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June 2, 1863: Demonstrations grow over new 'draft'

Jun. 2, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — It has now been three months since the United States adopted its first military draft and many throughout the Union are not happy about it.

Since the birth of the Nation, the military has been an all-volunteer force. But all that changed when the Enrollment Act was signed into law March 3.

All males between the ages of 20 and 45 were required to registered for the draft by April 1. For those selected for service, exemptions can be obtained by paying $300 or finding a substitute draftee.

“It’s become a rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight,” yelled one disgruntled draftee during a demonstration in New York. Tensions over the draft are growing so heated there that city officials are concerned riots may soon breakout.

The Confederate States already are one year into their national conscription effort and are not faring much better. All white males 18 to 45 years old have been declared members of the rebel army for a three-year enlistment, although younger or older substitutes can also be purchased as replacements.

“Just not right, some rich plantation owner can send a poor farm kid to fight this war for him,” said one Georgia infantryman.

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