“Collisions With the People”: Federal Intervention in Deserter Country

Robert M. Sandow

in Deserter Country

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230518
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240845 | DOI:

Series: The North's Civil War

“Collisions With the People”: Federal Intervention in Deserter Country

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Since its enactment, the conscription policy was the primary cause for resistance throughout the North. While spread across the free states, draft resistance became concentrated in pockets of “deserter country,” most acute in the “butternut” region of the lower-Midwest, Wisconsin, and the mountains of Pennsylvania. The published regulations for the Provost Marshal General's Bureau authorized marshals to make use of the nearest military force or even call upon citizens as a posse comitatus. In Columbia County, military authorities could not prove a widespread civilian conspiracy to resist the draft. Fear coupled with a desire for lenience induced several key fugitives to divulge information about the Democratic Castle. Military leaders were given copies of the organization's constitution and bylaws, descriptions of secret passwords and signs, and partial lists of members for several regional chapters.

Keywords: deserter country; Wisconsin; conscription; resistance; Columbia County; Democratic Castle; military leaders; Pennsylvania

Chapter.  9909 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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