The Voluntary Manner in Which Some of the Southern Volunteers Enlist.

The Voluntary Manner in Which Some of the Southern Volunteers Enlist.

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This sardonic print mocks the enlistment of a Southern “volunteer” after the passage of the Confederate conscription law of April 16, 1862. A Southern man is reluctantly forced into a recruiting office by bayonets. The recruitment officer inside sits at a table supported by a cask of whiskey and a bottle sits at the man’s feet. Behind him on the wall, a poster celebrates a “Glorious Victory for the South,” reporting the death of Union General Nathaniel Lyon and that 800 enemy soldiers had been killed with another 2,000 captured. A bearded soldier holding a pistol leans against the right wall. Above him, another poster, accompanied by a hanged effigy of Lincoln, fantasizes about the “Suicide of Abe Lincoln … Washington to be Taken,” signed by J.B. Floyd. Floyd had served as Buchanan’s Secretary of War, and was accused of bolstering supplies of arms and ammunition in Southern states before the war. In the lower right corner sits of collection of household goods, labeled, “Prizes taken by the Southern Navy.” Since naval prizes refer to captured ships this mocks the perceived ineptitude of the Confederate Navy, but also alludes to the preference of Southern captains to take part in the lucrative enterprise of blockade-running, rather than serve as privateers. In the lower right, a dog urinates on a passed out man, above whose head hangs a notice accusing him of being a Northern sympathizer. It grants permission for the confiscation of his property, authorized by Jefferson Davis, and Robert Toombs, his Secretary of State.
Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and after serving an apprenticeship in Boston, he moved to New York City in 1834. In New York, he briefly partnered with Adam Stodart, but their firm dissolved within a year, and Currier went into business on his own until 1857. James M. Ives (1824-1895) was a native New York lithographer who was hired as a bookkeeper by Currier in 1852. In 1857, the two men partnered, forming the famous lithography firm of Currier and Ives, which continued under their sons until 1907.
Although never an actual staff member of Currier & Ives, Thomas Worth (1834-1917) was one of the lithographers’ major contributors, selling them his many drawings and cartoons. His most famous series of sketches for the firm was his “Darktown” cartoons, which included heavily stereotyped, racist depictions of African-Americans living in the North after the Civil War. In the early 1900s, Worth drew cover illustrations for the dime novels of Frank Tousey.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Worth, Thomas
place made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 10 in x 14 in; 25.4 cm x 35.56 cm
ID Number
catalog number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Political Caricatures
Communication, letter writing
Uniforms, Military
Civil War
Civil War
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Clothing & Accessories
Domestic Furnishings
American Civil War Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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