Union Draft Records
Union Draft Records
By 1863 it became necessary for the federal government to enroll and draft men into the Army. The Conscription Act declared that men between the ages of 20 and 45 were eligible for duty. Aliens who had filed their declaration of intention to become citizens were also eligible. The draft lasted until 1865, when the war ended.
Who was subject to the draft:
- All males between 20 and 45 were subjected to the draft.
Who was exempt:
- Men who were mentally or physically impaired
- The only son of a widow
- The son of infirm parents
- A widower with dependent children
note: A few paid a substitute to serve for them. (The going price was around $300, but quickly went to $1,100 or more.)
Consolidated Enrollment Lists
The "Consolidated Enrollment Lists, compiled 1863 - 1865" 620 volumes (National Archives Catalog ID: 4213514 / MLR Number NM-65 172) consist of registers of men eligible for the draft.
The consolidated lists are arranged by state, then by congressional district, and then alphabetically by the first letter of the surname. The lists give name, place of residence, age as of 1 July 1863, occupation, marital status, place of birth, and former military service.
The records were divided into three parts, or classes:
- Class I - men 20-35 subject to military duty and unmarried men 36-44 subject to military duty.
- Class II - married men 36-44.
- Class III - volunteers.
Other titles for this collection:
- "Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registrations, 1863-1865"
- "Draft Enrollment Registers"
Determining Congressional District:
Determining the congressional district in which a person lived can be helpful when searching the records, especially in cases where the persons name is very common. The following lists Civil War era congressional districts outlining which counties were located in which districts:
- "Congressional Directory for the Second Session of the Thirty‑eighth Congress of the United States of America" 1865 (FHL 973 E4uc 1865; film 1425543 item 6.) This is arranged alphabetically by state, then by Congressional district. The counties are included in each district.
Where to Find the Records
- U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 (Ancestry) ($)
There are also some case files on drafted aliens in National Archives Record Group 59, General Records of the Department of State. These are arranged alphabetically and include name, age, district from which drafted, country of citizenship, and length of residence in the United States.
These are arranged the same as the Consolidated Lists and include a physical description of the enrollee, birthplace, and whether accepted or rejected for service.
Civil War draft or enrollment records are discussed in:
- Meier, Michael T. "Genealogy Notes: Civil War Draft Records: Exemptions and Enrollments," Prologue, Quarterly of the National Archives 26:1 (Spring 1994) FHL 973 B2p.
- Meier, Michael T. “ Civil War Draft Records: Exemptions and Enrollments.” Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives 26. (Winter 1994): 282–86. FHL 973 B2p