Would You Enlist Under These Terms?: Seven Calls for Enlistees

I. From the Carthage, Tennessee, Gazette, April 2, 1813

Is now opened at Carthage
For the reception of those
Patriotic Sons of Co-
lumbia, who wish to
step forward in
the cause of
their country.

THERE shall be paid to each effective able bodied man, who shall enlist into the service of the U. S. to serve for the term of five years, or during the WAR, a bounty of sixteen dollars, and an advance of twenty-four dollars on account of his pay–one half of such bounty, and advance, to be paid at the enlistment of the RECRUIT, and the other half, when he shall be mustered, and have joined some Military Corps of the U. S. for service–and a bounty of one hundred and sixty acres of LAND.  Each RECRUIT shall receive Eight Dollars per month, and during his continuance in Service shall not be ARRESTED, or subject to ARREST, or to be taken in EXECUTION, for any DEBT, contracted before, or after Enlistment.

Lt. 7th Infantry.
Carthage, March 28, 1813

N.B.  A good DRUMMER and FIFER will receive 15 dollars per month, and one ration per day, each.”

II. PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS, from the Carthage, Tennessee, Gazette, October 1, 1813


Our Country, in every direction is flying to Arms for the relief of the White Settlements on the Mobile from a repetition of savage massacre and indiscriminate murder to which hundreds have just fallen a victim.  Will the Citizens of Smith county remain idle spectators in a cause so noble and so meritorious–is there a spark of manly feeling that would not be proud to share the glory, and participate in the event of a campaign, intended to arrest the Tomahawk from the hand of a yelling Savage, stained with the blood of a generous husband, in the presence of a helpless wife–whose only respite from a like cruel death, is the time it will take the ruthless assassins to shew her the bowels of her tender infant–the present is no time to wait for making cold calculations on the profits or privations incident to changing your homes for a tented field–nor is it the time to show your Patriotism by words and empty professions.  Acts, brave and enterprising only, now will suffice.  Will you at such a moment, disappoint all who have heard your boasting ‘love of country.’  It is expected there is but few whose situation will not permit them to take a tour of sixty days, mounted upon a strong horse, with a good rifle or musket–and but few of them that would not think themselves sufficiently compensated in the love & esteem that welcomes the return of a victorious citizen soldier to the bosom of his friends—-Independent of every assurance given by the example of a just and generous policy heretofore pursued by the General Government towards every class of Citizens engaged in her service.  All who wish to go, may have opportunity of enrolling themselves with ROBERT ALLEN for sixty days, if application is made within three days those who cannot go, & wish to aid in a voluntary contribution for the comfort of such as can, are also requested to come forward with whatever sum their convenience can part with, and deposit it in the hands of Robert Allen, appointed by a committee of arrangements for that purpose.”


Seventy-five cents a day to do nothing.–We have lately received orders from Col. Russell to recruit, without delay our company of Rangers.  This is a glorious opening to young gentlemen who feel too lazy to work; such will do well to come forward immediately and be sworn in, while they have an opportunity.  Reflect but a moment on the horrors that attend the cornfield in the hot months of July and August, and on the pleasures of laying flat on your backs under a shady beech, or strolling lordly through the woods with your gun, and common sense will point out the choice.  This summer may perhaps close the war, and you may never again have an opportunity of making your names immortal!  Who would not wish to die when death produces eternal existence on the pages of history!  And I give you my word, my lads, your names will be recorded there.  Should you not be destined to honors of so high a kind–should you be doomed to survive the contest, with what pleasure would your old daddies and mammies and sweethearts receive you–you will furnish a pleasing subject to the old folks while they live, to tell of the hair-breadth escapes you have made, and the feats and wonders you have performed, particularly if you should come home with a string of scalps dangling at your backs.  But enough of this, we yet want about fifty men.–Lieut. Hillis will receive you if you should be more convenient to him–and at this place I shall attend myself, or, in my absence, leave some person that will receive those who wish to join.

GREEN B. FIELD, Ensign of the U. S. Rangers”

Reprinted from “a western democratic paper,” by the Commercial Advertiser, June 29, 1814.

