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 A Question About War

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NoCoPilot

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PostSubject: A Question About War   Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:31 am

Was WWI the first war in which non-professional soldiers, i.e. drafted civilians, did the bulk of the fighting?
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_Howard
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PostSubject: Re: A Question About War   Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:24 pm

During the American revolution, civilians were conscripted (drafted) into state militias, and sometimes later sent to the Continental Army.

Theophilus Baxter, my five-greats grandfather was conscripted into a militia (S. Carolina, I think). His son, Israel (four greats), went in his place. Theophilus was nonetheless arrested by the British. He escaped, but was arrested again and died while in British custody. Israel was transferred to the Continental Army, and served just over four years, ending his career as an NCO under Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox."
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PostSubject: Re: A Question About War   Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:16 pm

Well the American War of Independence (1775-1782) doesn't really count, does it, because there was no standing army of the colonies. Or was there?
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PostSubject: Re: A Question About War   Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:20 pm

Wikipedia wrote:
Conscription in the United States, commonly known as the draft, has been employed by the federal government of the United States in four conflicts: the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War (including both the Korean and Vietnam Wars).
So the American Civil War (1861-1865) conscription pre-dated WWI.
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PostSubject: Re: A Question About War   Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:45 pm

NoCoPilot wrote:
Well the American War of Independence (1775-1782) doesn't really count, does it, because there was no standing army of the colonies.  Or was there?  
Yes, there was. The Continental Army.
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PostSubject: Re: A Question About War   Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:50 pm

Well, the so-called "Continental Army" wasn't really a professional government-sponsored fighting force.
Quote :
The Continental Army suffered from the shortcomings of the Continental Congress. The Congress had no authority to legislate, to levy taxes, or to raise troops except by appeals to volunteers. They could only request that the states provide soldiers and funds with which to pay them, which was never easy. The states had their own militias, which they would from time to time provide to support the regular army, but which they might also prefer to support as the militias were dedicated to local defense.

Throughout the war, the continental soldiers were poorly armed, poorly clothed, poorly fed, and poorly paid. The rifles they carried were an assortment of home made and imported weapons. The men from the frontiers used long rifles that had longer range than their British opponents, and they were often better shots. There was no uniform, and many soldiers were reduced to rags.

What I was trying to get at, in my original question, is that tons of civilians were called up (worldwide) to fight WWI.  The existing standing armies were beefed up to many times their pre-war size.  Men came from all walks of life, all professions, to join the War to End All Wars.

I'm reading a biography of A.A. Milne, who left his post at University to join the war.
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