Modus Operandi of Federal recruiting.
The New York correspondent of the London Daily News,
who must be considered excellent authority on everything that concerns the interests of his employers, makes the following curious revelations in an attempt to vindicate the Washington Government
from the charge of recruiting:
"In the first place, fifteen dollars were offered in New York to 'anybody bringing in a recruit.' The object of this was to interest somebody in doing the indispensable work of canvassing, of hunting up those who were likely to join the army, and in persuading them to join.
This work has to be done by somebody.
, it is done by officers and non-commissioned officers, specially detailed for this service, and directed (see the late circular of the Duke
) to frequent fairs, markets, and all other places resorted to by idle or adventurous or needy men; and in spite of their exertions, it is found no easy matter to keep the British
army, small as it is, up to the required strength.
Suppose it were suddenly raised to six hundred thousand men, and that gaps of tremendous size were being daily made in it by the casualties and disease of a bloody war, do you suppose the regular recruiting service would be the only agency to which the Government
would resort to keep its ranks full?
Do you imagine that it would be saved the necessity of canvassing altogether by the spontaneous rush into the service, as private soldiers, of the 'genteel' people, who are now filled with such horror because the Americans
make no scruple about employing mercenaries!
"The brokers here, however, not only pocket the 'hand money' for bringing the recruit, but they, in general, manage to share the bounty also.
That they should be able to do so is a striking illustration of the simplicity of the mass of those whom they enlist; but they do so to such an extent that more than one of them in this city have made large fortunes by the business.
They hunt up the recruits all over the country explain to them what may be had them to bring them to the provost-marshal
's office, show them the proper office to apply to, and, in fact, make use of the thousand advantages which a shrewd, city-bred knave generally possesses over country bumpkins, and especially "raw Irishmen," to enable them to get hold of a large share of the money.
I have heard of cases in which, out of $700, the broker pocketed $600; and I think there were few men enlisted through the instrumentality of the brokers in this city in which the recruit managed to retain over $300 or $400. You will see from this that when men are called for by the 200,000 or 300,000 the profits of the business must be enormous.
The slave trade can hardly compare with it. If a broker only brought in one man a week he was richly paid; there were few of the successful ones who did not bring in a dozen a week.
"Nobody will suppose that energetic men, with gains on such a scale as this within their reach, would limit their field of operations to any one State or district.
They scoured all possible parts of the United States
for recruits; and though I do not know of their having gone to Ireland
, I should be greatly astonished to find they had not done so. In no place are recruits so easily procured, especially for America
, and no men make better soldiers, than Irishmen.
It would, therefore, be the most natural thing in the world if every bounty broker in New York had his agent in Cork and Limerick
, picking up and dispatching to him every able-bodied man he could lay hands on."