Browsing "Lincoln’s Patriots"

Grant Abandons His Suffering Prisoners

Northern authorities reported in May 1864 that Grant had 141,160 effective troops and a reserve of 137,672 men arrayed against General Robert E. Lee’s ragged force of 50,000 with little or no reserve. Though speaking of humanity regarding prisoners, Grant revealed no moral dilemma in hurling his limitless supply of recruits in suicidal charges – losing the equivalent of Lee’s full strength at the Wilderness.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Grant Abandons His Suffering Prisoners

“Jefferson Davis made several proposals for the exchange of prisoners, but his plea met deaf ears in the North. Grant, who had paroled 29,000 Confederate prisoners at Vicksburg on their word alone, did a turnabout on Davis’ question and was heartily opposed. During the mid-summer of 1864 Grant wrote an indirect reply to Davis:

“On the subject of exchange of prisoners, however, I differ from General [E.A.] Hitchcock. It is hard on our men held in Southern prisons not to exchange them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks to fight our battles. Every man released on parole, or otherwise, becomes an active soldier against us at once either directly or indirectly. If we commence a system of exchange, which liberates all prisoners taken, we will have to fight on until the whole South is exterminated. If we hold on to those caught, they amount to no more than dead men. At this particular time to release all rebel prisoners North would insure Sherman’s defeat, and would compromise our safety here.”

As it appeared to Davis, able-bodied prisoners need not be exchanged. To relieve the Confederacy of the responsibility of taking care of the sick and wounded prisoners, Davis offered to return without equivalents, 15,000 sick and badly wounded prisoners at an arranged meeting place at . . . the Savannah River. This offer would stand if transportation were supplied by the North.

In the meantime pictures by the Confederate photographers of the conditions at Andersonville were sent to the Northern government to stimulate action on Davis’ proposal. An eyewitness to the taking of these photographs was a soldier of the North . . . [who] wrote: “I was a prisoner of war in that place during the summer of 1864 and I well remember seeing a photographer with his camera in one of the sentinel boxes near the south gate during July or August . . . I have often wondered in later years what success this photographer had and why the [Northern] public never had the opportunity of seeing a genuine photograph of Andersonville.”

The pictures were sent to Washington. Who received them, or for what purpose they were to be used, was never made public. There is no record of them in Northern journals. But that they were used is indicated by Jefferson Davis who in writing about the incident states:

“The photographs were terrible indeed, but the misery they portrayed was surpassed by some of those we received in exchange in Savannah. Why was this delay between summer and November in sending vessels for sick and wounded, for whom no equivalents were asked? Were the Federal prisoners left to suffer, and afterward photographed to aid in firing the popular heart of the North?”

(Mr. Lincoln’s Camera Man: Matthew B. Brady, Roy Meredith, Dover Publications, 1974, pp. 187-188)

Exalting a Piratical and Murderous Fanatic

John Brown has been described by author Otto Scott (The Secret Six) as a political assassin, one who murders in order to attract attention and who would “incite and terrify as many people as possible.”  Brown was a fanatic who used terror to force a new political pattern of his choosing, cared little of the carnage he was instigating,  and won praise from Northern journalists who declared him a hero of the people.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Exalting a Piratical and Murderous Fanatic

“When the State of Virginia seceded from the Union on the 17th day of April, 1861, most of her citizens, belonging to the United States Navy, resigned their commissions and offered their services to the State of their birth. [I]t was believed by many persons that a large party at the North would oppose the prosecution of a war of subjugation.

It will be remembered . . . how strong had been the party opposed to secession in the Convention then in session at Richmond . . . [but] The call upon Virginia, by President Lincoln for her quota of troops to aid in subjugating the South, had settled the question [and] she became a member of the Confederacy.

I had visited, some months previous to the secession of the State, many of the little villages in New England, where I saw that the population [was] in terrible earnest. “Wide awake,” and other secret societies were organized; and inflammatory harangues aroused the populace. The favorite theme of the orators was the “martyrdom” of John Brown; the piratical and murderous raid of that fanatic into the State of Virginia being exalted into a praiseworthy act of heroism.

