This Week in Dayton, 9 August

In August 1862 Congress authorized a military draft. On August 8 and 9 the editor of the Courier editorialized that the plan to be used in Indiana, which he credited to Governor Morton, of drafting most heavily from those townships which had furnished the fewest volunteers, was “a very just and impartial arrangement.” The threat of the draft was intended to encourage enlistment, and it worked pretty well, although it engendered some opposition. Particularly unpopular was the provision that allowed those who could afford it to pay a substitute. There were a few disturbances locally, but in some counties in Indiana violence occurred or men went “visiting” the day enrollment was to take place. On August 23 the Courier reported that about every third man of voting age was already in the field. In Sheffield township, with a voting population of 348, 147 had volunteered for the army and 250 were in the militia (since this totals 397 it is assumed a number of those enlisted could not vote).

Susan ClawsonComment