|Title:||Substitute and Relief Committee certificate for James Cumming|
|Quantity:||0.1 Linear feet (1 folder housed with minor collections MS 3624- MS 3640)|
In the Northern United States during the Civil War, men could avoid conscription by hiring a replacement. The U.S. government allowed the practice beginning in 1862 and legalized this form of draft evasion via The Conscription Act of March 1863. Until a later act in February 1864, the draftee could choose to either hire a substitute or pay the government $300; thereafter, the government only permitted substitution, except for conscientious objectors. Subsequent draft substitutes could fetch a much higher price and often signaled that the draft evader was well-to-do, as may have been the case here for James Cumming of New York.
This document contains the signature of William Tweed. William Tweed (1823-1878) was an American politician most notable for being the "boss" of Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party political machine that played a major role in the politics of 19th century New York City and the state. He was the third-largest landowner in New York City; a director of the Erie railway, Tenth National Bank, and New York Printing Company; as well as proprietor of the Metropolitan Hotel. He was later convicted for stealing an estimated $25-400 million through political corruption.
No further information is available on site to identify James Cumming or John Riley.
This collection consists of a Civil War document signed by William "Boss" Tweed that authorizes payment for a substitute, John Riley, for war draftee James Cumming. It states that Riley was paid $300 in exchange for his service.
Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online as part of America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia.
Substitute and Relief Committee certificate for James Cumming, MS 3638. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.