Union General Orders No. 190, 1863

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Summary Information

Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Townsend, Edward D., 1817-1893
Union General Orders No. 190
Collection No.:
SC 0017
1 legal folder, .08 Cubic Feet
Language of the Material:
Union General Orders No. 190, dated June 25, 1863, is a printed Union Army directive issued during the American Civil War. This directive was ordered by the Union Assistant Adjutant General Edward D. Townsend, and called for all new recruits to be paid a sum of $402.00 and for those who re-enlisted to be paid $400.00.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], [box #, folder #], Union General Orders No. 190, 1863, SC 0017, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

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Bio/Historical Note

Edward D. Townsend was born in Boston in 1817. He graduated West Point in 1837, served in the Second Seminole War (Florida War), and eventually reached the rank of captain in 1848. Townsend served throughout the war in the Adjutant Generals office. Townsend would go on after the war to achieve the rank of brigadier general in 1869. He died in Washington, DC in 1893.

At the time General Orders No. 190 was issued in June of 1863, the Union war effort was in a precarious position. The important Union victory at Antietam in the fall of 1862 had been followed by little progress in defeating Confederate forces in Virginia. To maintain a steady income of new recruits, the United States Congress passed the Enrollment Act which was enacted on March 3, 1863. This act required every male citizen and immigrants who had filed for citizenship between ages twenty and forty-five to enroll. The Enrollment Act proved to be unpopular, and the issuing of General Order No.190 was intended to aid in recruiting for the Regular Army. The order offered bounties for enlistments for up to five years of service, detailing a $2 premium on enlistment, plus $13 advance pay, and almost $400 bounty to new soldiers, spread out at $50 per year. Three weeks after the issuing of these new premiums and expectations of the war to continue until 1868, riots broke out in New York over the demand for new soldiers to fight in the war, known as the New York Draft Riots.

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Scope and Content

General Order No. 190, 1863, consists of a printed copy of the order. The order directed the parameters and amounts for the pay of new recruits into the Union Regular Army. It goes on to detail the periods in which recruits were to be paid their bounties for enlisting throughout their terms of service, extending to the expiration of their service after four years with a maximum total of $402. The document is signed, in type, by Assistant Adjutant General E. D. Townsend.

The left edge of the sheet is irregular where it was removed from a binding.

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One printed document housed in a legal folder.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.eu).

Acquisition Information

James Madison University Special Collections Library acquired this document at auction from Cohasco, Inc in January 2016.


Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

880 Madison DriveMSC 1704Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807library-special@jmu.eduURL: https://www.lib.jmu.edu/special/

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Index Terms

Genre and Form

  • Orders (military records)


  • United States. Army -- Pay, allowances, etc
  • Bounties, Military -- United States
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Recruiting, enlistment, etc

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"Gen. Edward D. Townsend Obituary." The New York Times (New York), May 12, 1893. Accessed November 10, 2016. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9D01E5DB1031E033A25751C1A9639C94629ED7CF.

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Collection Inventory

Title/Description Instances
Union General Orders No. 190, 1863 box 1 folder 1