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1865 $300 Bucks County Pennsylvania “Bounty” 6% Bond

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February 15, 1865-Dated Civil War, Partially-Printed Document, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. $300 Enlistment Bounty Fund 6% Interest Bond. Fully Issued, Statue of Freedom vignette at left, Justice and America at right, Extremely Fine.

This original Partially-Printed Document measures 4.5” x 8,” is printed on reddish-brown and black on white wove paper. A hand-cancelled 15 Cents Internal Revenue Stamp appears at left center. Statue of Freedom vignette at left, Justice and America at right. Stated interest of 6%. These bonds were used by various counties to raise funds for bounties to entice young men to enlist into the Union Army. Each county was required to raise a certain number of soldiers to fight in the Civil War. If enough young men volunteered, everything was fine. But, if the county did not meet its quota, it was forced to “find” additional men. This was done by offering a Bounty of $300 to any Volunteer or to Substitute or another, paid with funds raised from the sale of these Bounty Fund Bonds. These ornately printed Civil War era bonds are all very rare. They represent the opposite purpose of the Commutation Money Receipts of the same period, which were used by some young men to avoid service by paying a fee of $300! We sold a similar item in August of 2005 at $1,500. A rare Civil War period official printed form noted on the blank reverse: “Rec. July 11, 1866 one years interest... $18.”
Taken from 'thecivilwaromnibus.com':

When the Civil War began, there was no shortage of able bodied men who volunteered for service in both the U.S. Army and the Confederate Army. When the Draft laws – known as the Enrollment Act – were first placed on the books in the United States in 1863, they allowed for two methods for avoiding the Draft – “Substitution” or “Commutation.”

A man who found his name called in the draft lotteries that chose men for mandatory service could either pay a Commutation fee of $300, which exempted him from service during this draft lottery, but not necessarily for future draft lotteries, or he could provide a substitute, which would exempt him from service throughout the duration of the war.

The $300 Commutation fee was an enormous sum of money for most city laborers or rural farmers, and the cost of hiring a Substitute was even higher, often reaching $1,000 or more. The practice of hiring substitutes for military service took hold quickly in the North, becoming much more widespread than it had ever been in the South. For one thing, there was a much larger pool of men to draw from; immigrants that flowed into the ports of the North, even in a time of war, provided a large number of the substitutes hired by those who did not wish to serve.

As the duration of the war lengthened, African-American soldiers, who’d thus far been only nominally accepted by the U.S. Army as viable soldiers, also became part of the pool of potential substitutes. Many of the recruitment posters from the time explicitly solicit African-Americans for substitution. Although the hiring of substitutes seems mercenary, and in many cases, resulted in the desertion of the substitute, many who went to war as hired men went because they were unable to enlist through the regular channels. This included the recent immigrants who were anxious to fight for their new country, and, importantly, the African-Americans who found going to war as substitutes the only way to fight for their freedom. For these men, the war was indeed a “rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight,” but from the perspective that poor men were more willing to fight for the possibilities they saw in their country.
Lot Number: 224
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