10 Civil War recruitment posters & broadsides (1861-1864)

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Civil War recruitment posters and broadsides

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to Amazon or other companies, and purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

By looking back at these old Civil War recruitment posters & broadsides, you can see what was being offered to men as an incentive to sign up to fight in the Civil War — and what exactly the leaders were looking for in troops back in the 1860s.
Now or never is the time to avoid the draft! (1864)

Come one! Come all! To the meeting at Osgood’s Hall, Ilion, this Monday evening, August 15, 1864. Important business will be transacted and every one interested in filling up the town quota should be on hand.

Now or never is the time to avoid the draft


United States volunteers: The “Union guard” (1861)

Accepted by the Secretary of War, July 26th, ’61

This Regiment is being rapidly filled up and is under orders for Marching, within Thirty Days. Members of this Regiment will be paid from the day of engagement.

Returned Volunteers will be allowed a liberal furlough. Quarters and Subsistence furnished immediately upon engagement. Uniforms will be issued as soon as ready. 

Headquarters 302 Broadway Cor. Duane Street.

United States volunteers - Union Guard


500,000 men wanted (1864)

Every able-bodied male citizen of the Town of Reading, of the age of twenty years and under the age of forty-five years, is requested to meet at Lyceum Hall, in said Reading, on Saturday next, the 23d of July, 1864 at 8 o’clock PM without fail.

The President has called for 500,000 Volunteers, and if the men are not enlisted before the fifth day of September next, a draft is ordered to make up the deficiency.

The quota of Reading will probably be about fifty. Now Gentlemen the only alternative that we have in our power to offer you IS GO OR PAY.

Volunteers cannot be procured for $100.00 each, it will take a much larger sum, and as the time draws near for a draft the price of Volunteers will increase.

We refer the matter to you for your decision, and you must decide immediately. If every man will give in proportion to his means the men can be raised.

We would also solicit those who are out of the draft, and have means, to give something, for the benefit of those who have less means.

The only security that we have for our property, is to put the rebellion down. It takes men to put the rebellion down; and it takes money to get men. Will you furnish the money? If you do, we will furnish the men.

500,000 men wanted


Rifleman, attention! (1861)

A COMPANY OF ONE HUNDRED MEN to be selected from the BEST RIFLE SHOTS, In the State, is to be raised to act as a COMPANY OF SHARP SHOOTERS through the War. Each man will be entitled to A BOUNTY OF $22.00 when mustered into the service of the United States, and $100,00 DOLLARS [sic] at the close of the War, in addition to his regular pay.

No man will be accepted or mustered into service who is not an active and able-bodied man, and who cannot when firing at a rest at a distance of two hundred yards, put ten consecutive shots into a target the average distance not to exceed five inches from the centre of the bull’s eye to the centre of the ball; and all candidates will have to pass such an examination as to satisfy the recruiting officer of their fitness for enlistment in this corps.

Recruits having Rifles to which they are accustomed are requested to bring them to the place of rendezvous. 

Recruits will be received by James D. Fessenden … Portland, Maine. Bridgton Reporter Press, S. H. Noyes, printer, 1861.

ALSO SEE: What happened during the Civil War’s deadly Battle of Antietam in 1862

A company of one hundred men to be selected from the best rifle shots


Heavy artillery – Civil War soldiers

Raised by authority of the state at the request of the Secretary of War and Major-General McClellan.

Heavy artillery raised

MORE: What’s one thing that Civil War soldiers really wanted? Love letters


Civil War recruitment posters: Lincoln Calvary (1861)

Col Andrew T. McReynolds, Commanding. Wanted. A few good men!

Lincoln Calvary 1861


Fourth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers Concord, New Hampshire (1861)

Fourth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers Concord, New Hampshire 1861


The Eagle and the Harp – Irish recruitment poster from the Civil War

Come with us and our Irish Hero Corcoran. Let us carry the American Eagle over the Potomac, down like an avalanche through the lands of Dixie, emulating the glory of the other Irish regiments.

ALSO SEE: What’s one thing that Civil War soldiers really wanted? Love letters

The Eagle and the Harp Irish recruitment poster Civil War


“To Colored Men!” Civil War recruitment poster

FREEDOM, Protection, Pay, and a Call to Military Duty!

It is the duty of every government to give protection to its citizens, of whatever class, color, or condition, and especially to those who are duly organized as soldiers in the public service.

The law of nations and the usages and customs of war, as carried on by civilized powers, permit no distinction as to color in the treatment of prisoners of war as public enemies.

To sell or enslave any captured person on account of his color, is a relapse into barbarism and a crime against the civilization of the age.

The Government of the United States will give the same protection to all its soldiers, and if the enemy shall sell or enslave anyone because of his color, the offense shall be punished by retaliation upon the enemy’s prisoners in our possession.  

It is, therefore ordered, for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier shall be executed, and for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery a rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labor on the public works and continued at such labor until the other shall be released and receive the treatment due to a prisoner of war.

ALSO SEE: America’s history of slavery: See some of the terrible old ads actually offering people for sale

To Colored Men Broadside Civil War recruitment poster


Head quarters Cadwalader Regiment

Recruits wanted for three years or during the war

Active able-bodied young men are wanted to fill up this regiment

The attention of mechanics and working men is respectfully solicited. The regiment will be officered by men who have military experience, and can be approached by those under their command.

Head quarters Cadwalader Regiment - Civil War recruitment

ALSO SEE: How the Civil War ended, and find out the details of Lee’s surrender to Grant (1865)

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