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American “Scutage”Edit

This term, denoting a draftee’s act of paying someone else to fight in the draftee’s place, was probably not used in the United States—but the process was.

I have this information from oral history provided by my father, Robert S. Hatcher. He was a Naval Academy graduate (Class of 1924) who served as a Naval Aviator & aeronautical engineer until retirement as a Rear Admiral in 1955. My father didn’t personally know his paternal grandfather, who had died suddenly in his sleep. My dad’s father, still a boy, was left an orphan—his mother having died some years prior. (My father would lose his father in the great influenza pandemic of 1917-1919, when my dad was a teenager.)

The story dates to the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln instituted what I believe was the first military draft in American history. My father passed to me the story his father had told him: that his grandfather had paid someone to take his place in Lincoln’s army. That he had this option suggests that “scutage” was practiced in this country as in England. I don’t know if it was an officially accepted practice or if it took place sub rosa. My dad clearly felt contempt regarding it.

Elizabeth R Hatcher MD PhD Research99Robin (talk) 21:46, 13 August 2019 (UTC)

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