Replacements

Zack

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#1
I have seen some references to volunteer regiments sending officers home to recruit new soldiers or regiments on furlough getting new recruits. Can anyone shed more light on how the replacement system (for lack of a better term) worked during the Civil War? Was each regiment left to its own devices or was there a national system in place? What was the role of the bounty system for finding replacements?
 

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Zack

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#2
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/replacements.10871/

I found this thread which somewhat touches on it. I see someone discussing regiments themselves using bounties and governors being required to recruit replacements rather than new regiments as the war progressed. I also saw a reference to regiments sending soldiers home to recruit.

I also found this book which somewhat discusses it for the Union. The Civil War states page 71: https://history.army.mil/html/books/104/104-9/CMH_Pub_104-9.pdf

It seems in March - July 1863 calls intensified from Sherman, Grant, and others to refill the ranks of old regiments rather than raising new ones. As a result, drafted men were sent to old regiments (leading to much grumbling from the veterans). Meanwhile, volunteers were still being put in new regiments, forcing old regiments to rely on their own efforts to refill their ranks outside of the draft. This including recruiting at home and in Unionist areas of the South.

Page 99 - "It was the recruiting efforts of the regiments themselves which enabled the Army to maintain itself. Without the replacements obtained by the veteran regiments, more units would have been consolidated or broken up."

This was followed by the call by Lincoln for 300,000 volunteers on October 17, 1863 "for the various companies and regiments in the field from their respective States."

The book continues (page 100): "Reinforced by liberal Federal bounties - $402 for veterans, $302 for raw recruits - this and a subsequent call produced a steady, if inadequate and poorly distributed, stream of replacements for the remainder of the war. The older regiments consistently showed a larger percentage of increase than those of later organizations. This was due to two factors: the older regiments were largely 'veteranized' in the winter of 1863-64, and thus, as will be seen, had a better chance to recruit; and, in the second place, it was the established policy of the office of The Provost Marshal General to channel replacements to the regiments enlisted in 1861."

Page 102 - "Thus the largest number of recruits [for Michigan] were assigned to the first 16 infantry regiments, which were mustered into service in 1861. In Wisconsin, the largest percentage of the recruits and almost all of the drafted men and substitutes went to the 19 regiments recruited under the call of 1861."

As regards training (page 102): "In general, in spite of Congressional appropriation for large sums for 'collecting, drilling, and organizing volunteers,' most of the Volunteer replacements as well as drafted men and substitutes were sent to their regiments with little or no training. It was the constant theme of commanding officers that men became soldiers quicker by coming in contact with the veterans than they could in a camp of instruction......On occasion, some training was provided after the recruit had joined his regiment. In April 1864, an expenditure of ammunition was authorized in the Army of the Potomac to familiarize the men with their arms, and corps commanders were directed to see that this instruction was carried out under the personal supervision of the company officers." This did not always work, however, and some Corps commanders complained about soldiers being detailed for special duty rather than drilled.

As regards the draft (page 103): "With the inauguration of the draft in July 1863, camps were established in each State for the accommodation of the draftees and their substitutes. When the time came to forward them to their regiments, details from the regiments were made and sent north to collect the men. It soon developed, however, that this system was impracticable. The character of many of the draftees and a large proportion of the substitutes was such that the detail of 3 officers and 6 enlisted men from each regiment proved to be inadequate guard." The book then describes the experience of Frank Wilkeson.

Regiments did their own recruiting through the winter of 1863-64 while the States began to put together better means of forwarding recruits to old regiments. Camps of distribution were created and recruits were sent to these camps by each state under heavy guard, often by the Veteran Reserve Corps. Then, still under guard but furnished by the army in question, they went to their regiments. For the Army of the Potomac, the Camp of Distribution was in Alexandria, VA. For the Western Theater armies, it was Cairo, ILL. Intermediate depots were established as the 1864 campaigns kicked off. It was not until the late summer and early fall of 1864 that replacements were sent to the front in large numbers by the government rather than by efforts of the regiments themselves.

Most important for replacement purposes in the winter of 1863-64 was the reenlistment process of the veterans of 1861-1863. If 3/4 of a regiment or company reenlisted, it would be furloughed home for at least 30 days to reorganize and recruit. What exactly constituted 3/4 of the men was kept rather liberal, such that the War Department allowed it to mean, as the book describes on page 110, "three-fourths of the men actually present within the limits of that army in which the organization was serving. Such a ruling was necessary, for in the vast majority of cases the number actually present did not exceed one-third to one-half those borne on the regimental rolls."

The book goes on (page 111): "The return of the veteran regiments to their homes on furlough also was instrumental in stimulating recruiting. Many regiments were relatively successful in filling their ranks during the month which they spent in the North. For example, the 10th New York Cavalry recruited 250 men during its absence from the Army of the Potomac. Through 31 March, 33 regiments of infantry, 5 of cavalry, and 10 batteries of artillery returning from veteran furlough to the Army of the Cumberland brought with them a total of 5,429 recruits. If the 10 batteries of artillery are considered as a regiment, this would be an average of 139 recruits per regiment, a not inconsiderable addition to the strength of the army."

I still wonder how exactly this all played out. Did regiments travel from town to town setting up recruitment booths during the winter of 1863-64? Did officers bounce around to get troops? If a man decided in 1863 or 1864 that he wanted to enlist but there was no regiment in town, where did he go?
 

Taylin

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#3
If a man decided in 1863 or 1864 that he wanted to enlist but there was no regiment in town, where did he go?
There were advertisements for enlistment for one regiment or another in just about every issue of every newspaper in every town / county. Regiments that were veteranized would typically be welcomed home to their state and have a celebration of sorts, speeches and dinner, all that stuff. After all that most the most men would spend the rest of furlough home with their family while a select amount of men did some recruiting for the regiment. I'm basing this off of what I've read in the papers and I've spent quite a while browsing them.

You see a lot of "Officer from Regiment is in town on recruiting duty" A lot of the time I believe it would be an CO or NCO who was wounded and while recovering would be on recruiting duty. There was a number of men wounded in the battle of Shiloh for example who would find themselves in an Evansville, Indiana Hospital for a while and could likely receive orders to do so if able.
 
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#4
I have seen some references to volunteer regiments sending officers home to recruit new soldiers or regiments on furlough getting new recruits. Can anyone shed more light on how the replacement system (for lack of a better term) worked during the Civil War? Was each regiment left to its own devices or was there a national system in place? What was the role of the bounty system for finding replacements?
In the book " Lincoln's Loyalists Union Soldiers from the Confederacy" Richard Current North East University Press Current discussed Union regiments recruiting Southern whites. The 20th Indiana and the 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry would be major examples.
Leftyhunter
 
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