Posted By Norman Gasbarro on May 2, 2011
From 1863 to 1865, four drafts took place in the United States. The draft call of 1863 required registration of eligible men between the ages of 20 and 45, divided into two classes as described below in the Ancestry.com data base, U.S. Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865:
This is a collection of lists of Civil War Draft Registrations. There were four drafts between 1863 and 1865, which included 3.175 million records. Historically, the 1863 draft was one of the most tenuous moments in the Union outside of the battles fought on Northern soil. Most of the concern was due to the draft riots that took place in New York in 1863.
These records include 631 volumes of registries and are basically lists of individuals who registered for the draft. The records are split into two different classes, Class I are those aged 20-35 as well as those 36-45 and unmarried. Class II is everyone else that registered.
The registry contains information including:
- Congressional district
- Age on 1 July 1863
- Married status
- Former military service
In the page shown above for part of Halifax Township and Lykens Township, we note that these townships in Dauphin County were part of the Fourteenth Congressional District of Pennsylvania which included Dauphin, Snyder, Juniata, Union, and Northumberland Counties. There are some names listed that do not appear in the Civil War Veterans List for this Civil War Research Project – because the Civil War Veterans List only contains those who actually served. Since the data base, Civil War Draft Registration Records, is a “Draft Registration” list, it includes all those who registered. Others may appear on the Civil War Veterans List for this project who may not have registered or been drafted, but they enlisted anyway; others were drafted but chose to enlist, or to pay $300 for a substitute – which was permitted.
The records can be accessed at the National Archives or on-line to subscribers of Ancestry.com. The Ancestry.com records are fully searchable. A search for Lykens Township resident Harrison Riegle produces the following result:
By clicking on the “View Original Image” icon on Ancestry.com, the image shown at the top of this post is produced. Harrison Riegle’s name appears on the bottom line of the page. The records can also be “browsed.” The page shown is page 252 of 623 of one of the volumes for Pennsylvania. This volume shows the townships arranged alphabetically from L-Z. The browsed pages give a “census” of eligible men from the Congressional district in July 1863.
While no previous military service is given for any of the men shown on the above page (they would appear on a Class II page), many pages do give such service and therefore are a good way of identifying those who had served earlier in the war (prior to July 1863) and includes the name of the military regiment.
An additional type of page, Class III, is shown and not described in the Ancestry.com description. An example of a Class III page is shown below. Class III included those who were at the time of the draft serving in military units:
Much research still needs to be done on the Draft of 1863 and subsequent drafts. The records described above have recently been made available on Ancestry.com and have not yet been completely analyzed. Readers are invited to submit comments and additional information.
The screen capture is from Ancestry.com.
Source: Ancestry.com. Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registrations, 1863-1865. NM-65, entry 172, 620 volumes. Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War), Record Group 110. National Archives, Washington D.C.