Substitute and Relief Committee certificate for James Cumming

Substitute and Relief Committee certificate for James Cumming

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Title: Substitute and Relief Committee certificate for James Cumming
Dates: 1863
Quantity: 0.1 Linear feet (1 folder housed with minor collections MS 3624- MS 3640)
Coll. Number: ms3638(m).TEMP

Biographical/Historical Note

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.

Scope and Content Note

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.


Single document.

General Notes

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.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation note

Substitute and Relief Committee certificate for James Cumming, MS 3638. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

11Certificate View online.