Wednesday, January 12, 2011
“GREETINGS” A DRAFT NOTICE FROM THE CIVIL WAR
GEORGE SMITH'S 1863 DRAFT NOTICE
TAG PHOTO TO ENLARGE
A CIVIL WAR DRAFT NOTICE
While doing some research at the Historical Society of Schuylkill County I came across the Civil War draft notice for a Mr. George Smith from Pottsville. Smith was drafted in Ocotber 1863. Looking at this draft notice it brought back memories of a day back in 1968 when I received a draft notice from the government during the Vietnam War.
My notice came in the mail on a warm sunny summer day. I remember it well. While standing in the kitchen of our home in Pottsville my grandmother handed me a letter. Opening the letter the word GREETINGS jumped out at me “Greetings” that infamous and forever remembered word that affected so many mens lives. After reading the notice I remember thinking, well there goes the summer! The notice went something like this.
You are hereby ordered for INDUCTION into the Armed forces of The United States... And to report at The Pottsville Post Office, 3rd and Norwegian St. Pottsville Pa, on August 20, 1968... At 6:30 a.m...For forwarding to an Armed Forces Induction Station...
Fortunately for me I was able to slip under the draft and enlist in the U.S. Air Force. I should have kept that letter but unfortunately I threw it away. During the Vietnam War many men joined the National Guard to hopefully stay away from a tour of duty in Vietnam as a drafted soldier. Many others avoided the draft by staying in school, or faking a health related physical injury. I really didn't care if I went to Vietnam or not. Two years later I was sent to Vietnam for a 13 month tour of duty. Before going to Vietnam the government did away with the old draft system and instituted the numbered lottery system. My number came out as 342! Oh, well.
Now concerning Mr. George Smith, I don’t know what ever became of him or his military career if there was one. Did he get drafted ? or did he pay someone to go as a substitute? I don't know. I will work on his story and if I find anything I will post it on this blog.
Concerning the history of the draft….During the American Revolutionary War, the states sometimes drafted men for militia duty or to fill state Continental Army units, but the central government did not have the authority to conscript. President James Madison unsuccessfully attempted to create a national draft of 40,000 men during the War of 1812.
With the end of active U.S. ground participation in Vietnam, December 1972 saw the last men conscripted, who were born in 1952 and who reported for duty in June 1973. On February 2, 1972, a drawing was held to determine draft priority numbers for men born in 1953, but in early 1973 it was announced that no further draft orders would be issued. In March 1973, 1974, and 1975 the Selective Service assigned draft priority numbers for all men born in 1954, 1955, and 1956, in case the draft was extended, but it never was.