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Stumbling Toward Total Civil War: The Successful Failure of Union Conscription 1862-1865.
Strategy research rept.
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
Pagination or Media Count:
Americas first experiment with compulsory military service was enacted in desperation during the defining period in the nations history the Civil War. The Enrollment Act of 1863 created a complicated, inequitable draft system that failed in its intended purpose of raising troops for the Union Army. Less than 6 percent of the 2.2 million men in blue were conscripts. What was not foreseen were the far reaching, unintended effects of the draft that greatly contributed to victory, and signaled a landmark shift in the way Americans view conscription. The unprecedented violence initiated by anti-draft and anti-war factions in the north quickly polarized society, bringing home the terrible earnestness of war to a people only lightly touched thus far. This realization, that total war meant total involvement of the people, resulted in an unprecedented effort to recruit enough men to finish the job. Over one million men were recruited during the final year of the war, ensuring the restoration of the Union. This new spirit of service to the nation began the shift from reliance on a failed mobilization system of militia and volunteerism, to acceptance of national conscription as the American way of raising armies in times of crisis. The successful mobilizations of the World Wars and the establishment of a peacetime draft were thus born in the fire of the Civil War.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE