Louis Armstrong Registers for the Draft
Future jazz great Louis Armstrong of New Orleans was among nearly 24 million men aged 18–45 who registered for the draft during 1917–18, a requirement of the new Selective Service System. Notice that his first name is recorded incorrectly as Lewis. And while his date of birth was recorded as July 4, 1900, Armstrong was actually born on August 4, 1901.
World War I Draft Registration Card for Louis Armstrong, 09/12/1918; from the series: Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918
"…the news from New York City indicates that both mail & telegraphic communications are interrupted with Washington…"
Letter to Captain John Godfrey Calling for the Postponement New Hampshire Draft because of Draft Riots in New York, 07/14/1863
July 13th marks the 150th anniversary of the New York City Draft Riots, violent protests against the Civil War draft that lasted four days and resulted in over 1,000 casualties and millions of dollars of property destruction. This letter from New Hampshire on July 14th indicates the widespread effects and alarm raised by the riots.
"The excitement is spreading and from the information obtained this morning there is a secret organization in Eastchester and partly armed…"
Letter from W.H.H. Barker to Captain Moses G. Leonard, 07/13/1863
July 13th, marks the 150th anniversary of the New York City Draft Riots, violent protests against the Civil War draft that lasted four days and resulted in over 1,000 casualties and millions of dollars of property destruction. Acts of vandalism and destruction were reported throughout the city as the riots spread. The mobs initially targeted government buildings and representatives before focusing their violence towards the African-American community.
Department of the East,
New York City, July 13, 1863
Loomis Colonel G.
Commanding Governor’s Island
The Major General Commanding directs, that you send immediately to this city for special service all the troops, regulars and Volunteers, that you have now under your command, to report to Col Rogert Nugent A.A. Provost Marshal General, No. 106 Leonard St. The men will have forty rounds or ammunition each with their arms.
By command of Major General Wool
C. T. Christensen
Asst. Adj’t General
Department of the East,
New York City, July 13, 1863.
Paulding Rear Admiral H.
There is a riot in this city, in opposition to the Draft, which threatens to be quite serious. I have ordered all the troops in the forts in this harbor to report to Colonel Nugent A.A. Provost Marshal General No. 106 Leonard St. New York City - but in all they amount to only a small band. Can you not furnish us with a company or more, of Marines for that purpose, by aiding us at this moment, you will confer a favor on the city authorities, as well as myself.
I remain, sir,
Your Obedt Servant
John E Wool
(Transcription via National Archives Citizen Archivist Transcription Pilot Project)
When Federal officials began using the Enrollment Act to draft men on July 13, 1863, riots erupted in New York City. Maj. Gen. John E. Wood requested reinforcements in this urgent letter. More than 5,000 troops arrived, many directly from the Battle at Gettysburg. Nevertheless an estimated 20,000 rioters ruled the city for four days, and 119 people died. Rioters soon targeted New York’s African American community, burning the Colored Orphan Asylum and driving many blacks out of the city.
"They should be allowed the opportunity to earn return to their country, their communities, and their families, upon their agreement to a period of alternate service in the national interest, together with an acknowledgement of their allegiance to the country and its Constitution."
Presidential Proclamation 4313 of September 16, 1974, by President Gerald R. Ford announcing a program for the return of Vietnam era draft evaders and deserters, 09/16/1974
(Not the first controversial pardon issued by President Ford.)
October 1 - Lincoln’s “Substitute”
In both the North and South many men who were drafted hired substitutes to take their place for a going rate of $200 to $275. President Lincoln was well over the age to be eligible for the draft. But on October 1, 1864 he sponsored a soldier, 19-year-old J. Summerfield Staples from Pennsylvania, through a program known as “representative recruits.” Staples has come to be known as Lincoln’s “substitute.”
The U.S. military draft is approved by President Roosevelt on this day, September 16, 1940. The Selective Service and Training Act set up the first peacetime military draft in U.S. history.
In this photo FDR presides over the first drawing of the Selective Service on October 29, 1940.
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 48-22:3712(32)