Ensign Green was a member of Captain Williamson Dunn’s Company of Rangers, (which did take scalps) which was mustered out in March, 1814, but “in June an Act of Congress was passed authorizing the re-raising of Dunn’s company.  In re-organizing the Rangers, Dunn, Brinton and Ristine resigned from the service and left Hillis and Fields to get up the company.  . . .  The company was mustered service by Major Zachery Taylor in Madison [Indiana] on Main Cross street . . . .”  –“Reminiscences of a Jefferson County Pioneer”  http://www.mjcpl.org/historyrescue/records/thomas-wise-of-shelby-township


Seth W. Nye, of Boston, used a recent event to arouse a desire among men to enlist.  This from the Boston Yankee of October 8, 1813:

“ATTENTION!  All Patriotic Young Men, Who are disposed to serve their Country, and to enter the ranks of the 40th Regiment of Infantry, under the Act of July 5th, 1813, are requested to repair to the Rendezvous North Side the Market.

The unprincipled attack on Hampton must rouse the spirit of every true friend to his country, and must prove the necessity of a commanding defence at every point.  That enemy who will not revere your Wives and Daughters is more brutal than the Savage; his unprincipled warfare must and will arouse a patriotic pride and ambition in the breast of every noble and generous mind, to avenge their Country’s wrongs on such a dastardly foe.”


Another recruiting address, this one printed by the Boston Yankee on February 18, 1814, concludes by appealing to the religious:  “God gave this fine country to us, and not to the English or French.  He has fitted this country to our wants, and given us health to enjoy it; and only demands of us spirit and courage to defend it against the Indians and the English.

Come forth, then, in your pride and to your might, Young Men of Massachusetts!  ‘Subdue the earth’ destined for your portion, ‘and replenish it’–but remember! O remember, that before your children can inherit the land, their fathers must clear it of its enemies!


VI. Who Will Volunteer in defence of his country? From the Albany Argus, April 8, 1814. 

“The subscriber [Capt. R. C. Skinner] is authorised to enroll, or enlist for six months, such patriotic volunteers as are disposed to join the standard of their country–to commence from the first of May next.  In addition to the emoluments from the government, I will present, gratis, from my individual resources, to each able bodied effective man that will enroll and march with me to the place of rendezvous, one handsome Rifle frock, one pair of  Pantaloons, and one Hat or Cap; or in lieu thereof all the monthly pay (be it more or less) that I may be entitled to receive from the government for my services during that period, to be divided equally between every man that thus enrolls, and accompanies me to the place of rendezvous.

Let us have the honor, fellow citizens, of exhibiting an example in the City of Albany, worthy the imitation of all those that love their country, and are willing to defend it. . . .

Many of us have relations or friends that reside on the frontiers–shall we again listen with apathy to the useless cries for mercy from a barbarous vindictive foe?  Shall we remain idle spectators of another such horrid scene of cold blooded, deliberate murder of peaceable, inoffensive men, women and children, as recently occurred on the Niagara frontier? . . . .  Come forward, then, immediately if you intend to join us; delays are dangerous, the campaign will probably soon open, and if we intend to acquire honor by our services, we must join the army early in the month of May.

VII. Time to Enlist is Getting Short, from a Lexington Paper, January 15, 1815, reprinted by the Commercial Advertiser, February 10, 1815.


All young Men of desperate fortunes; all married men who live unhappily with their wives; all who groan under the pressure of the times, and all who are willing to escape from their difficulties by the surrender of their existence; all who are inspired with the holy zeal of patriotism, and feel prepared to encounter death in its most tremendous horrors; all who are indignant at the arrogance and enormities of our barbarous foe, and pant for an opportunity to hurl vengeance on his head; are requested to assemble at the Court House in Lexington, at 3 o’clock on Wednesday next, to make arrangements for an immediate march to New Orleans, to participate in the arduous struggle for the preservation of that GREAT KEY TO THE WESTERN WORLD.                                                                        NEILSON NICHOLAS’

About the Author

Mary Bowden is a researcher working at the Texas Collections Deposit Library at the University of Texas. A little-known but invaluable treasure of U.S. history and the history of American journalism is archived in the collection of bound United States’ Newspapers at the University of Texas at Austin. The collection began more than a century ago and has been stored in recent years in the Texas Collections Deposit Library on the campus of the University of Texas. The sizeable archive is currently in the early stages of being digitized before being moved to a more climate-controlled environment at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus of the University, on the north side of Austin.

Mary Bowden