Brooklyn in the Civil War
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"Recruiting for the War"

This scene, set in New York, would have been similar in Brooklyn and in the many other enlistment centers across the Union. After the surrender of the Union Army at Fort Sumter, President Lincoln realized that the situation was desperate; he had only sixteen thousand men in the Federal army, spread across the country. On April 15, 1861, Lincoln sent out the call for volunteers. In the towns and villages there was great "war excitement." Seventy-five thousand men answered the call to support their Union, often not realizing that they were about to give their lives for the cause.

The new soldiers were organized into three different units: the infantry, which were the marching units; the cavalry, which were the horseback units, and the artillery, which were the cannon units. Not all enlisted men joined the combat units. Men with business background became clerks, ministers became chaplains, and lawyers and judges became judge advocates. Cooks were needed to feed the men. Men were needed to take charge of the munitions, and of supplies such as uniforms and food. A medical corps, a signal corps, and a corps of engineers were formed.

The caption under this engraving reads: "Recruiting for the War - Scene at the Recruiting Tents in the Park, New York."

Citation - Document 69
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper
March 19, 1864
Brooklyn Public Library – Brooklyn Collection

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