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Recruiting for the Union Army in New York City
On 11 April, the 9th Field Artillery (NY) was invited by the National Park Service to participate in a commemoration of recruiting activities in New York City during the Civil War. In addition to the firing of its howitzers, a flag raising ceremony was held at Battery Park.
During the Civil War, extensive efforts to recruit soldiers for the Union army took place in New York City. In Battery Park, just outside Castle Garden, a recruiting office was established specifically to recruit newly-arriving immigrants. They were offered a monthly wage, food and clothing, and a pleasant outdoor life with plenty of exercise.
After the draft law went into effect in July, 1863 recruiters began to offer substantial bonuses for enlistment in particular regiments of the recruit’s choice in order to escape conscription. Choices offered included ethnic infantry regiments including Irish, German, Italian and African American units. Also available were artillery and cavalry specialties as well as unique units such as the Zouaves. By such means, New York supplied more troops for the Union army during the war than any other state.