These actions are felt by many to have been the start of the Civil War. (Though other actions predated this.)
If required to register, you would be given a time and place to go to do this. Once enough names were collected, the names would all be fed into a giant wheel. It would later be spun and officials would reach in and pull out the names of the lucky (unlucky) ones until enough had been selected. They would then be so advised.
The legislation also provided for two alternatives for actually having to become a soldier, sailor etc. The first allowed anyone who got the call, to get someone else... a substitute... to do the job for him. You had to pay the fellow, and the legislation said you could not pay more than $300 for the volunteer to volunteer to come forward on your behalf. This rule was often broken. A second was to deal with the matter was to simply "COMMUTE" your duty by paying to the government the $300 fee. It would then presumably use that money in other ways for the war effort.
While the idea probably seemed great at the time, it had its problems. First off, the cry of the day, with considerable merit, was that the war had just became a "Rich Man's War Where the Poor Man Had To Fight."
From the above posters you can see a third situation. In this the men... and boys more than likely, fearing the draft were encouraged to accept a bounty by the government at the federal level, the state and even local levels to go off to war. These bounties ranged from lower amounts of around $25 to upwards of $1,000 and often well beyond. To get an idea of what the normal $300 could do for you in Civil War days, it could buy you a nice farm. And at $300, that would equate to almost two years soldiering at the normal rate in those days of about $13 a month.
These bounties created major problems. Bounty men who were charged with going out and getting recruits would keep much of the bounty being offered. They would sometimes solicit those they knew full well did not qualify knowing that after a few days they would be mustered out, but the bounty man got his finders fee upfront anyway. And worse... Thousands of soldiers used fake names and home towns, got a bounty and then later deserted to only show up in the next town or county and do the same things over again and collect another bounty. Then they would repeat as often as they could pull it off. One fellow went to jail for 4 years after DOING IT THIRTY TWO TIMES. Many were hung. One poor fellow was not too bright. After repeatedly doing it and using the money to buy women, the one he left back at home found out about it and searched for him...and found him...with another woman. She turned him in and he was later hanged.
The total amount paid out for bounties in the Civil War is said to have been at $750 MILLION, and an internet site further quotes the fact that NINETY TWO percent of those fighting got one kind of a bounty or another. Not sure if this is a Northern figure or including the South, who also paid bounties for a while them cut them out. I'm also not sure if this figure includes the $50,000 an agent used in a guise to get bounty jumpers to step into his den so he could arrest them. Trouble is he found a better use for the money. He took off with it to a place called... Canada... Hmmm!
One internet site also indicated that when some of these "entrepreneurs" came along for too many bounties they were even tortured with the old medieval thumbscrew.
With these horrible devises the convicted fellow had his thumb or finger put into the clamp and it is slowly clamped down until it crushes the finger etc. Some even had sharp protrusions that would pierce and cause more pain as the device was closed on the thumb.
In older days they even had larger versions of these for toes, elbows and knees apparently.
Hundreds of convicted bounty jumpers were held at the horrible Anderson prison, and it is said that at one point there were over 3,000 of these fellows roaming the streets of New York.
Not all those who served were bounty men. Some actually got the draft and these two wheels above were actual draft wheels used to select some of those who served in the Civil War. There information was put on paper and slipped into the wheel, it was spun and then selections made by simply reaching in and grabbing some papers.
In August of 1863 Grover Cleveland's name was pulled from a wheel like this. He would pay for "commutation of his service" by reassigning it to another man. Years later he would be President of the United States. John D Rockefeller would also pay to have another serve for him.
In November of 1862 a fellow by the name of Robert Barry hired 18 year old John Staples from Pennsylvania to go off to war for him. He did but just a few months later he got typhoid and had to get a release. But he must have liked the idea and agreed with another fellow to do the same again. And this time he got a whopping $500 bucks for doing it. The fellow that hired him was a busy man and just wanted another to carry out his moral obligation. Though it wasn't a legal one. Cause he was too old to be drafted.
Here's Staples picture as a youth and the very document he signed. Read it carefully to see who he was substituting for.