War recruits and conscriptions
●Background Info: The Civil War armies would become the largest org. created in the US. By the end of the war, over 2m would serve in the North, and 800k in the South. ●At first, the raising of armies depended on local efforts. Uniforms were left mainly to local opinion, and officers ranked as high as colonels were democratically elected! In the South, cavalrymen provided their own horses. ●This democratic and informal way of recruits, however, could not withstand the stress of war nor the demand for recruits as casualties mounted. ●In April 1862, the Confederacy enacted the first draft in American history. The Confederacy’s Conscription Act called for all able-bodied male between 18 and 35 to serve for three years. The act antagonized Southerners. ●Exemptions applied for some, ranging from religious ministry to shoe-making. ●A loophole (closed in 1853), allowed for the wealthy to hire substitutes. ●Southerners widely feared that slaves could not be controlled if all able-bodied men went to war. The so-called 20-Negro Law exempted those with more than 20 slaves, bringing about complaints of “a rich man’s war but a poor man’s fight.” ●Sidenote: In 1864, the Confederacy issued a new conscription act requiring those in the army to stay for the duration of war, providing the South with veteran soldiers. ●In March 1863, the Union also turned to conscription. The Enrollment Act made able-bodied male citizen between 20 and 45 eligible for drafting. ●The Enrollment Act granted exemptions, but only to high officials / ministers, and men who were the sole support of widows / orphans. It also allowed for substitutes or paying $300 to the govt. as means of escaping the draft. Some dishonest “bounty jumpers” repeatedly collected their money and then deserted their obligations. ●Despite some opposition to conscription in both the Union and the Confederacy, because the draft became hard to escape, many chose to volunteer. In the Confederate Army 70-80% of eligible men served, but only 1 in 5 was a draftee. In the Union Army, only 8% were draftees or substitutes.
Supplying the troops
●Once its army was raised, the Confederacy had to supply it. At first, they used stopgap methods such as confiscating federal arsenals and relying on EU arms. ●At the same time, they began to build industrial bases by assigning contracts to privately owned factories, providing loans, and creating govt. owned industries. ●By 1862, southerners also had a competent head of weaponry, Josiah Gorgas. ●Supplying troops with clothing and food proved more difficult, and soldiers frequently went without shoes. Supply problems had several sources, including railroads that fell into disrepair or Union hands, an economy that depended on cotton and tobacco, and early Union invasions that overran livestock. ●Close to desperation, the Confederate Congress passed the unpopular Impressment Act in 1863. The act allowed officers to take food from reluctant farmers at certain prices as well as to impress slaves into labor for the army. ●The industrial Union had fewer problems supplying arms, clothes, and food.
Financing the War
●Background Info: The recruitment and supply of huge armies lay far beyond American public finance at the start of the war. In the 1850s, annual federal spending had averaged only 2% of the GNP! ●During the war, annual federal expenses gradually rose to 15% of the GNP, and the need for new sources of revenue became urgent. Neither govt. wanted to impose taxes to which Americans were unaccustomed. The Confederacy enacted a small property tax; the Union an income tax. But neither produced much revenue. ●Therefore, both sides turned to war bonds, loans from citizens to be repaid by future generations. But bonds had to paid for in specie, which was short in supply. ●In the South, its first bond soaked up most of its specie and threatened to be its last...