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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The U.S. military had been able to recruit thousands of men in 1861. But the north had few victories that year and the number of recruits decreased in 1862. That led to the first Militia Act of July, 1862. The quota for that call was filled, but losses in late 1862 and early 1863 led President Lincoln to institute a draft law in 1863. Although there were some disturbances, most famously the huge riots in New York City in July, 1863, Massachusetts was able to institute the draft with relatively few problems. By the end of the war, about 15% of the men who had served in the Union military had been drafted. The draft cylinder held the names of eligible men aged 18 to 49 in a draft district. Names were drawn from the cylinder until the district's quota was filled.
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