Chester County, Pennsylvania
County of Chester
313 West Market Street
West Chester, PA 19380

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Civil War Bounty Records, 1862-1865

To guarantee a certain number of troops during the Civil War the federal government set quotas of soldiers to be enlisted from each state. The state (PA) in turn divided the number by the population of townships, boroughs, etc and set a quota for each to fill. If enough volunteers enlisted to fill a local quota a county draft wasn’t used. Men from Chester County were first drafted in August 1862. To fill quotas County Commissioners could borrow, tax, and levy county residents to pay each soldier, volunteer and draftee, a bounty or promissory note (script) for a certain amount of money depending on how long the soldier enlisted to serve. The townships did the same with local funding. In an effort to get the men from other townships to fill their quotas some townships paid more money than others.

Four types of bounties are indexed here:

Receipts of muster – Enlistment officers returned these to the County Treasurer as proof of having given county funds to soldiers. These include individuals’ volunteer, muster, and draft certificates.

Applications – Filed with and paid by County Commissioners in 1865 for soldiers or their surviving relatives when a bounty was not received during the war by soldiers credited to Chester County.

Bounty Volume – A list of soldiers who were paid bounties by the County Treasurer

Bounty Lists – Lists of men submitted for credit towards the quota who received bounties. These lists generally only contain the name of the soldier and the township credited.

Most bounties include name, age, place of residence, company, regiment, rank, and term of service of soldier. Additional information may include physical and racial descriptions and limited family information.

Miscellaneous Records

Descriptive Muster Rolls – Lists of men mustered into specific companies. These generally contain a wealth of personal information, including occupations, ages, and physical descriptions.

1st Draft List – List of men selected for the first county draft in 1862. The list contains the name of the soldier, township of residence, occupation and name of substitute if applicable.
 Civil War Bounty
Chester County Archives & Record Services

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West Chester, PA 19380-0990

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Chester County