Excerpt from Eastchester
Bounty Bond Book
The Bounty System
1863 marked a sea change in the course of the war, as the financial burden of supporting the Union effort shifted from private to public sources. The instituting of a state bounty of $300 was perhaps the watershed moment in this change. Bounties were monies paid to volunteers as a way both to encourage enlistment and to avoid conscription, better known as the draft. Though smaller bounties had been paid in the early years of the war, in the latter half bounties sometimes reached as high as hundreds of dollars per man. One estimate puts total bounty payments for the war at $750,000,000.
As the war continued, and as the Union required more recruits than it was able to summon, bounties shifted the financial burden away from the individual and onto the town, and then the county, and eventually the state.