When I returned to Virginia and contrasted the apparent apathy and want of preparation there with the state of affairs at the North, I trembled for the result. Volunteers responded with alacrity to the call to defend the State from invasion; and none responded more readily, or served more bravely, than those who had opposed secession in the Convention.

It seems invidious to cite particular examples; but the “noblest Trojan of them all”  will point a moral, and serve as an exemplar for generations to come. Wise in council, eloquent in debate, bravest and coolest among the brave in battle, and faithful to his convictions in adversity, he still lives to denounce falsehood and wrong. Truly the old hero, in all he says and does, “gives the world assurance of a man.” — I allude to General J. A. Early.”

(Narrative of a Blockade Runner, John Wilkinson, Valde Books, 2009, pp. 3-5)

Charles A. Dana, Carefree Socialist

Charles A. Dana, who might be termed a hippie of the 1840’s, lived for a period at George Ripley’s Transcendentalist “Brook Farm” commune in Massachusetts. New York Tribune publisher Horace Greeley later employed Dana as an editor in the 1850’s who gladly published the radical articles of Karl Marx, then exiled in London. Lincoln-appointed Dana Assistant Secretary of War and had him spy on generals to ascertain their political leanings — in 1865 Dana ordered manacles placed on state prisoner Jefferson Davis’s wrists.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Charles A. Dana, Carefree Socialist

“[Charles A.] Dana, though poor, had no such hardening time of it [growing up]; he had no “riding to plough,” no tree chopping, no printer’s apprentice job. He clerked in Buffalo to save money for a term at Harvard. Opinions formed during such a youth gave way easily before the experience of later years. In their boyhood the one thing that he and [Horace] Greeley had in common was an intense fondness for reading — Greeley for the country weeklies and for any book he could borrow. Dana plumbed deeper; he was absorbed in the ancient philosophies and languages.

Both resented the oppressions of capital. The breeding ground of Dana’s socialism was Harvard — “where I learned the art of living without means” — and the lectures of Emerson. “They make me think,” he wrote to his sister.

Dana’s father dreaded what Emerson, Carlyle and particularly Harvard might do to his boy. “I know Harvard ranks high as a literary institution,” he wrote to him, “but the influence it exerts in a religious way is most terrible — even worse than Universalism . . . Ponder well the paths of thy feet lest they lead down to the depths of Hell.”

From his sister’s home at Guildhall, Vermont, Dana on April 12, 1840, told of his carefree life . . . ”here I study 8 hours daily. I am fed, warmed, lighted and otherwise cared for, for about nothing — perhaps a dollar a week — taken unwillingly.” Because of poor eyes, poor health and a poorer purse Dana did not return to Harvard for the fall term of 1841 . . . ”So genial Harvard is, and where but for the term bills and washerwomen one would never guess that there were such things as money and money-getting  in the world. Indeed I hold it an evidence of human depravity that there are such things . . . ”

The Brook Farm [commune] atmosphere therefore precisely fitted his mood. Contentedly he wrote his sister from there on September 17, 1841: “I am living with some friends who have associated themselves together for the purpose of living purely and of acting from higher motives than the world generally recognizes . . . ”

(Horace Greeley, Henry Luther Stoddard, G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1946, pp. 101-102)

 

Case for an Educated Postwar Black Debated

Radical Republican political hegemony in the postwar South depended upon the freedmen casting votes, despite their illiteracy and lack of education and experience in a republican form of government. These Republicans formed Union and Loyal Leagues in the South that would teach the freedmen to hate their white neighbors, vote against their interests, and cause irreparable racial wounds which remain today.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Case for an Educated Postwar Black Electorate Debated:

“Chaplain Noble, who conducted literacy classes for the enlisted men of the 128th United States Colored Troops in Beaufort (an infantry of ex-slaves), related the outcome of a debate he arranged to “enliven” the class. The question was whether Negroes should be given immediate suffrage or whether they should learn to read first, with “the more intelligent” of the class clearly favoring the latter position “on the ground that you ought never to undertake a job unless you know how to do it.”

But those who learned less easily were in favor of immediate suffrage. One of the speakers — a black thick-lipped orator — commenced his speech as follows:

“de chaplain say we can learn to read in short time. Now dat may de with dem who are mo’ ready. God hasn’t made all of us alike. P’rhaps some will get an eddication in a little while. I knows de next generation will. We hasn’t had no chance at all. De most of us are slow and dull. Dere fo’ Mr. Chaplain, I tink we better not wait for eddication.”

Whether because of the potential logic of universal suffrage for the illiterate black majority, or because the difficulties of the chaplain’s lessons made suffrage based on literacy seem rather remote for some of the slow learners, the speaker’s sagacity brought decisive nods of approval from the majority of the audience.”

(Black Over White, Negro Political Leadership in South Carolina During Reconstruction, Thomas Holt, University of Illinois Press, 1977, pg. 34)

 

 

The North's Damnable Bounty System

The Northern enlistment bounty system was notorious for corruption and graft as State agents from the North swarmed into the occupied South regions to obtain Negroes captured from plantations to fill State troop quotas. Seizing slaves in the South accomplished two goals: one, depriving the South of agricultural laborers, and two, obtaining new recruits to fill State quotas and avoid Lincoln’s conscription threat which would draft white Northern men. Predictably, much of the enlistment bonus for the new recruit remained in the agent’s hands.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

The North’s Damnable Bounty System

“Ulysses S. Grant, general in chief of the Union armies, “was down on the Massachusetts idea of buying out of the draft by filling their quota . . . from among the [Negro] contrabands in Sherman’s army.” When Forbes defended the law, Grant answered that “Sherman’s head is level on that question. He knows he can get all these Negroes that are worth having anyhow and he prefers to get them that way rather than fill up the quota of a distant State and thus diminish the fruits of the draft.

General Lorenzo Thomas, charged by the federal government with raising Negro troops in the Mississippi Valley, complained that [State] agents were inducing soldiers of several Negro regiments stationed at Vicksburg to desert and enlist with them. General Napoleon J.T. Dana, commander of the military district of Vicksburg, charged that the agents were taking “diseased men, entirely unfit for the service.”

John C. Gray, a young officer from the Bay State, expressed horror at the way in which agents from Massachusetts implemented the [quota] law and asserted that such a system of recruitment brought the State “contempt and sneers.” According to Gray, “this traffic of New England towns in the bodies of wretched Negroes, bidding against each other for these miserable beings, who are deluded, and if some of my affidavits that I have in my office are true, tortured into military service, forms too good a justification against the Yankees.”

Albert Gallatin Browne, a former aid of Governor Andrew who was a Treasury agent at Hilton Head, South Carolina, also questioned the benefit that his home State received from the [troop quota] law. According to Browne, “The whole system is damnable. I can conceive of nothing worse on the coast of Africa. These men have been hunted like wild beasts and ruthlessly dragged from their families.” He informed Andrew that the men enlisted by Massachusetts agents got only a fraction of the [bounty] money promised them, the agents pocketing the remainder.”

(Cotton and Capital, Richard H. Abbott, UMass Press, 1991, page 135)

 

Filling Lincoln's Regiments by Whatever Means Necessary

Canada was a source of many recruits for Lincoln’s army and his military agents used devious means with which to obtain enlistments. Illegally accepting a US Army commission and emoluments, British Col. (and Canadian Parliament member) Arthur Rankin tried to raise a regiment of Canadians by advertising for “farm laborers and stablemen” to go to Detroit with him. A violation of the Neutrality Act, he was arrested and dismissed from service.  Author Adam Mayer’s book “Dixie and the Dominion is highly recommended for further reading.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Filling Lincoln’s Regiments by Whatever Means Necessary

“John Allison was a slightly built, blond-haired boy of 15, whose only mistake was to talk to a stranger. One evening in July 1864, as Allison walked home for supper in the Canadian border town of Niagara Falls, a man stopped him and asked for directions. A shadow flitted across his face, a pungent odor filled his nostrils, and, as he would later tell his rescuer, “I became insensible.”

