VA History Office
Exhibit - Substitution in the Civil War
From Border States to National Cemeteries
When the U.S. had to increase enlistments to handle the burden of manpower demands for the battlefield, a draft was legislated in 1863. A provision was written in that gave a drafted person the choice to pay someone who was willing to serve in their place. This was called substitution.
In this exhibit (CLICK "READ MORE" ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO VIEW IT), follow the path that four Black Americans from the Border States took in the Civil War. Through examination of enlistment records and battle reports, the story of Privates Jacob Saunders, James Murray, Thomas Jones and Harrison Lockwood illustrates the controversial nature of the substitution provision. Regardless of how they enlisted, each man served their country and were buried in National Cemeteries.
By Jacob Klinger, National Cemetery Administration history intern and West Virginia University doctoral student