Enrolling Board in the manner
prescribed for examining recruits.
3. Every substitute, after being examined and approved by the Enrolling
Board, shall enlist in the service of the United States. (Form 40.)
4. And when he shall have so enlisted and reported to the provost-marshal
for duty the Board shall give the person who has furnished the substitute a
certificate of exemption (according to Form 31, in Regulations for the
Government of the Bureau of the Provost-Marshal-General) setting forth that
the person is "not properly subject to do military duty during the time for
which he was drafted * * * by reason of 'having furnished an acceptable
substitute.'"
5. Every substitute who shall have enlisted and reported to the
provost-marshal shall be held subject to all pains and penalties for
desertion or other offenses in the same manner as other soldiers, and the
person who has furnished the substitute shall not be responsible for the
acts of the substitute committed after he shall have enlisted and reported
to the provost-marshal for duty, as required in the preceding paragraph.
6. The Board of Enrollment will give public notice after a draft has been
made that they will, between such hours on every day, up to the time when
the drafted men are ordered to report at a rendezvous, hear propositions
for substitutes and examine persons so offering.
7. All persons who may be drafted and who desire to present substitutes
shall give notice in writing to the Board of Enrollment that on such a day
they will present a substitute, giving his name, residence, age, and
stating whether he is an alien or citizen.
8. The Board of Enrollment shall make the enlistment papers of substitutes
in triplicate, of which one shall be forwarded to the
Provost-Marshal-General, one to the Adjutant-General of the Army, and the
other retained among the records of the Enrolling Board.
9. Substitutes, after being enlisted, are to be considered as in all
respects on the same footing with other soldiers, receiving the same
bounties, pay, and allowances, and amenable to the same regulations and
discipline.
10. After all the substitutes have been accepted and enlisted in a district
the Board of Enrollment will render a statement (according to Form A) to
the Provost-Marshal-General.
JAMES B. FRY,
Provost-Marshal- General.

Capt. J. HERON FOSTER,
Provost-Marshal, Pittsburg, Pa.:
The drafted men may, if they desire it, deposit $300 with collector of
internal revenue, subject to withdrawal if exempted by the Board, or their
substitutes pass examination and are enlisted.
JAMES B. FRY,
Provost-Marshal- General.

PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, July 22, 1863.
Capt. WILLIAM SILVEY,
Actg. Asst. Prov. Mar. Gen., Providence, R. I.:
Scoundrels and thieves are not acceptable substitutes. Instruct your boards
accordingly.
JAMES B. FRY,
Provost-Marshal- General.

102. All persons who may be drafted, and who desire to present substitutes,
shall give notice in writing to the Board of Enrollment that on such a day
they will present a substitute, giving his name, residence, age, and
stating whether he is an alien or citizen, and whether he is liable to
draft.
103. The Board of Enrollment shall make the enlistment papers of
substitutes in duplicate, of which one shall be forwarded to the
Adjutant-General of the Army, and the other retained among the records of
the Enrolling Board.
104. After all the substitutes have been accepted and enlisted in a
district, the Board of Enrollment will render a statement (Form 41) to the
Provost-Marshal-General.
105. Certificates of exemption from the draft, by reason of having provided
a substitute, or having paid commutation money, shall be furnished by the
Board of Enrollment according to Form 30.
106. The Board shall furnish a discharge (Form 30) to any drafted person
who presents a bona fide receipt for the sum of $300, for the procuration
of substitutes, from the person authorized by the Secretary of War to
receive it.
107. All persons exempted from the draft by the Board (section 14,
enrollment act) shall be furnished with certificate of the fact (Form 31);
and all persons "discharged," after the required number of able-bodied men
shall have been obtained, shall be furnished by the Board with a
certificate of the fact.

5. Letter describing records available in regards Substitutes and Conscriptees:
STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA,
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH,
Harrisburg, Pa., February 1, 1865.
The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
SIR: In reply to the resolution of the House of Representatives of date
January 30, 1865, requesting me to communicate what disposition has been
made of the papers relating to the draft made by the United States
Government in Pennsylvania in 1862, together with such facts in my
possession in relation thereto as may be of both interest and value to
parties who put substitutes into the service for three years pending said
draft, I have the honor to report that the draft of 1862, although commonly
called the State draft, was made under the provisions of an act of
Congress, the State acting simply as an agent to designate to the General
Government suitable persons to execute the law under regulations made by
the United States authorities.
An assistant adjutant-general was appointed by the General Government,
under whose immediate supervision the persons thus designated acted. For
the sake of convenience this officer and his clerks occupied a room in this
department, and reports from the several counties were made to him. Such of
the papers as related to compensation were sent to Washington for
adjustment and pay; those relating to the enrollment, draft, exemption,
substitute, and personal service of the drafted men were left by the U.S.
officers when the draft was consummated in the room which they had
occupied. These papers appear to contain, among other things, the names of
such drafted men as then put in substitutes for three years.
A large number of persons have recently called upon me for certified
extracts from these records showing that they had been drafted and had
furnished substitutes for three years, and stating that these certified
extracts would exempt them from liability to the present draft. As the
papers belong strictly to the United States and are not in my official
charge, I have felt compelled to decline giving such certificates.
That justice might, however, be done to a large number of our citizens, I
directed that the papers should be carefully gathered together and
delivered to Maj. R. I. Dodge, the provost-marshal of the State. They were
retained at his office for a day and then returned with the statement that
Major Dodge declined having anything to do with them.
If it be true, and I believe it has been the case in former drafts, that
the General Government will strike from the rolls the names of men who show
that they have substitutes in service, I think it due to our people that
they should have the benefit of these records.
This end I had hoped to reach by placing them in the hands of the
provost-marshal of the State, that he might distribute them among the
several boards of enrollment and then give the local boards, whose duty it
is to correct the rolls, the proper evidence of the exemptions due the
people of their respective districts.
Respectfully submitted.
ELI SLIFER,
Secretary of the Commonwealth.[PENNSYLVANIA]

6. Here is some information on Conscription Records to aid in a search:

Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of persons to serve in the armed
forces. Also known as the draft, conscription began in the United States
as a result of the Conscription Act of March 3, 1863, during the War
Between the States, or Civil War. If you know the state and county where
your ancestor lived in 1863, you can look up the congressional district in
the "Congressional Directory for the Second Session of the Thirty-Eighth
Congress of the United States of America" published by the U.S. House of
Representatives. Once you know the congressional district, you can request
that the National Archives staff search for the registration file for your
ancestor.

There were two types of records produced as a result of the Conscription
Act of March 3, 1863: consolidated lists and descriptive rolls. The
consolidated lists provide the person's name, birth date, state or country
of birth, place of residence, occupation, and marital status as of July 1,
1863. The descriptive rolls add a physical description and a place or
birth to the information found on the consolidated list. These records
are all maintained in the Provost Marshall General's Bureau. The
conscription and service records for the Civil War are in the process of
being transcribed in a project sponsored by the National Parks Service.
Submitted by Oldgrind

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