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Volck, Adalbert John (1828-1912) Buying a substitute in the North during the war

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00493.07 Author/Creator: Volck, Adalbert John (1828-1912) Place Written: s.l. Type: Print Date: circa 1880-1890 Pagination: 1 etching : b&w ; 26.1 x 34.8 cm. Order a Copy

Image comments negatively upon the Northern policy of allowing men to find a substitute to take their place in the draft. Shows a well-dressed and dandified agent with a holstered pistol showing a timid gentleman into a low class pub where the shyster agent is displaying the men the gentleman can buy as a substitute. The door has a sign pasted to it that says "Substitutes for sale supply of ablebodied men always on hand." Volck satirizes the claim that these are "ablebodied men," by depicting lower-class drunks and card players in a pub. Two blacks also appear to among the choices the gentleman can make. A poster of "Honest Abe" is in the background. Size in extent is for the mount. The actual size of the etching is 20.4 x 26.4 cm. Title in pencil on verso.

Adalbert John Volck was a dentist, political cartoonist, and a caricaturist who sympathized with the Southern cause. During the Civil War, Volck supported the Confederacy through his satirical political cartoons. He also smuggled drugs and medical supplies for the Confederate army, and served as a personal courier to President Jefferson Davis.
Contrary to Volck's depiction of the North's policy of allowing substitution in the army, the South also followed the same practice for a period of time. On 16 April 1862 the Confederate Congress adopted a conscription act which also allowed for substitution. It was not until after the price of substitution soared above $600 in gold that the Confederacy abolished the measure. The Union continued to allow the practice of substitution throughout the war and approximately six to eight percent of the Union army included substitutes.

Volck, Adalbert John, 1828-1912
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865

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