Research Disloyal Activities & Hiring Substitutes

weasel

Private
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Location
West Michigan
While digging through some documents on Fold3 I came across an affidavit:

Aug 30, 1862
Personally appeared Wm HH Hitch and made oath to the following that Lemuel Malone asked him not to go or engage his services in this war that if draft should fall on him[,] Malone[,] that he would give said Hitch $100 to go in his place.

Sworn before
Tho L Powell
Provost Marshall
Somersett Co. Md


It was my understanding that hiring substitutes was at least a not uncommon practice but it's being reported here as if it's a disloyal activity by its very nature. Does anyone know if there were laws against that sort of thing? Was it maybe just generally frowned on and cause to be suspicious of the person doing the hiring?
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
I don't interpret that to indicate that anything was amiss. It simply records that one man made somewhat of a contract with another regarding being hired as a substitute. I am curious why the Provost Marshall would bother to get involved since it was a civil matter but that's a different question.

Many certainly weren't happy about being able to buy one's way out (there were riots) but I don't think there were any laws against one person pledging his services to another with regard to the draft (at least I've never seen it mentioned in any of the literature I've read).

Were I an attorney then representing Hitch and Hitch sold out to somebody else I'd argue that Malone didn't actually have a contract (only a pledge) with Hitch because nothing of actual value was exchanged (a requirement for there to be a contract).
 

weasel

Private
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Location
West Michigan
Essentially discouraging enlistment might be the issue here?

Yeah, I can certainly see why the Provost Marshall would be concerned but I wasn't aware there was a way for them to really get involved. That's why I thought maybe there was either a) some law that could be enforced or b) maybe just some good old-fashioned menacing. I know there were some people who were arrested effectively without cause as a way of getting them off the streets or silencing them for a bit (they were frequently released later without charge according to one source I came across). Examples one might see are saying "Hoorah for Jeff Davis", "God save the Confederacy", etc.

The reason it piqued my interest is in the handful of times I've seen hiring substitutes mentioned it was always presented as just...something that people could do if they were wealthy enough, "rich man's war, poor man's fight", etc but not a cause to start a file on something, as it were. I just assumed I'd misunderstood when I saw that document.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
To discourage someone from not enlisting could be treated as giving aid and comfort to the enemy thereby providing grounds for the Provost Marshall to get involved.
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
In this Maine town, hiring a substitute wasn't practiced until 1863 when the draft was implemented. It was a legal practice and the attitude of the population was very much a matter of circumstance. In one case, a wealthy businessman--who was 55 years old--was drafted; apparently, in a flush of patriotism, he had registered for the draft but when he actually was called upon, common sense prevailed--he hired a substitute which the rest of the town deemed to be sensible. However another wealthy man, who was considerable younger, also hired a substitute who died in Andersonville; the disapproval of townfolk was so strong that the man had to pack up his family and leave town.

To discourage someone from not enlisting could be treated as giving aid and comfort to the enemy thereby providing grounds for the Provost Marshall to get involved
In a nearby town, Abner Small recounted his experience as a recruiter. Sometime before 1863 he was going to march a group of enlistees off for muster--but, at the last minute, the father of one showed up and ordered his son to return home. The irate father threatened Small with great damage should he dare to show is face again. The son--probably quite embarrassed--left with his father. There was no follow up.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
In this Maine town, hiring a substitute wasn't practiced until 1863 when the draft was implemented. It was a legal practice and the attitude of the population was very much a matter of circumstance. In one case, a wealthy businessman--who was 55 years old--was drafted; apparently, in a flush of patriotism, he had registered for the draft but when he actually was called upon, common sense prevailed--he hired a substitute which the rest of the town deemed to be sensible. However another wealthy man, who was considerable younger, also hired a substitute who died in Andersonville; the disapproval of townfolk was so strong that the man had to pack up his family and leave town.


