Aug 5 1863 Letter to editor suggesting $100 bounty
For the Herald and Torch;
THE DRAFT—A BOUNTY.
Messrs. Editors: —As we are on the eve of another draft for men to fight the battles of our glorious country, and many feel an anxiety as to who are to be the ones to go first, I thought the draft might be avoided by offering a bounty of $100 for every able-bodied three year recruit, and thus allay that anxiety and make those who go do so voluntarily and cheerfully. I can’t see why we should not make an effort. I don’t think any man so grudging as to refuse the volunteer that amount; if there should be, it is a pity he is permitted to enjoy our liberties. But in case some should think it too much, and they are fit for service, they can of course get into service by taking less. It will be a matter of choice with such as to the amount inside of $100. If we make the effort and succeed in getting the money and no men, why then none need to pay, that is all. But there are men, who would gladly accept the opportunity, because if they are drafted there is no escape for them although they are badly prepared to leave their families, without means excepting such as may be saved while soldiering, perhaps never to return.— These are a deserving class, and it is right we should offer others this opportunity. But some may say we won’t get volunteers for that amount. I don’t know why not.
One thing I do know, that the war is nearer its close now than it was last year about this time, and from the recent successes it is reasonable to expect it to close in a year hence, or reduce it to much less dimensions at least. I individually would rather volunteer now for $100 than I would a year ago. I have signed a petition expressing the sense of the voters on the subject—the same reads as follows :— "
“The undersigned subscribers being desirous to avoid the draft by raising the quota assigned Washington County by volunteering, would, as an inducement to the same, ask the County Commissioners, the same as last year, to appropriate the sum of $100 bounty to every able-bodied man volunteering for three years or during the war, before the draft takes place.
“And as an inducement to the County Commissioners to accede to our request, each of us pledge or promise, individually, upon our sacred honor, to vote for no man who will not use his influence to have said acts legalized by our next Legislature, and to this end we will vote open tickets in the coming election.”
I think it is right that similar petitions should be raised and presented to every man in the county for his signature, in order to get the sense of the voters -for our Commissioners desire to favor the people, and in order to do so, they must know what the people want. In order to obtain signatures each district can call meetings for the purpose at short notice, appoint persons to obtain signatures, and bring them to Hagerstown on Tuesday the 11th inst, to consult together on the subject with the County Commissioners. While the time is short persons can also think whether they are willing to accept the $100 bounty or stand a chance to go without it, because if they lose too much time in making up their minds they may just in a manner lose a $100. I feel certain that a majority of the people don’t begrudge soldiers the amount of $100 bounty, all that is wanted to ask them; and if we thus proceed we can know it for a certainty, and the money can be ready by the 13th of August for several hundred men at I least. Don’t lose an opportunity in this matter, I would say to all interested.
A Friend to the Laboring Man.
Herald of Freedom & Torch Light
Washington County Free Library
Hagerstown (Md.), Newspapers; Maryland, History, Civil War, 1861-1865
Washington County (Md.), 1861-1865