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1863 September 12: Pierce County Draft Meeting Continues

September 12, 2013

Last week’s meeting to ascertain the quota for Pierce County was continued on September 10.  This report—the main article on the front page—is from the September 12, 1863, issue of The Prescott Journal.  Please note, as we have seen before, the sums at the bottom of the columns are not necessarily correct!



The quota for Pierce County, and the number she has sent.

ELLSWORTH, Sept. 10, 2863 [sic].

The meeting was called to order by PAINE CONVERSE, Esq., Chairman.  The minutes of the previous meeting were read.  The report of Mr. GIBBS [Oliver Gibbs, Jr.] being called for was read, substantially as follows :

In 1862, the Sheriffs of the several counties made out and forwarded to the Adjutant General of the State, what purported to be complete lists of all persons liable to military duty at the commencement of the war, noting upon the margin such as had volunteered in the U.S. service.  These lists were arranged by towns and were made the basis of the Adjutant General’s estimate of the quota of each town, and statements of such quotas and of the number of volunteers were made up by that officer, brought down to the 7th of June last, and placed on file in his office.

The draft for 1863, however, was to be made by the U. S. Authorities, independent of State officers and State regulations, and new lists were called for, to be made up by the people of each town, and when forwarded to the Provost Marshal General, it was announced that they would be compared with the muster rolls on file in the office of the Adjutant General at Washington, and so far as they agreed therewith, in reference to the volunteers from the towns specified, they would be adopted, and credit given for any excess over previous quotas, such excess to apply on the present draft.

When the previous meeting for this county was held, it was believed that the lists then prepared, would for many reasons, fall below the true number of volunteers, as shown by the muster rolls, and that many discrepancies would occur, such as to greatly reduce our credit, if not cause the lists to be rejected altogether.  The same objection also applied to the proposed taking of the Sheriff’s lists, because his returns were made up chiefly on “information and belief,” the same as in the case of the lists made out at the meetings in the several towns.

The original muster rolls of the companies and parts of companies from this county, together with recruiting registers showing all the enlistments since the organization of companies, had been preserved by Adjt. Gen. GAYLORD [Augustus Gaylord], at Madison, in a convenient form for reference.  From there Mr. GIBBS had copied the names and residence of all volunteers from Pierce county.  He had compiled a statement of the same, including the number claimed in the lists made up by the people of each town, the number returned by the Sheriff, and the quotas for all previous calls, as fixed by the Adj’t. General, which was read to the meeting, as follows ;


*NOTE: In stating the number claimed, all volunteers are omitted who enlisted outside of Wisconsin Regiments for whom neither the State at large nor the towns receive credit.  Trenton sent 15 men into Minnesota and Iowa Regiments.  Prescott and Oak Grove had no lists prepared.

[The names of volunteers were read by towns, but are omitted for want of space.]

The discrepancies shown between the the number claimed by towns and the number shown on muster rolls, is accounted for by the fact that many volunteers put down their residence on the rolls in different towns from where those who made up the town lists supposed they had their residence.  Some men are claimed who have put down their residence in other counties and even in other States, while many names have been found on the rolls credited to different towns, who are not claimed at all.

Clifton has sent over forty men into the service, while as will be seen above, only twenty-three appear credited to her on the muster rolls.

Should the Government abandon the present method of determining quotas and excesses, and assign that much in reference to the draft to the State authorities, (as in the present aspect of things seems probably,) the excess of volunteers for Pierce county, over the number returned by the Sheriff, will be credited to the county by the Adjutant General, so far as the same shall be found correct on comparison with the muster rolls.  This will give the county a gain of seventy-two men over the excess previously credited in his office, making a credit in all of 168 men over previous quotas.

Should the Government, on the other hand proceed to credit the towns with all excesses shown by the lists that will be forwarded, as compared with the muster rolls, the county will then be ahead 168 men over and above what we would have been credited with had no lists been prepared, or had the lists made up by the towns been sent on and rejected, as they evidently would have been, for inaccuracy.

Our excess will now be good for a draft of 586,000 men.

Mr. GIBBS closed his report by remarking that the people of the county were under obligations to Adjutant General GAYLORD both for the admirable manner in which his books and files are arranged for reference and for his courtesy in furnishing facilities to transcribe the facts called for.

On motion of W. J. Smith the thanks of the meeting were tendered OLIVER GIBBS, JR., for the prompt, thorough and impartial manner in which he has discharged the business entrusted to him.

On motion adjourned.

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