Soldiers who fought for the Union in the Civil War were either regular army or from state militias. The War Department routinely gave each state an enlistment target, which was required to keep the war effort going. The states were not only required to find soldiers but they had to pay them a bonus.
Offering a 4 ¾ x 7 ¾ voucher issued by the town of Paris, Maine, to Ellery F. Goss, which was a promise to pay Goss an enlistment bonus of $50 in two years from the date of issue, December 31, 1864, if he would enlist. At age 30, Goss, a sergeant, had enlisted on September 29, 1862, and was assigned to the 23rd Maine Infantry, which was stationed in Washington, DC. Goss was mustered out on July 15, 1863. He officially returned to war on March 21, 1865. This was certainly an easy $50 for Goss as Robert E. Lee surrendered less than a month later. Goss must have chosen to let the pledge accrue interest. He collected $3 in mid-1866 and another $3.90 in April 1867.
Another common practice was to allow people who were drafted to buy their way out by paying $300 to the town that was trying to meet their quota. The town, in turn, would pay a person a bounty to sign up for service.
Offering a 5 x 7 ¾ voucher representing a payment of $300, which John K. Nickerson paid to the city of Bangor on February 29, 1865. Bangor then found a substitute, Levi Merrifield (stated on verso), who was likely paid $300. Lee surrendered shortly after the bonus was paid.
Toning and folds. One small tear repaired with archival tape. Overall in excellent condition.
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