Civil War Draft Poster

Civil War - The Draft

Both the North and the South used a draft during the Civil War. Wealthier men could avoid the draft by paying $300 for a substitute to go in their place. Draftees were chosen by lottery. Counties had quotas that had to be filled with volunteers, and if the quota was not met then the county had to resort to the draft. During the war, a terrible riot broke out in New York City as many people there, especially the Irish, opposed being forced to serve in the war. Below is a partial list of men drafted in Tompkins County in July, 1863, just weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg.

137th infantry Newfield at Gettysburg Civil War Veterans
Martin Smith Capt. Joseph Gregg The Draft

Men drafted in Newfield:


Obed A. Seely
Myron F. Puff
David Kellogg, Jr.
Moses A. Trumble
James Mallory
Oliver Milliage
Martin F. Kellogg
George Hill
Judson Thompson
Alvah Jessup
Jackson Protts
Riley Chaffee
Jerome Bowers
Niram H. Brown
Miles Miller
Jashua Dassance
Jas Knickerbocker
Wm E. Farmer
Chas F Kellogg
Obey S. Dassance
Alvin T. F. Carpenter
Samuel Cavenaugh
Henry K Todd
Oliver Jessup
Levi Shaw
Daniel Odell
John Knickbock
Walter C. Myers


Leonard Beach
Charles Deuce
John P. Rumsey
Cornelius W Proots
Robert Alexander
Isaac B. Smith
Hartwell Ferguson
Daniel I. Fish
Stephen Dassance
Franklin D. Bishop
Charles M. Starr
Solomon S. Todd
William McCollum
Stephen J. Horton
Wm H Hartrauft
Henry Tutor
Oscar H. Osborn
John W. Beardsley
Henry Redner
Samuel Colegrove
William Alexander
John D. Bartlett
Chas McCorne
To. Knickerbocker
Isaac Estabrook
J.T. Kellogg
Stephen Dassance
Oliver Davenport


Moses D. Whitney
Aug S. Browne
Oliver Crawford
Wm Johnson
Wm Tracy
Geo E. Wise
Robert H. Hinkley
Geo Goldsmith
Zadoc Seely
Isaiah P. Royer
Gilbert Stamp
Edward Pierson
J. W. Spears
Hiram S. Brockwell
Andrew T. Truce
John F. Van
James B Rogers
Wm. McElroy
Geo W Armstrong
John McElroy
Jacob M. Boyce
Harvey L Ford
Hiram Dassance
Geo V Stamp
Bradley Truce
Wm B. Rodgors
Wm Osman


Men Drafted in Danby

Bradford C. Hallet
Jacob Ackerman
Milton H. Knapp
James Laine
Harvey Thornton
Palmer Montgomery
Levi L. Beers
William H. Swansbrough
Dewitt Allick
William E. Martin
Washington Little
James H. Sanford
Lewis Hill
John J. Miller
Benjamin D. Tripp
Abram Myers
Jacob Kennedy
Charles Bryant
Manual Martin
Luman Hugg
Elijah Jennings
Edward Brock
John Hillicker
Ensign Dorn
Reuben Swartwout
Wesley Dorn


William H. Wilcox
Isaac Vanorder
George Jones
Ervin Weed
John Q. Vanorman
Albert G. Taylor
Francis Dorn
Charles Eastman
Briggs Montgomery
Henry L. Gardner
Sylvester B. Dummond
James Jefferson
Oliver Seaman
Marcus A. Beers
John J. Sears
Harmon Little
Asa Button
Alvin Taggart
Lucian B. Beers
Hiram M. Daniels
John N. Gillett
Isaac B. Axford
Stephen Kennedy
Daniel Hayward
Joseph Grant

Source of drafted men: Ithaca Journal, July 29, 1863.

A payment of $300 could exempt a man from the draft. Some Ithaca men formed their own insurance plan to protect themselves:

"We understand there is a sort of “mutual protection society” got up among the young men liable to be drafted in this village, by which each member pays $50. Should any member of the association be drafted, then out of the fund thus formed, $300 will be paid to procure his exemption. Should so many be drafted that $50 first paid in fail to pay for them all, then, we suppose, an assessment would of necessity be made to supply the deficiency. This is both a feasible and an honorable arrangement for those who do not choose to serve if drafted, and the burden can thus be made to fall so lightly that very few will be unable to meet it."

Source: Ithaca Journal, July 22, 1863.

Efforts were made to appeal to the patriotism of local men to drum up enough volunteers that the draft could be avoided. One source explained the process:

"In the prosecution of the work of securing volunteers in the summer of 1862, a great war meeting was held in Ithaca on the 25th of July, at which many well known men made speeches. Under the then existing call for 300,000 men the quota for Ithaca was 83; for Dryden, and Groton, 92; for Enfield, Ulysses and Lansing, 92; for Newfield, Danby and Caroline, 84. Town committees were appointed to enroll all who were liable to draft, preparatory to the draft incident upon failure to fill the call of July 2, 1862. The quotas necessary to be raised to avoid the draft were as follows: Caroline, 72; Danby, 70; Dryden, 154; Enfield, 58; Groton, 110; Ithaca, 212; Lansing, 100; Newfield, 92; Ulysses, 104. Total, 972. Meetings were promptly held and a subscription started to raise a fund to pay each volunteer $100 bounty; nearly $15,000 were subscribed at once. This action had the desired effect, and was about the first of a series of measures for the payment of the liberal bounties that were afterwards given to the volunteers."

Source: John H. Selkreg, Landmarks of Tompkins County, 1894, p. 20.


Content provided by Gary Emerson