With a standing army of about 16,000 troops at the beginning of the Civil War, the Union was in desperate need of soldiers, and successive calls went out from the federal government for states to provide men for the cause. This collection features enlistment papers of men who volunteered in Kansas to serve in the United States Army for up to three years during and just after the Civil War. The two-page forms include the recruit’s name, birthplace, age, occupation, enlistment date, and unit. They also provide a short physical description.
Kansas had been opened for settlement in the 1850s, and the men listed in this database had come from states all across the country as well as overseas. On early forms, soldiers agreed to accept “such bounty, pay, rations, and clothing, as are, or may be, established by law for volunteers,” swore allegiance to the United States, and promised to carry out the orders of the president of the United States and their officers. An examining surgeon certified that the recruit was fit for service (and the recruiting officer had to affirm that the volunteer was sober at the time he enlisted!).
These papers can be searched by name, birth year, and birthplace.