Reader Questions for “Rough Enough” #5: for Chapter 2- Equipment Provision and Bounties to later Volunteers in the Union Army.

As you read through the second chapter of  Rough Enough it is important to remember that the military has treated it’s volunteers quite differently over the ages. This treatment has to do with enlistment periods as well as equipment provided.

In 1776 the War of Revolution Era, virtually every soldier in the First Continental Army started off as a volunteer and had to initially provide everything all the way from weaponry to clothing and at times even food. The period of service was often for as long as the volunteer had the feeling that he was involved in a cause that he was able to believe in and could give up enough time from the family farm or business in order to take up arms and be a soldier.  If planting time came on the farm and a farmer needed to go home and plant crops, he just went home.

By the time of the American Civil War, or War of Rebellion as it was often called by the Union soldiers; there was a standing Army for the United States with issuance of uniforms, weapons and equipment for the regulars.  The terms of service also in writing with a contracted commitment by the soldier to serve for a defined period of time.

Now let’s move to the last portion of the Civil War.  What do you see as the causes behind that fact that Richard Clow and others were asked to provide their own bedding, mattresses, boots and even winter clothing?  What was going on that made this a necessity for the later volunteers in the Union Army, whereas it wasn’t so at the beginning of the war?

In addition, how had the system of paying an enlistment bounty changed during the Civil War? What were the reasons for this change? Why would you pay an enlistment bounty for an infantry soldier but not for an engineer?

What is the difference in the thinking behind giving a bounty in the Civil War and the thinking today about giving bounties for enlistment and reenlistment?

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