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From Volunteer to Conscripted Armies


From Volunteer to Conscripted Armies


At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, both the North and South relied on volunteer soldiers. These volunteers first signed on for fixed terms (ninety days in the North, six months in the South) because they anticipated a short war. Many signed on for second terms, but it soon became clear that the war would last longer than anyone had imagined. By 1862 the pool of volunteers had dried up, and the Confederacy instituted a draft. The Union did the same one year later. These controversial and contested drafts were the first military conscriptions in U.S. history. (UNC School of Education, “The Raleigh Standard protests conscription”)


UNC School of Education. “The Raleigh Standard protests conscription.” Learn NC: North Carolina Digital History. (Accessed November 20, 2012).

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Jessica Cochran


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From Volunteer to Conscripted Armies, Civil War Era NC, accessed February 28, 2024,