Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865

Posted By on May 2, 2011


Click on picture to enlarge

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:

  • Class
  • Congressional district
  • County
  • State
  • Residence
  • Name
  • Age on 1 July 1863
  • Race
  • Profession
  • Married status
  • Birthplace
  • Former military service
  • Remarks

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:

Click on picture to enlarge.

David Brown, shown on a line for Lykens Township, was a subject of a previous post on this blog.  David is shown then currently serving in the 177th Pennsylvania Infantry.

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.


20 Responses to “Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865”

  1. Tim Mease says:

    I’m hoping someone more knowledgeable can answer a question for me about my GGGrandfather’s Civil War Draft registration entry.

    As far as I know, my ancestor never fought in the Civil War. According to the draft registration records, it appears that he was drafted 27 Aug 1863 out of Boggs Towwnship PA (19th congressional district) but was considered exempt. The Remark left for him is:

    “Exempt, One of Two [gons or yons?] elected”

    It’s possible that it could read One of Two Year elected.

    In any case, it seems to me that he elected to do something that in turn made him exempt from the draft. Any idea what this may have been? At first I thought that he was exempt because he had already served a year but this contradicts that there are no records of a prior enlistment.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. If you want to see the record, look up James Mease age 23, found in Civil War Draft registrations, 19th district, Vol 3 of 3, Class 1, A-Z by Enrolled, Drafted, and Sub., p. 63 (page 125 on ancestry)

    Thanks. Any help would be appreciated!
    Tim Mease

    • mizmdk says:

      Possibly it means “one of two sons elected”. There was an exemption for the only son of a widow in the 1862 draft – someone more knowledgeable than me could say if this was the case in 1863.

  2. Jim Bennett says:

    I noticed that my ancestor, Ezekiel Bennett, is listed on the 1863 draft record as a farmer living in Schuyler County, Missouri. Interestingly, he had already been a part of the Missouri State Guard in 1861 and served one or two hitches with Confederate forces culiminating with the fighting at Pea Ridge before he came back home. How likely is it that he would have signed up for the federal draft in his home county after this? Was this actually done by individuals or was the draft record based on the 1860 census?
    Jim Bennett
    Birmingham, AL

  3. Steven says:

    Just found a relative of mine, Philip Klinger from Lykens was on this draft list. Says he served in the 77th PA regiment previously. Something I had not known about and I am now researching.

  4. Stephen Coffman says:

    How did they assimilate the lists? Was the individual present when his name was entered on the list?

  5. Paula says:

    @Tim Mease: It is more likely that “Exempt, One of Two [gons or yons?] elected” means that your GGGrandfather was one of two sons … and that his brother had already been elected. Your GGGrandfather would have been exempt if he was the only source of income for his parent(s).

  6. Nancy Etter says:

    What does E. M. M. stand for under the Former Military Service column of the Civil War Draft Registration Records in Miller Co., Missouri? ( Oct. 1863)

  7. Nancy Etter says:

    On the Civil War Draft Registration Record of Miller Co., Missouri, Samuel Etter is listed. Under the heading of Former Military Service are written the initials: E. M. M.
    Does anyone know what E.M.M. might stand for?

  8. Kelly says:

    Nancy, I’m no expert…but I think it means Enrolled Missouri Militia.

  9. Kathleen Townsley says:

    I have a question about this record. In the column “Former Military Service” they are showing numbers but I couldn’t find a reference chart in the front or back of the Michigan 1st Vol 2 of 5 book on ancestry that showed what these numbers meant. If they were actually in the service it shows they were, how long or what division they were in so I don’t think the numbers mean how long they were in.

    • Molly says:

      Kathleen – did you ever figure this out? I came across the same thing in Missouri. The top of the column says “No. of [illegible]” and I can’t figure out what it means.

  10. Cheryl Mayes says:

    My GGrandfather was exempt the Civil War draft due to having lost sight in one eye. He was a paid substitute for a local doctor’s son. I cannot find any records for my Great-Grandfather in the Soldiers and Sailors of the Civil War. I have found his brother who enlisted. How were substitutes recorded? Was the record maintained in the name of the person for whom he substituted?

  11. JM says:

    My great-great grandfather appears on the draft registration rolls for the 7th Congressional district in Pennsylvania. Does that mean that he actually served or is this just a master roll for people who were eligible for conscription?

  12. Brook says:

    Hi, we just found this ancestor and I’m wondering if you can help interpret the draft registry. He’s marked “absent, fled from arrest” Do you think this was from dodging a draft? There’s an old family story that he fled home under a hay wagon to escape being drafted. The story says he fled south MI to north MI and founded a place called Campbell’s Corners, which is today basically just a cemetery and a road named Campbell. The story says his family helped him escape after he lost a brother in the war, however I have no evidence of any siblings being drafted.

    Here’s a link to the image on ancestry, he’s line #3, Charles Campbell.


  13. Margaret says:

    Did each draft have a separate registration, or were they all based on the 1863 registration? This is not specified in the ancestry.com info/index, and other sources I have looked at are not clear about this either.

  14. Diana E Hires says:

    My ancestor William B Patrick age 40 occupation Hostler is listed in Salt River, Audrain County, MO 9th Sub District draft registration 1863-1865. There is a line drawn through his name. The comment column seems to contain the word “Nonresident” which is also listed for a number of other men on page 378. What does Nonresident indicate. Did my ancestor who was born in Kentucky leave town to avoid the draft? Would he have been required at age 40 as he was married with children?

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