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Enlistment of Irish and German Emigrants on the Battery, at New York

The Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1278, p. 285.

September 17, 1864

Battery, At New York.

Our Engraving (from a sketch by Mr. C. D. Shanly, of New York) gives a fair idea of the scene which may be witnessed any day in that city, where the most strenuous efforts are now made to draw foreigners to the recruiting-offices. Castle Garden--once a popular place of amusement, and famous because within its walls Jenny Lind first sang before an American audience--has for several years past been used as a harbour of refuge for newly-arrived emigrants from all parts of Europe. Close by it, on the piece of ground known as the Battery, a large recruiting-station has just been established. Immense placards, in English and German, calling for men to serve in the army and navy of the United States, are displayed on the walls of the buildings, and the tempting sum of 600 dollars is offered to the wavering emigrants to induce them to enlist. But this sum of 600 dollars is in paper, not in gold; so that, with the existing depreciation of the United States currency, it is worth but little more than one third of that amount. It may be owing to this that the recruiting officers on the Battery do not appear to be doing a very brisk business among the emigrants. On the occasion of our Artist's last visit to the place there were a good many Germans and Irish loitering around, but he did not remark any great display of military ardour among them. No drink stronger than lemonade is allowed to be dispensed at Castle Garden, and a tall Irishman was observed wincing under the application of that mild acid, with which a dyspeptic-looking soldier was trying to convert him into food for powder. Whisky-punch would have been more to the purpose. The German women--bronzed, buxom lasses, for the most part, in jaunty hats and feathers--look very sharp after their young men, interfering sadly between them and the insinuating sergeants. The fifes and drums on the roof of the principal recruiting-office are like reminiscences of Richardson's Booth. They have no attractions for the Germans, at least, who are accustomed to better music at home. In the foreground of the Engraving we observe a self-possessed boy, with but few clothes upon him. He is a type of the unaccountable young gentleman peculiar to all American crowds--hatless, shoeless, almost nude, but always provided with the contingent remainder of a cigar, and evidently quite aware that there is no legal barrier between him and the Presidential chair at the White House.

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