Wednesday, August 3, 2011

American Civil War 1861-1864

While researching information on Alexander Brossoit, a few years back, I came across this bit of information.  Why I think it is interesting is because in all of the Canadian censuses that I have looked at for Brossoit's, (or Broissoit) the only Alfred I have found is Alexander's older brother and he is the right age for this event, being born in 1847. 

          "Not all French Canadians were enlisted into the Union forces of their own free will. During the Civil War, both sides used entrapment and coercion to fill their ranks. Some French Canadians were illegally drafted in the United States while others who had become American citizens were subject to the draft. During the conflict, stories abounded of "crimps" drawing Canadians over the border with the promise of work and tricking or coercing them into enlisting. These stories generally follow a predictable pattern: An American would hire a French Canadian or promise him work across the border. The French Canadian would cross the border and go out and get drunk with his new friend (sometimes victims were drugged). The next morning, he would awake hung over in a barracks dressed in a blue uniform and discover that he had enlisted in the Union army. Often, his freedom and his bounty had been taken away. Some men were abducted from their homes along the American border, while others were arrested while in the U.S. for alleged desertion from an army to which they had never belonged and were forced to enlist to avoid incarceration. The Collector of Customs at Coaticook, Quebec, claimed that crimps made it unsafe for townsmen to be out at night. Reports of mere boys being tricked into recruiting were not uncommon.

          In 1864, six French Canadians petitioned the Governor-General of British North America, Lord Monck (1819-1894), on behalf of a sixteen-year-old named Alfred Broissoit who had been made drunk by a recruiting officer, taken from Montreal to the United States where he enlisted and then was fleeced of his bounty money and forced to sign a receipt for a sum greatly in excess of his bounty."

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