He regained consciousness to find himself facing an involuntary three-year hitch in the U.S. Navy. The youth had fallen victim to “crimps,” agents who made a living providing recruits to the [Northern] armies and navies. Ella Lonn, who in the 1940s and 1950s published landmark works of foreigners in Confederate and Union military service, called the work of the crimps and their customers “the worst scandal of the war.”

Seven days after the kidnapping, Allison’s name appeared in the Buffalo, New York, newspaper as having been mustered into the U.S. Navy. The British consul in Buffalo, a Mr. Donohue, reported the incident to Lord Richard Lyons, British Ambassador to the United States, calling the case one of the most heartless outrages” of its kind that he had ever seen.

He eventually found the boy in Sandusky, Ohio, some 350 miles from home, swabbing the decks aboard the gunboat USS Michigan. Donohue secured Allison’s release, took custody of him, and saw that he was returned home.

“The question arises whether British youths of less than 16 are to be enticed from their homes and enlisted into the military service of the US by officers who must be well-aware of what they are doing,” Donohue wrote to Lyons after July 25, 1864. “How many of these are drugged and brought over to this side it may be impossible to say. But a regular system is now organized by which men are passed over the frontier and kept stupefied with liquor until they enlist. I have no doubt whatsoever.”

Allison was one of perhaps a thousand victims of a dangerous and illegal cross-border trade in recruits for the Union army and navy. At the time of hi kidnapping in mid-1864, the trade was reaching its peak. Organized teams of crimps were based in Detroit, and in Buffalo and other points in upper New York State. They worked the Canadian side of the border, snatching boys off streets and pulling drunks from local bars. By whatever means necessary – coercion, mugging, alcohol, or potent drugs – the crimps harvested their victims, then bundled them into carriages or waiting boats and moved them across the nearest border.”

The unlawful traffic in human beings kept US-Canadian relations tense . . . and a secret Canadian police force was formed to combat it.”

(Stolen Soldiers, Adam Mayers, Civil War Times Illustrated, May/June 1995, pp. 56-57)

Jan 4, 2015 - Lincoln's Patriots    No Comments

Lincoln's German Patriots

Keenly aware of German immigrant political power in Illinois, Lincoln secretly purchased the Springfield Staats-Zeitung in 1859 to help further his electoral chances. The influential “Forty-Eighter” element of the German immigrants were radical reformers and revolutionaries determined to remake the world, and bringing forth the millennium. This element proved useful in Lincoln’s future need for troops, though few if any understood the American form of government.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Lincoln’s German Patriots

“The Federal hosts were . . . not recruited from one continent alone. The speech of almost every European nation might have been heard in the camps of the Army of the Potomac. There were brigades of Irish and divisions of Germans. There were those who had fought with the Red Shirts of Garibaldi, and some who had followed Kossuth into rebellion . . . [and Canadians].

The call to war issued from Washington gathered under one flag a motley assemblage. Motivated . . . by honor, by a desire for emoluments, (including the promised bounties), or by sheer love of adventure, the soldiers came – patriot (whether native or foreign) and hireling, foreign prince, knight-errant, and soldier of fortune – to range themselves under the Stars and Stripes.

It was such a cosmopolitan assemblage, of Germans and Irishmen, of Frenchmen and Italians, of Poles and Scandinavians, of Hungarians and Dutchmen, as had ever been gathered together since the Thirty Years’ War.

