Raising Lincoln’s Army is topic July 25

The transformation of farmers, blacksmiths, merchants and students into citizen soldiers during the Civil War will be the topic when the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown (HSM), welcomes historian and author Frank Waterman Thursday, July 25.

The 7 p.m. program, “Raising Lincoln’s Army,” will be held at the HSM hall, 778 Cemetery Rd., Margaretville. Admission is $4 ($2 for HSM members).

The hall will be open at 6:30 so that visitors can see a special exhibit on Middletown in the Civil War. The exhibit is also on view at the HSM hall Saturdays from 11 to 2 through Labor Day.

During the Civil War, the responsibility for raising troops for the Union Army fell to the towns of Delaware County, each of which was given a quota following Lincoln’s repeated calls for more troops. If the quotas were not met, deficiencies were to be made up by a draft. However, there was such a strong anti-draft sentiment at the time that the towns went to great expense to avoid having their men drafted by providing generous bonuses to volunteers.

Furthermore, during the latter part of the War, towns and the state helped men avoid the draft by providing them with funds to hire substitutes.

Speaker Waterman authored a book on this subject, Raising Lincoln’s Army. He also wrote one titled Mother, You Mustn’t Worry So About Us, a collection of 168 letters Clark and James McDonald wrote home to their family in Meredith during the Civil War.

Waterman is currently President of Meredith Historical Society and Town of Meredith Historian. He is a retired Professor of Medical Physics who returned to his hometown where he now devotes much of his time to researching, writing, and teaching the history of the town of Meredith.

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