Description

    Draft Quota for the State of New York Signed on the Final Day of the Battle of Gettysburg

    Abraham Lincoln Draft Document Signed. One partially printed page with integral blank, 7.75" x 9.75", Washington, July 3, 1863. After two years of fighting, volunteer enlistments into the Union army were dwindling. On March 3, 1863, the first conscription act, the Enrollment Act of 1863, made all men between the ages of twenty and forty-five liable for military service. The enlistment of draftees would officially begin on August 19, 1863.

    Signed on the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln is calling for an additional number of men to be conscripted for service, reading, in full: "I Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, and Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy thereof, having taken into consideration the number of volunteers and militia furnished by and from the several States, including the State of New York, and the period of service of said volunteers and militia since the commencement of the present rebellion, in order to equalize the numbers amongst the Districts of the said States, and having considered and allowed for the number already furnished as aforesaid, and the time of their service aforesaid, do hereby assign one thousand Eight Hundred and sixty-seven as the first proportional part of the quota of troops to be furnished by the 29th District of the State of New York under this, the first call made by me on the State of New York, under the act approved March 3, 17863, entitled 'An Act for Enrolling and calling out the National Forces and or other purposes,' and, in pursuance of the act aforesaid, I order that a draft be made in the said 29th District of the State of New York for the number of men herein assigned to said District, and Fifty Per Cent. In Addition." Lincoln's signature is bold and very bright. Aside from some light toning at the edges, this is in fine condition.

    It was this act of Congress, that when enforced in the city of New York, through the drawing of numbers for the draft, on July 13, 1863, ten days after the signing of the above document, led to three days of rioting and civil unrest involving approximately 50,000 people, and causing untold damage to the city. The unrest stemmed from the practice of "substituting", where anyone with $300 could avoid service, thus excluding the wealthy from duty. The draft call brought these class resentments to the surface in a most dramatic fashion, culminating in the deaths of over one hundred civilians. Troops had to be rushed from Gettysburg to quell the violence.

    The remainder of the month passed without incident, but displeasure with the upcoming draft was growing in New York. In August 1863, Major General A. Dix began to fear that riots would break out again. He requested 10,000 federal troops and suggested the propriety of calling out the state militia. The situation was so critical that President Lincoln signed a proclamation to be used by Dix "in case of any necessity arising from the employment of military force to overcome unlawful combinations against the authority of the General Government in executing the Act of Congress to enroll and call out the National force." On August 19, the draft was resumed in New York. It lasted ten days with no problems.

    Provenance: Forbes Collection, 2002.




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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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