It was in fact common for men to buy out their draft. the draft was very
unpopular (remember the Draft Riots in NYC in July of 1863), as was the War
in general in many areas of the North. Richer men easily hired someone to
take their or their son's draft places. Other men, not so wealthy, pooled
their resources (the Clubs) to be able to get out if called. One of my
wife's ancestors, a Navy vet. earlier, was paid $400 to serve in someone
else's place - someone who had been drafted. I do not know if that was the
'going rate' or not. At about the time of the letter, the state was
enacting large bounties for men who enlisted, to try to enhance the
enlistment rolls. Between Fed. bounties and state ones, a man from NYS
might get as much as $1000 to enlist late in 1863 and early in 1864. Men
lied about their ages to get a shot at that $1000, a huge sum at the time.
----Original Message Follows----
From: "Randall Brown" <rbrown14(a)stny.rr.com>
Subject: [NYDELAWA-L] Civil War draftees....
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 06:46:34 -0400
Hi, are there any CW experts who can possibly explain something to me? I
recently found some letters that my gg-uncle, Howard Lee wrote when he was
16 years old. He was working on the farm of Samuel Keator in So. Kortright
and he mentions how Sam was drafted. The letter was dated Sept. 20, 1863 and
he wrote this....
". Sam was drafted and some of our neighbors. Sam belonged to a club he will
not have to pay only 100 Dols. One club of about 20 only had one or two
drafted out of it so it cost the drafted man about 25 Dols. They joined
together you see and paid 50 Dols apice so it came verry light on the
drafted man. Our club had about 30 in it and 10 or 12 were drafted so
everyone of the 30 has to pay 100 Dols whether he is drafted or not. "
I transcribed this exactly as it was written and I find it somewhat
confusing. What are these "clubs"??....the only thing I can think of is that
they pooled their money together and paid someone to go in their place if
drafted into the war??? My uncle did mention where Sam had to go to Norwich
to get a physical. I found on the county website where Samuel B. Keator was
indeed drafted but I have been unable to find anything yet to indicate that
he actually served in the war.
Any suggestions??? Thank you in advance.
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