In New York City alone, thousands of Germans tendered their services at the firing of the first gun on Fort Sumter. During the war there went out from New York ten almost solidly German regiments: three regiments in which one-half or more were of that nationality, five German artillery batteries, and two cavalry regiments in which fully one-half the men were Germans.

The ten purely German regiments, with two others more than one-half German, were all organized in 1861, the first six under Lincoln’s first call. In addition the Fifth New York Militia . . . was one of the first to leave New York under Colonel Christian Schwarzwalder for the defense of the capital.

All told, there were 1,046 men in the Eighth Regiment, known also as the First German Rifles, commanded by that picturesque semi-soldier of fortune, General Louis Blenker. Although the lieutenant color sergeant of the regiment was Hungarian, and several other nationalities were scantily represented in the ranks, this might be termed an “echt” (genuine) German regiment.

Few of the German regiments enlisted more attention that the De Kalb Regiment, or the Forty-first New York . . . [which] received material help from R.A. Witthaus, a patriotic and wealthy German citizen. About 700 of its 1,040 members, as well as its commander, had fought in the Prussian Army against the Danes in 1848-1849; and 23 of its 33 officers were veterans who had seen service in European campaigns.”

(Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy, Ella Lonn, LSU Press, 1951, pp. 93-96)

The Brahmin Aristocracy Must Save the Union

Frances Parkman was a militant New England war hawk who disliked the black man but considered the Boston aristocracy superior to the Southern leadership, though it must emulate the military expertise exhibited by Southern men. The Brahmin class may have indeed been tested by the battles Parkman lists, but they were no great victories. At Ball’s Bluff, Northern scouts mistook a row of trees as Confederate tents, and the 17th Mississippi delivered the Brahmin’s a severe thrashing when their regiments later assaulted the “encampment.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

The Brahmin Aristocracy Must Save the Union

“Parkman had always detested the abolitionists, and he had little concern for the Negro, but he was [Robert Gould] Shaw’s cousin, and he took great pride in later years pointing this out to distant correspondents. One suspects, however, that he was almost ashamed that Shaw led Negroes [of the 54th Massachusetts], since he never mentioned this fact.

[In] two letters [of November 1862], he further developed the odd propaganda line that the best way to whip the South was to emulate certain aspects of its civilization. He went from praising the military education of the Southern aristocrat to praising his political education. Compared to the North, where an “organized scramble of mean men for petty spoils” had driven the better elements from politics, the South had made politics “a battleground” for the well-born, “where passion, self-interest, self-preservation, urge to [the most intense] action every power of their nature.” This explained “the vigor of their development.”

By comparison, the education of Northern gentlemen had been too academic. Now, however, the war was altering the picture. The South, which had identified the North with three classes: the merchants, the politicians and the “abolitionist agitators” and therefore, with “extravagance, fanaticism and obstreperous weakness,” was learning how, “under a surface of froth and scum, the great national heart still beat with the pulsations of patriotic manhood.” In other words, they underestimated the ability of the Northern gentry to adapt to military life.

It was in his letter of July 21, 1863, published only three days after the death of [Col. Robert G.] Shaw, that Parkman revealed most fully what was really on his mind. Repeating his charge that “the culture of the nation” had become a “political nullity,” Parkman referred specifically to the “Brahmin cast”, which had “yielded a progeny of gentlemen and scholars since the days of the Puritans,” but had “long since ceased to play any active part in the dusty arena of political turmoil.”

This class, however, had at last found an outlet for its energies. Brahmins had been tested in battle at places like Ball’s Bluff, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg and removed all doubts about their vigor and character. Pointing to the “necrology” of Harvard University” as an example to the nation, Parkman clearly suggested that the American people had no further excuse for rejecting the political and social authority of what was now a tried and true aristocracy. Perhaps a patrician could finally say that the age of “ultra-democratic fallacies” was coming to an end.

There were very genteel New Englanders who professed to see the war as a vindication of democracy and egalitarianism. Charles Eliot Norton and others claimed that their wavering belief in democracy had been revived by the proofs of obedience and endurance shown by the common people and by the Negroes in the struggle.