In a nearby town, Abner Small recounted his experience as a recruiter. Sometime before 1863 he was going to march a group of enlistees off for muster--but, at the last minute, the father of one showed up and ordered his son to return home. The irate father threatened Small with great damage should he dare to show is face again. The son--probably quite embarrassed--left with his father. There was no follow up.
Being a recruiter or draft official was not for the faint of heart. History Professor and author David Williams " Bitterly Divided the South's Inner Civil War" thenewpress.com recounts how his GGGpa in Georgia staped a Confedrate draft official to death.
At least a few Union draft officers were killed in Indiana and Confedrate Conscription Gangs in Western North Carolina sometimes came under fire.
Definitly not every one wanted to rally around the flag.
Leftyhunter
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Strong resentment to conscription occurred in the south, and the Governors in many States complained of it. How to pass a law that should keep needed resources of manpower at home to guard defensively. Up north, one Captain Wren from Pennsylvania, who had first been ordered to war and came through Baltimore a day before the Massachusetts's troops were waylaid, had served out his time and was to go home to Pennsylvania. At the time the coal counties there were in open dispute with the draft laws and the recruiters needed protection. I would think a Provost Marshall would be a safeguard for any individual that needed an 'excuse' for a no show.
Lubliner.
 

Tennis

Corporal
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
While digging through some documents on Fold3 I came across an affidavit:

Aug 30, 1862
Personally appeared Wm HH Hitch and made oath to the following that Lemuel Malone asked him not to go or engage his services in this war that if draft should fall on him[,] Malone[,] that he would give said Hitch $100 to go in his place.

Sworn before
Tho L Powell
Provost Marshall
Somersett Co. Md


It was my understanding that hiring substitutes was at least a not uncommon practice but it's being reported here as if it's a disloyal activity by its very nature. Does anyone know if there were laws against that sort of thing? Was it maybe just generally frowned on and cause to be suspicious of the person doing the hiring?

Hiring substitutes was simply part of the system
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Strong resentment to conscription occurred in the south, and the Governors in many States complained of it. How to pass a law that should keep needed resources of manpower at home to guard defensively. Up north, one Captain Wren from Pennsylvania, who had first been ordered to war and came through Baltimore a day before the Massachusetts's troops were waylaid, had served out his time and was to go home to Pennsylvania. At the time the coal counties there were in open dispute with the draft laws and the recruiters needed protection. I would think a Provost Marshall would be a safeguard for any individual that needed an 'excuse' for a no show.
Lubliner.
That's why Shelby Foote can't be taken seriously when he said " the Union fought with one hand tied behind it's back". The Union and the Confedrate Army were so desperate for man power that they both recruited POWs for soldiers but the Union did much better in that regard.
The Union also recruited overseas and I have a thread on that.
Leftyhunter
 

weasel

Private
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Location
West Michigan
In this Maine town, hiring a substitute wasn't practiced until 1863 when the draft was implemented. It was a legal practice and the attitude of the population was very much a matter of circumstance. In one case, a wealthy businessman--who was 55 years old--was drafted; apparently, in a flush of patriotism, he had registered for the draft but when he actually was called upon, common sense prevailed--he hired a substitute which the rest of the town deemed to be sensible. However another wealthy man, who was considerable younger, also hired a substitute who died in Andersonville; the disapproval of townfolk was so strong that the man had to pack up his family and leave town.


In a nearby town, Abner Small recounted his experience as a recruiter. Sometime before 1863 he was going to march a group of enlistees off for muster--but, at the last minute, the father of one showed up and ordered his son to return home. The irate father threatened Small with great damage should he dare to show is face again. The son--probably quite embarrassed--left with his father. There was no follow up.

Those are both good stories, do you have sources available for those? I'd like to be able to reference them in my research. No rush, but if you even remember which book/lecture it was in that would be helpful.
 

weasel

Private
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Location
West Michigan
Strong resentment to conscription occurred in the south...
Lubliner.

