When the Civil War began in 1861, everyone in the Union thought that the fighting would be over quickly and the Confederate States would soon rejoin the nation. After several battles, however, it became clear that the war was much bigger than anyone had originally anticipated.

The war went on to rage for four years, until the South surrendered in 1865. 600,000 men died in the fighting, and millions more volunteered or were drafted into the Union and Confederate Armies.

Union Soldier

When the Civil War began, the United States had only a tiny paid army. States had volunteer militias to help the regular army. The need for more men became greater and both sides started a draft or conscription. The South started it in 1862. The North started their draft in 1863.

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Union Soldier

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