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    [Union] Great Letter Denouncing "Substitutions" and How Soldiers View Lincoln's Re-Election Bid! Autograph Letter Signed, seemingly from a journalist named "Henry", 4 pages, recto and verso, 5" by 8", Before Petersburg, Va., September 19, 1864; to "Dear Mother." In fine condition. When Congress passed the Conscription Act in March 1863, it allowed draftees to pay a commutation tax to avoid service: for $300, one could hire a substitute. This practice led, not surprisingly, to charges that the system made for "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight." Here, in part, is a rousing condemnation of this Northern practice (the South disallowed it in '63) and, too, a savvy assessment of the troops' support of Lincoln."...I am pitched into for my talk about substitutes... The whole substitute business is a work of infancy, mean, cowardly, traitorous, vile, criminal. It has prolonged the war. It has caused the death of thousands of bravest of the brave... That really good men are engaged in or approve this disgraceful business only shows that the polluting influences of the shoddy and political elements of the present Northern society have vitiated the whole... Soldiers thank me warmly for what I wrote. Soldiers' friends from the North write to me in gratitude... Politics look bad. The soldiers will vote for Lincoln because they will not vote down the war... A vast majority of the soldiers abominate Lincoln's policy, but as the single alternative tendered them is a disgraceful surrender to the foes they are fighting, they will not hesitate to vote for the only war candidate." From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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