It depended on the preservation of the model which had been suggested by the assault on Fort Wagner. If the “inferior elements,” whether Negro or white, consented to be led by “the best culture [of aristocratic New England],” then their rights were assured; if however, they struck out in directions of their own, democracy and equality might again be questioned.”

(The Inner Civil War, Northern Intellectuals and the Crisis of the Union, George M. Frederickson, Harper & Row, 1965, pp. 161-165)

Jan 2, 2015 - Lincoln's Patriots    No Comments

Money to Fill New York Regiments

Americans in the South fought primarily for family, hearth and State, in sharp contrast to those in the North who required strong financial incentives after casualties mounted. From the time of the Northern draft of 1863 to the conclusion of the war, the Northern States, counties, cities and towns paid over $286 million; the Northern government itself paid out more than $300 million – and with substitute fees paid the total of all would be at least $750 million.  This would have paid for the emancipation of every slave several times over, and saved the lives of a million Americans.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Money to Fill New York Regiments:

“At the outbreak of the war, New York had four million people, and during the course of the war it furnished the equivalent of 400,000 three-year enlistments to the armed forces. This represented about seventeen per cent of the total northern enlistment and was in proportion to the state population.

Before the war ended, 40,000 New Yorker’s gave their lives to the enterprise. It is interesting to keep in mind that thirty per cent of New York enlistees were foreign-born:  40,000 came from Ireland, 41,000 from Germany, over 12,000 from England, 12,000 were Canadian, 3600 from France, 2000 from Wales, and 2000 from Switzerland. On top of this, 5000 Negroes were in New York regiments.”

In the conscription activity of 1863, the Republican-organ Oswego (New York) Times emphasized the material benefits which would accrue to those possessing the “lucky draft numbers.” A US Bounty of $102, State Bounty of $100, City Bounty of $300 (if offered as the Mayor suggested); Total of $502.00.  Then one year at $13. per month, one year’s service totaling $156.  “$658 or almost $2. per day! Soldiering will be the best business for the future.”

On August 4 [1863] the draft came to Oswego. While most draftees accepted the [conscription] law . . . the Times reported that some were applying to the British Vice Consul for papers giving them protection as aliens. A few were said to be “skedaddling” across the Canadian border.  The Times noted also, that the draft had developed an extraordinary number of sharks in the area. “Several half-starved lawyers, who don’t often get any business, have been taking advantage of the anxiety of drafted men to become exempt, to charge the most exorbitant rates for their services in making out the necessary papers.”

A year later a second draft stared Oswegonians in the face. It might be avoided, of course, if the quota could be raised by enlistment; but for a time the latter lagged. Groping for a solution an imaginative group of twenty-five men sent the local recruiting agents, E.B. Burt and A.B. Getty to Newport News, Virginia, in a military district occupied by Federal troops under General Benjamin Butler, for the purpose of procuring substitutes among the freedmen; expecting, it is assumed, that they could be hired cheaply.

The agents wrote that they found a few substitutes, though the place was filled with bounty-jumpers, but that General Butler had issued an order prohibiting the removal of freedmen from the district; that they would therefore try to enlist them [freedmen] as part of the Oswego quota, provided the city would pay the bounties required.  The City Council quickly voted bounties up to $300, including the agents’ fees, but the project fizzled and the agents returned home empty handed.

The Times writer considered this scheme quite ingenious until he discovered that Jefferson County [New York] was trying the same experiment.   As has been seen, when enlistments lagged, bounties served as a stimulant. As early as July 1862, the State was offering $50 and the County [Oswego] an additional $50, By January 1864, the County was paying $300 bounties, and by December, 1864, the sum was increased to $300 for one year, $500 for two years, and $700 for three years.

