Faculty Research at Morehead State University

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2021


On March 3, 1863, the United States Congress passed the Enrollment Act of 1863 to allow for the conscription men into the Union Army. It became the first instance of compulsory military service in American history. The law was initially devised to encourage men to volunteer rather than to be drafted outright. Each congressional district was given a quota of volunteers and if not met a draft would be ordered. The first draft for 100,000 men to serve six months was held nationally on June 15, 1863 but fell well short of the expected mark. A second was to be conducted on October 17, 1863 for 500,000 men to serve three years. A list of names found on loose pages held together by a ribbon in the archives at the Kentucky Military History Museum in Frankfort was most likely to be used to identify men in Graves County that were eligible for the upcoming draft. Those to be placed on the enrollment list were to be all males between the ages of twenty and forty-five. However, some on the list were men already serving in the Confederate Army and a smaller number of others in the Union Army or Home Guard units in the region. The names below have been transcribed from that list as numbered and written by the Deputy County Clerk John H. Robbins on September 22, 1863.



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