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Civil War Recruitment Broadside, Lockport, c. 1863

U.S. Service Poster, Civil War
New York State Archives, NYSA_B0462
Document Description
Civil War recruitment broadside, Lockport, New York, c. 1863.
These posters are advertisements for the military. What is the purpose of the advertisements? Why do we have ads today?
Why did the army need to recruit soldiers?
What benefits did soldiers get in the Army?
Who is the audience for these posters?
Do these posters make you want to join the army?
Based on the information in these posters, who was eligible to join?
Historical Challenges
Listen to the songs "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Dixie." Compare the words, meanings, and motivations of the two armies through their theme songs.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: Based on these posters, how much more money would a veteran receive than a volunteer for an additional three years of service? Why would the veteran make more money?
English Language Arts: Create a recruitment poster for the Confederacy and for the Union.
Poetry and Songs of the Civil War (VHS). OnDeck Home Entertainment, October 1999. ASIN: 6305612404.

Shields, Carol. Brain Juice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! Handprint Books, September 2005. ISBN:1593541201
Sandler, Martin and James Billington. Civil War. HarperCollins Publishers, December 2000. ISBN:0064462641


About this Activity


Lesson Topic:


Historical Context
New York State's contribution to the Union cause in the Civil War was extraordinary, despite deep divisions among the state's populace. The state enlisted 448,000 troops, suffered 46,534 casualties, and raised 150 million dollars for the Union war effort. All exceeded the contributions of any other state.
More than 200 New York infantry, cavalry, and artillery units served in the war and collectively saw action in nearly every campaign. A host of New Yorkers distinguished themselves through military and public service during the war. While the state's leader ship pulled together to raise enormous levels of volunteers and funds for the cause, longstanding divisions rendered this process very difficult at times.
In New York as in the rest of the Union, support for the policies of President Lincoln and even the war itself rose and fell with the fortunes of the Union army. New Yorkers disagreed over what they felt was the true purpose of the war. Support for the Emancipation Proclamation was far from unanimous and the conscription act passed by Congress in March of 1863 caused deep resentment in the state. Desertions were not at all uncommon.
Class, ethnic, and racial tensions, as well as opposition to the draft came to a head with the New York City draft riots of July 1863. The riots resulted in the deaths of 119 and the wounding of over 300 persons. Property damage was estimated at roughly one million dollars. Still in the end, the state raised twenty-three ethnic regiments, dominated by individuals of German and Irish descent, as well as three regiments of African American troops.
Despite the outcome of the Civil War, social conflicts and inequities that existed within New York prior to the war endured well into the future. Still, New York's economy grew, industrialization of the state proceeded, wages increased, and the city of New York assumed its place as the financial center of the nation.
Essential Question
How does war change a society?
Check for Understanding
Identify three important details from this broadside and evaluate the impact of the overall message on local communities.