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Civil War Certificate of Non-Liability for Substitute

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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United States citizens faced compulsory military service for the first time during the Civil War. In the 1860s, both the Union and the Confederacy used military conscription to raise armies. During previous wars, such as the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, the United States had depended upon a small professional military to which was added the services of volunteers. At the time of the Civil War, however, not every United States citizen was obliged, when called upon, to serve in the armed forces. A person like Albert G. Nims of Roxbury, New Hampshire, could avoid military service by finding someone to take his place. Wealthier men frequently paid someone to be a substitute for them. Some substitutes promptly deserted the military and even sold their services again.


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