Volunteer or be drafted. That was the message barely beneath the surface of Wisconsin Civil War recruitment posters like the one that shouted, “Arouse! Volunteers Wanted!”
Wisconsin, like other states, was having difficulty filling its volunteer quota set by the federal government. The recruitment posters alone did not spur enlistments, so President Lincoln mandated that any state unable to provide its quota of men through voluntary means by Aug. 15, 1862 had to draft men between the ages of 18 to 45 to make up the difference.