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Images of various examples of different exemptions granted from the draft, 1863.

During the Civil War despite a record numbers of volunteers Rhode Island was not immune to the draft. By the summer of 1863 the rush of enthusiastic young men willing to reenlist or fill the ranks of newly formed regiments had begun to wane. To satisfy quotas implemented on states to fulfill the President’s call for troops, Boards of Military Enrollments had been established to implement the registration & examination of potential recruits. The first conscription in Rhode Island occurred during the first week of July 1863. Options for those individuals not desiring to serve included paying a commutation fee of $300.00, finding a substitute or obtaining an exemption due to physical disability, allegiance to a foreign government etc. For those not able to obtain deferments resulted in over 600 men untimely being conscripted during the war – primarily to fill the ranks of three of the state's regiments, namely, the Second Infantry, the Fifth Heavy Artillery, and the Fourteenth Heavy Artillery (Colored).

See also:

Rhode Island State Archives Resources

A Battle Hard Fought - Rhode Island and the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Observance

Civil War – Commission to Preserve the Military Records of the State

Military Records - Civil War

Civil War Recruitment Book (1861)

Board of Military Enrollment

Adjutant General - Orders Received, Executive Department (1857 - 1858;1861; 1863)

Civil War - Record Book, Orders received, First Detached Militia / Tenth Rhode Island Volunteers (1861 - 1862)

Rhode Island Militia - Enrolled Men, Town Returns (1843 - 1898)

Additional Resources

National Archives Civil War Photographs

National Archives Civil War Records

National Archives The Civil War as Photographed by Mathew Brady

Library of Congress US Civil War: Selected Resources




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"Exemptions," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #685, http://sos.ri.gov/virtualarchives/items/show/685 (accessed January 21, 2019).