This recruiting broadside bears testimony to a little known aspect of the Civil War—the federal government’s active recruitment of Southerners for the Union Army. By the end of the war, every Southern state except South Carolina had provided at least one battalion to the federal government. Some 100,000 Southerners fought for the Union during the course of the war.
When this broadside was printed (probably in late 1861), President Lincoln was hopeful that General McClellan’s advance from Washington to Richmond would facilitate the recruitment of a new Virginia brigade of Union sympathizers. When McClellan failed to advance, the plans for the First Virginia were abandoned, and the soldiers who had signed on were dispersed to other brigades.