Three month enlistments
Today, April 12th, is the 160th anniversary of the first shots fired during the Civil War. After South Carolina seceded from the Union, the US Army refused to leave its military post off the coast. Since South Carolina had declared themselves as no longer being part of the United States, they demanded that the federal troops leave their area.
The tension over the occupation of Charleston Harbor led to shots being fired upon the US troops stationed at Fort Sumter. This battle took place over a day and a half, and on April 13, the US Army surrendered and left the fort.
One immediate result of this battle was that Abraham Lincoln put out the call for 75,000 volunteers to serve for three months. Men from around the country jumped at the chance to serve, and the quota was filled quickly. In early May, he called for 42,000 more men and began asking men to enlist for three years instead of three months. By July of that year, Congress had authorized Lincoln to call up 500,000 more volunteers.
Many of these men who enlisted for three months ended up reenlisting when their first terms were over. Samuel Moore was one of them. He enlisted on April 22, 1861, a week after the call went out for volunteers. He served his three months and reenlisted a year later. He served until the war ended, three years later.
When researching your own ancestors in the Civil War and you find a soldier who enlisted for three months, there’s a good chance that he was among those first soldiers who volunteered as soon as the war started.
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