Meanwhile, the Federal government had increased its offer to $300. Thus a volunteer might pick up $1000 if he had patience to wait for the installments; this, when laborers wages were about one dollar per day! To those who remained hesitant, the Mexico [New York] Independent offered the happy thought that the war would not last long, and they might never fire a gun or draw a sword.”

(New York State in the Civil War, Robert J. Rayback, New York State Historical Association, 1961, pp. 69-70; Oswego Counties Response to the Civil War, Charles M. Snyder, New York State Historical Association, 1961, pp. 81-84)

Jan 2, 2015 - Lincoln's Patriots    No Comments

Millions for Bounties But Not Emancipation

The  Northern States were quite willing to raise millions of dollars for bounty-enriched mercenaries to subdue the American South, but never advanced a compensated emancipation plan to free the slaves — assuming that emancipation was the desired result.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Millions for Bounties But Not Emancipation

“It is very well known that the Northern people were so averse to military service that enlistments were, in most cases, procured by high bounties. When the Central Government began to draw imperative requisitions of men on the States, the local authorities, instead of simply drafting the required numbers from among their own militia, almost universally made arrangements for purchasing mercenaries to supply their “quotas;” thus relieving their own citizens from the dreaded service.

The price usually paid, towards the end for the human cattle for Confederate shambles, was not less than fifteen hundred dollars each. A sorry commentary by the way, upon the courage and patriotism of that people, that so large a bribe was needed to persuade them to “save the nation.” But thus it came to pass that not only the States, but cities, counties, country towns, and even the rural subdivisions called, among the people, townships, raised loans. Laws were passed to authorize them to make such loans, and to levy taxes necessary to provide for their interest.

The aggregate of these bounty-debts cannot be estimated by us from any evidences in our reach; but some data will be given to enable the reader to approximate it. The city of Philadelphia alone, it is believed, owes a debt of forty-four millions ($44,000,000) chiefly for bounties. It was a very “loyal” city. It claims about six hundred thousand (600,000) souls. The State of New York admits a bounty-debt of its own of $26 millions. But cities, counties and townships, within the State have also their own little debts for this and similar objects in addition.

A few other items may aid in our approximation. The federal Secretary of War informs us that in the latter part of the war there were 136,000 re-enlistments of the veterans honorably discharged. It is well known that these usually received the highest bounties. If we place them at fifteen hundred dollars ($1500) each, these cost the Northern people two hundred four millions ($204,000,000). The system of bounties was general from May 1863 until the end of the war.

The government itself fixed the minimum price of a man at $300 by appointing that sum as the cost of an exemption from the draft. But it is well known that few substitutes were purchased at so cheap a rate. The Secretary of War informs us that after May 1, 1863, there were one million six hundred thirty four thousand (1,634,000) enlistments. Placing the cost of each of these enlistments at three hundred dollars ($300), which is far below the average bounty, somebody had to pay for them four hundred ninety millions ($490,000,000).

The “bounty jumpers” as it is well known perpetrated immense frauds; and the number of bounties paid to them was far larger than that of the enlistments. The interest and principal of it (the debt) must be paid by the same people who have the federal debt to pay. If the policy pursued by the Government as to the local obligations incurred in the war of the Revolution is again to prevail, all these bounty-debts should be assumed and funded by the United States. Already this claim is heard in many quarters.

The recognized State and federal debts as we have seen, amount to three billion, four hundred forty three million dollars ($3,443,195,000).  It is most manifest, that the total mass of public debt now resting on the American people (nearly the whole incurred in the late war) for the payment of which provision must be made by taxation, must be at least four billions of dollars ($4,000,000,000).

Mr. Andrew Johnson, late president of the United States and an ardent advocate for the war, always affirmed constantly that the total cost of the war to the taxpayers would prove to be five billions ($5,000,000,000). He, of course, is good authority. And the interest on this debt is from 5 to 7 and one-fifth per centum!”

(Robert L. Dabney, Discussions, Volume IV, Secular, C.R. Vaughn, editor, Sprinkle Publications, 1897/1994, pp. 143-145)