The summer of 1862 was a tumultuous time in Litchfield County, Connecticut, as it was for the rest of the nation. As the Civil War entered its second year, two separate calls from President Abraham Lincoln for a total of 600,000 new volunteers for the Union Army left county officials scrambling to meet their quota of nearly 2,000 men. Recruiting officers knocked on doors and held patriotic rallies. Military officers began procuring the supplies and equipment needed to establish a training camp in Litchfield. Town leaders across the county hurried to secure funding for bounties, cash incentives designed to entice men to volunteer. While all sought to avert a draft, military conscription seemed increasingly likely. The July 1862 Militia Act authorized states to turn to conscription when they could not meet their quotas.1 However, a medical exemption was one way for men to avoid this draft, and in August...

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