bounties, and intending to desert as soon as they received the money.
The offer of large bounties by the cities and towns brought to the surface a class of men known as recruiting agents, who offered for a given sum to fill the quotas of the cities and towns who employed them.
As a general rule, these persons were irresponsible and corrupt.
They opened offices in Boston
, advertised their business in the newspapers, employed runners as bad as themselves.
To these agents many of the town authorities made applications for men. They were met with fair promises, for which they paid much money.
Neither the State
nor the United States
at this time paid bounties for nine months men. The bounties were paid by the several municipalities in the Commonwealth
The men were obtained by these agents, sent to camp, and mustered into the service, put in uniform, and, as soon as opportunity offered, they deserted; having received their pay beforehand from the broker or agent, with whom, in many instances, they were in collusion.
Some of them were afterwards arrested, and forwarded to their regiments; but the great majority escaped.
The bounties paid by the towns varied in amount, ranging all the way from fifty dollars to five hundred; very few, however, were paid more than two hundred dollars each; and the average amount, for the 17,143 nine months men, was a fraction over one hundred dollars a man, which, by an act of the Legislature, was, in great part, reimbursed to the towns from the State
treasury, to the total amount of $2,300,921.
Early in the month of July, a disgraceful and cruel riot broke out in the city of New York
It was instigated by persons who sympathized with the rebel cause, and wished it success.
The pretext for the mob was opposition to the law of Congress instituting a draft of men to fill our regiments at the seat of war. The successes of our arms at Gettysburg
, Port Hudson
, and Vicksburg
, were not to their tastes.
The rebel element in that city, therefore, seized hold of the act of Congress, and inflamed the ignorant masses to a degree which found no vent except in riot and bloodshed.
The vengeance of this mob, like that of all other mobs, expended its force upon the very poorest and most helpless of the community,—the