The Index – 10 March 1864
An article about ‘Federal Enlistment in Ireland’ from 10 March 1864, copied from The Irish Times. It reports that over 600 men had recently left Dublin bound for America after being approached by Federal agents sent to the city to find men to fight. Although ‘the men are not told in express words that they must enlist in the Federal armies…they know very well what they are required to do, and what they must do’. The Irish Times argues that this was an ‘iniquitous scheme of deception…a wicked device so successful’ and that young men ‘are plundered to compel them to enlist’.
As with the article from February 1864, The Index, which circulated in Ireland, draws attention to the Union Army recruiting Irishmen through coercion and without the realisation that agents were often paid for volunteering recruits, thus they are acting for their own profit instead of any patriotic cause. It is not known how much truth there is behind claims of Federal enlistment in Ireland. Certainly Irish-born immigrants and descendents fought before both sides during the war, and there were Union agents in Ireland, but it is unclear whether the level of forced enlistment is as great at the article suggests.
It should also be noted that the Confederacy had their own agents in Ireland and Britain that sought support for their causes in numerous ways, including recruitment. An interesting letter about the task of one Confederate agent in Ireland can be found here.