Monday, October 15, 2007

Mid-war Regular Reenlistments

I found this account of mid-war Regular Army reenlistments in the western theater and thought it worth sharing. I found it interesting that the time of the account that follows was late summer of 1864. In other words, in the middle of campaign season instead of during the winter break in major campaigns.

“Congress had, by this time, passed an act by which all soldiers who were enlisted in the regular army for a term of 5 years and had less than one year of that enlistment still to serve, could re-enlist for another term of three years, the remainder of the 5 year term to be cancelled and a furlough for 30 days would be granted at once. Besides this they could credit themselves to any of the loyal states and receive the state bounty.

“About 80 of us, all from the 4th Cavalry, took advantage of the offer and re-enlisted. There were some ten or fifteen more that could have done the same but they preferred to stay the 5 years out and then quit Uncle Sam. My object was not the bounty, but I needed some rest.” (James Larson, Sergeant Larson, 4th Cav., pg 269)

An officer set up a tent the following morning and wrote out the enlistment papers for those re-enlisting. After signing their new enlistments, the men turned in all of their government equipment before boarding a hospital train headed north.

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