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1864 July 23: A New Presidential Call for Volunteers

July 28, 2014

Following is President Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation 116, calling for 500,000 more Volunteers.  It appeared in both of our local newspapers—The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal—in their July 23, 1864, issues; the headlines are from the Journal.  It is followed by editorials and articles from both newspapers concerning local sentiment.

Appeared in Both Newspapers:


A Call for 5 0 0 , 0 0 0 !

Fifty days to raise the Volunteers.

Draft for the deficiency, Sept. 5th.




WHEREAS, by the act approved July 4, 1864, entitled “an act further to regulate and provide for the enrolling, &c. of the National forces and for other purposes,” it is provided that the President of the United States may, at his discretion, at any time hereafter, call for any number of men, as volunteers for the respective terms of one, two, and three years for military service, and that in case the quota or any part thereof of any town, township, ward of a city, precinct, or election district, or of a county not so subdivided, shall not be filled within the space of fifty days after such call, then the President shall immediately order a draft for one year to fill such quota or any part thereof which may be unfilled, and

WHEREAS, the enrollment heretofore ordered is so far completed as that the aforementioned act of Congress may now be put in operation for recruiting and keeping up the strength of the armies in the field, for garrisons, and such military operations as may be required for the purpose of suppressing the rebellion and restoring the authority of the United States Government in the insurgent States.

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do issue this my call for FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND (500,000) volunteers for the military service.

Provided, nevertheless, That this call shall be reduced by all credits which may be established under section 8 of the aforesaid act on account of persons who have entered the naval service during the present rebellion and by credits for men furnished to the military service in excess of calls heretofore made. Volunteers will be accepted under this call for one, two, or three years, as they may elect, and will be entitled to the bounty provided by the law for the period of service for which they enlist.

I hereby proclaim, order, and direct that immediately after the 5th day of September, 1864, being fifty days from the date of this call, a draft for troops to serve for one year shall be had in every town, township, ward of a city, precinct, or election district, or county not so subdivided, to fill the quota which shall be assigned to it under this call or any part thereof which may be unfilled by volunteers on the said 5th day of September, 1864.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.  Done at the city of Washington, this 18th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1864, and of the independence of the United States the 89th.


..   .By the President :
(Signed)         .WM. H. SEWARD,
..Secretary of State.

From The Polk County Press:

The Call for Volunteers.

By a Proclamation dated the 18th of this month, the President calls for 500,000 more men.  These may be supplied by volunteering, until the 5th day of September next, immediately after which time, it is announced, a draft to make up for deficiencies will take place.  Volunteers may enlist at their option for one, two or three years.  The draft is to be for one year’s service only.  Drafted men can no longer buy exemption, as heretofore, but unless exemption on other grounds, must serve in person or by substitute.

this proclamation manifests the unflinching determination of the government to complete the work it has had in hand for upwards of three years now—the suppression of the rebellion.  It would seem also to indicate an opinion on the part of the administration, that, while the last struggle of the rebels will be obstinate and desperate, they will not be able to maintain a very formidable armed revolt, for a longer period than about a year to come.

If the time before the draft is to take place shall be properly improved it is presumed that the compliment for the great majority of the towns can be supplied by volunteering, stimulated as it should be, by bounties which the towns are authorized by law to raise.

It were well that the different towns of this county should determine at once respectively upon the course to be followed.

There may be diverse views among individuals as to the course which ought to be adopted.  The prevalent sense of community on the subject, should therefore be ascertained as soon as practicable, by public meetings held for that purpose, in order that a definite line of policy may be concluded upon and pursued.

If the people of any town shall deem it expedient to take their chances and stand the draft as it comes, then, a celiable [sic] expression accordingly, having been given, individuals will be relieved of uncertainty on that point at least, and so will be better prepared to take their own course, on their “own hook”—to shape their affairs with reference to the contingences [sic] of the “wheel.”  If on the contrary any town shall decide to make an effort to fill its quota with volunteers, then its people and authorities can go to work methodically to accomplish the object.

Street discussion and neighborhood gossip about the matter, will not be apt to effect any beneficial end, while deliberate consultation in a well attended public meeting called to consider the subject, will be likely to harmonize opinions, and to result either in definite measures, or in a definite conclusion to take no measures, so far as the municipality is concerned.  We are of the opinion that in most localities throughout the country, efforts will be made to furnish volunteers and avoid the draft, and it seems to us this is the better way.  The volunteers and avoid the draft, and it seems to us this is the better way.  The volunteer goes of course without compulsion, and generally because he can, whereas in the case of the drafted man, there are sometimes severe hardships over and above the burdens of the service.


Polk County and the Draft.

WILLIAM A. TALBOYS, Esq., hands us the following table received from Adjt. Gen. GAYLORD [Augustus Gaylord], which shows the condition and standing of each town in the county, as regards their quotas and credits under the last calls, including the credits for the number drafted in November, 1863, held for service or commutation.—We have scanned the list closely and find that it tallies with ours, except in the case of one drafted man, who failed to report, and one Indian recruit, who deserted after receiving bounty money from the town of Osceola, and being regularly sworn in by recruiting officer DAVIS [George W. Davis], of the 7th regiment.

The following is the statement referred to above :

Polk Co draft chart

From The Prescott Journal:

A V O I D   T H E   D R A F T !


A meeting of the citizens of Prescott will be held at the Council Room on Saturday eveng [sic], July 23d, to take measures to secure volunteers to fill the quota of the city under the President’s last call for 500,000 men.  Let every one who is interested attend.


Prescott, July 22, 1864.


Quotas of the Town

Under the last call for 500,000 men towns which have furnished an excess ever previous calls, are to be credited for the surplus, and those which are behind must make up the deficiency in addition to the quota under the new call.  As a matter of interest, we re-publish the statement of the account of the towns of this county on the 15th of April, as follows :

Oak Grove. . . . . . . 4
Trimbell. . . . . . . . . 2
Diamond Bluff . . .
Trenton. . . . . . . . . 3
Hartland . . . . . . . .
Pleasant Valley. . . 3
Perry. . . . . . . . . . . 4
Union . . . . . . . . . . 3
Isabelle. . . . . . . . . 1
Prescott . . . . . . . . 7
Martell . . . . . . . . . 10
River Falls. . . . . . . 3
Clinton . . . . . . . . . 4
El Passo . . . . . . . . 1
Salem . . . . . . . . . . 2

 It will be seen that the County is behind an aggregate of 25.  What the quota will be under the new call, we do not yet know.  But one thing is certain :  the men must be furnished, and it becomes every one liable to a draft to [__] consider whether it is not better to volunteer for one year, and secure the Government bounty of $100, and such local bounty as may be offered, rather than take his chances under the draft.— We do not now know whether recruiting commissions will be issued and new regiments formed, but if so, we shall soon be apprised of it.

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