German immigrants became a staple of Lincoln’s army, comprising a full 25% of it by 1864. They made poor Jeffersonian Republicans as author Ella Lonn (Foreigners in the Union Army & Navy) relates that “many German had gone through the hard school of revolution in Europe [and thus] were opposed to the idea of “States’ rights.” The bounty system of the North gained recruits seeking money rather than patriotism which encouraged bounty-jumping; they fought men in the South defending their homes and country.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org The Great American Political Divide
Enlistment Bounties to Fill the Ranks
“I was born on the 16th day of November 1843 in Germany in the province of Brandenburg, district of Potsdam, Kreis (county) Prenzlau in the Uckermark. I emigrated with my parents (Philipp and Auguste Albertine Schultze Milleville) to this country in the year of 1847 and landed in Buffalo on the Fourth of July, 1847. My parents settled in Niagara County, N.Y. in the Town of Wheatfield in a German settlement called Neu Bergholz.
When I was 13-1/2 years old I was confirmed by Rev. Heinrich von Rohr. I was home till I was 16 years old, then I started to learn the tailor trade with a man by the name of Friedrich Parchart. I served my three years apprenticeship with him. All the cash money I had during the three years was 75 cents which I got from a political candidate for taking a letter to August Wolf at Wallmow.
In the spring of 1862 I went to the city of Buffalo to work at my trade, but there was a poor show for a country Jake. Then I got a job . . . but the boss was a drunkard. He would work all day Sunday, and Sunday night he would go to a saloon and sometimes he would not come home till Tuesday morning and his family would have to suffer. Of course, I did not stay there long.
Then I got a job at 32 Main Street by Jacob Metzger. There I stayed till I enlisted on the 20th day of January 1864. I got $300.00 Government Bounty, $75.00 State Bounty and $110.00 County Bounty. Of the Government Bounty, we got $50.00 every six months. The State and County Bounty we got right away. I enlisted in Co. I, 2nd New York Mounted Rifles. After I had been there a few days a fellow came and asked me to loan him my overcoat, he wanted to go to the city to buy tobacco. But he forgot to come back. I guess he was a Bounty jumper.”
(Civil War Diary of Gustave Herman Henry Milleville, Eugene Camann Collection, Historical Society of North German Settlements in Western New York, May-June 2011, pp. 7-8)