Seth Kaller, Inc.

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INV-23879.05 ADDISON W. PRESTON Autograph Letter Signed, to Senator Solomon Foot, December 17, 1863. 3 pp., 7 x 10 in. 1863-12-17

After the patriotic fervor of 1861 filled Union armies with volunteers, the United States struggled to fill and expand Union armies. In March 1863, Congress passed the Enrollment Act, establishing a national draft to provide manpower for the Union Army. Drafted men could hire substitutes or pay a commutation fee of $300, and both policies were controversial, leading to the slogan, “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight.”

On October 17, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln called for 300,000 additional volunteers for the Union army, divided by the War Department into quotas for each of the respective loyal states. If a state did not meet its quota by January 5, 1864, a draft would fill the remaining quota for each state. The quota for Vermont was 3,300 men, in addition to the requirements of the July 1863 draft not completely filled. Active recruiting furnished more than 3,700 men by the end of January 1864, and more than 1,000 veterans, like those in Preston’s cavalry regiment, reenlisted in the field. On March 14, 1864, President Lincoln called for 200,000 more volunteers.

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