It is interesting though that the draft seemed relatively effective (in the north, at least) based on how small a percentage of troops were actually drafted. I don't have the figure in front of me, but I want to say it was something like 55k? The draft pushed people to enlist and would be thought of by some as a mark of shame. A similar thing happened in the Vietnam era, when some people chose to enlist because then they would be in the military, safe from the draft, and would have some control over where they went/what their MOS was. I think it was Gallagher that said essentially "the existence of the draft largely made the use of the draft unnecessary".
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
It is interesting though that the draft seemed relatively effective (in the north, at least) based on how small a percentage of troops were actually drafted. I don't have the figure in front of me, but I want to say it was something like 55k? The draft pushed people to enlist and would be thought of by some as a mark of shame. A similar thing happened in the Vietnam era, when some people chose to enlist because then they would be in the military, safe from the draft, and would have some control over where they went/what their MOS was. I think it was Gallagher that said essentially "the existence of the draft largely made the use of the draft unnecessary".
Per McPherson in" Battle Cry of Freedom" only five percent of the Union Army was drafted. Some men fled to Canada or just moved out West such has Mark Twain after pretending to be a Confedrate guerrlla in Missiouri but actually just trying to stay out of harm's way.
Leftyhunter
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Those are both good stories, do you have sources available for those? I'd like to be able to reference them in my research. No rush, but if you even remember which book/lecture it was in that would be helpful.
The 1st is my own research. The hiring of substitutes is given in the Maine Adjutant General's Reports which I encountered as part of research into local soldiers; the subsequent fall-out is from research into the town done as a member of the local historical society (also, the deceased substitute was a local soldier). Do you need their names?

The 2nd (Abner Small) is from one of his diaries:The Road to Richmond (p. 36). The Maine town, incidentally, was Readfield Corner. Small states that the father led his son home by the ear and that the threat was to make him (Small) a "dead hero".

Incidentally, Small's two diaries are filled with little stories like this--both back in Maine (as an enlistee, a recruiter and--to his dislike--a finder of deserted men) and as a soldier in the south. He was one of the few members of the 16th Maine to be able to answer roster after Gettysburg and he later spent time in Libby, Salisbury and Danville. Major Small was an enormously empathetic and thoroughly likable individual. His diaries are good reading but annoying for research because they are not indexed.
 
Last edited:

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
It is interesting though that the draft seemed relatively effective (in the north, at least) based on how small a percentage of troops were actually drafted. I don't have the figure in front of me, but I want to say it was something like 55k? The draft pushed people to enlist and would be thought of by some as a mark of shame. A similar thing happened in the Vietnam era, when some people chose to enlist because then they would be in the military, safe from the draft, and would have some control over where they went/what their MOS was. I think it was Gallagher that said essentially "the existence of the draft largely made the use of the draft unnecessary".
Why they say 'largest volunteer army'. And your quip on 'when' was excellent!
Lubliner.
 

weasel

Private
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Location
West Michigan
The 2nd (Abner Small) is from one of his diaries:The Road to Richmond (p. 36). The Maine town, incidentally, was Readfield Corner. Small states that the father led his son home by the ear and that the threat was to make him (Small) a "dead hero".

He was one of the few members of the 16th Maine to be able to answer roster after Gettysburg and he later spent time in Libby, Salisbury and Danville. Major Small was an enormously empathetic and thoroughly likable individual. His diaries are good reading but annoying for research because they are not indexed.

Thanks, always good to find out about a new book. Was it the 16th Maine that was basically sacrificed to buy time for the pullback from the Peach Orchard/Wheatfield? In my mind it was the 4th Maine, but maybe I'm confusing two units/stories.
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Thanks, always good to find out about a new book. Was it the 16th Maine that was basically sacrificed to buy time for the pullback from the Peach Orchard/Wheatfield? In my mind it was the 4th Maine, but maybe I'm confusing two units/stories.
It was the 16th. A friend once sent me this video which may be of interest: https://www.pbs.org/video/sixteenth-maine-gettysburg-sixteenth-maine-gettysburg/?fbclid=IwAR3j7eosVZWWIwRZpVz2ZbZR4xNEiqNYTNE0Fv2WcpX3usYnAqPA-TrkBnc

The other Abner Small diary is The Sixteenth Maine Regiment in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865. Lots of roster lists.
 

weasel

Private
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Location
West Michigan
Top