The Alabama in the Civil War Message Board

Re: Bounty
In Response To: Bounty ()

Kathy --

The bounty sustem applied to every white adult male who could render service. As the year 1861 drew to a close, members of Congress realized that the twelve-month terms of 148 regiments were drawing to a close. Most officers and men in these regiments demonstrated little inclination to reenlist for the three year term then in place for most new volunteers. As an incentive for men to reenlist, Congress passed the "Bounty and Furlough Act" on Dec. 11, 1861. Twelve-month volunteers were offered a $50.00 bounty and a sixty-day furlough in exchange for two more years of military service. New volunteers got the bounty for a standard three-year enlistment.

As an immediate effect of the act, many twelve-month volunteers reenlisted, took the bounty and went home on furlough. The act allowed any twelve-month volunteer to take advantage of its provisions no matter how much time he had actually served. Some men in almost every company reenlisted and left for home, leaving all commands weaker. Some, like the 1st Alabama Regiment at Pensacola, largely disbanded as a result of the act. Those who reenlisted could join new commands, so many vacancies to fill existed in commands like the 1st Alabama.

The law remained on the books, so all future volunteers received a $50.00 enlistment bounty. A new volunteer was required to serve for a three-year term.

A final bounty was accorded by the law of February 17, 1864. This law retained in service all those current enrolled, also calling men between the ages of forty-five and fifty into service as senior reserves, young men of age seventeen going into service as junior reserves. Rolls would be taken of all those then in the army. At the end of September 1864, men still on roll who had not been absent without leave would receive $100 bounties payable in six percent government bonds.

I hope this answers your question.

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Re: Bounty
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