Would You Go to War for $1000?

It’s interesting to see the old recruitment posters for the American Civil War. I’ve seen them in museums at Gettysburg and Richmond.

$1000 bounty civil war recruitment

Photo of a Civil War recruitment poster (taken at a museum).

Usually, the amount of the bounty (bonus) in the 1860s is a few hundred dollars. Sometimes there are multiple bounties to entice recruits. In some cases, the money was paid up front or some held back to be paid at the end of the enlistment.

Having the money at the sign-up time would be good. Then you could leave some for the wife and children to live on while you are away fighting in battles.

recruitment posters

Photo of a Civil War recruitment poster (taken at a museum).

With the monthly pay for a soldier being just $16, you get an idea of the value of money at that time. $1000 is a considerable sum.

I met one genealogist who found that his ancestor changed his name and fought in a different regiment. It made me wonder if he did that to collect more than one bounty. That would certainly complicate your search for that ancestor.

Would $1000 convince you to join the army and march away to war? Search online for recruitment posters for the state and county where your ancestor lived.

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One thought on “Would You Go to War for $1000?

  1. heytoto says:

    Really no different than how they recruit today–free education is a powerful inducement if you’re from a working class background.

    Like

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