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The Draft

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Drawing Lottery Numbers for the Draft, 1917
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

The Draft

The Selective Service Act of 1917 required all males between the age of 21 and 31 to register for the draft.  The draft had five classes of draft eligibility:  
        Class 1, all eligible males                                                                                       Class 2-3, temporary and exempted from draft until needed                                 Class 4, exempted for hardship                                                                              Class 5, ineligible                    
Unlike the draft in the Civil War, hiring a substitute was not allowed.  The first draft was on June 5, 1917.  In 1918, the law was modified to raise the draft age to 45.  The final draft call ups of the war was in July and then September 1918. Draftees made up 2.8 million of the 4 million strong Armed Forces in World War I.  Of the 2.8 million men drafted, 290,527 were African Americans.  The draft mobilized 2,224 men from Loudoun County and 591 were inducted into military service.

  • 1,755 White
  • 468 Black
  • 1 "Oriental"
  • 591 Inducted
  • 32 Lost their lives
         (From Frontier to Suburbia by Charles P. Poland Jr., page 312).

Clerk of the Circuit Court Historic Records has two books: Muster Roll in the War with Germany, and the World War Memorial Record (only eight veterans are listed in Loudoun's war memorial record)*.  Each county in Virginia was mandated to create a Muster Roll in the War with Germany listing county residents serving in the Armed Forces.  The following is a breakdown of Loudoun's Muster Roll:

  • 443 White
  • 179 Black
  • 12 Unknown

  • 509 Drafted
  • 107 Volunteered
  • 24 Unknown

  • 571 Army**
  • 12 Marine
  • 27 Navy
  • 24 Unknown

*An act passed by the Virginia General Assembly on March 16, 1918 required records be kept of the names of drafted men. The chairmen of each local draft board in the counties and cities of Virginia were required to furnish the Clerk of Court with a list of residents who joined the Armed Forces through the selective draft law. (Library of Virginia)

** Thirty-two of these individuals were Student Army Training Corp cadets.  The SATC officially began on October 1, 1918. It was located in 525 educational institutions and inducted 200,000 total students on the first day. Unlike the Selective Service Draft, enrollment in the SATC was completely voluntary.

Helpful Links

Draft in Virginia

Search Online for World War I Records from Virginia

Virginia Counties with a Muster Roll in the War with Germany: Albemarle Co., Bedford Co., City of Fredericksburg, Greenville Co., Hanover Co., Harrisonburg/Rockingham Co., King and Queen Co., Louisa Co., Lunenberg Co., Montgomery Co., Nelson Co., Page Co., Pittsylvania Co., Prince William Co., Pulaski Co., City of Richmond, Sussex Co., City of Virginia Beach, Warren Co. 

Contact UsEric Larson
Historic Records manager

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•  Historic Records Brochure
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Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Physical Address:
Clerk of the Circuit Court
Attn: Historic Records
18 East Market St.
Leesburg, VA 20176
Mailing Address:
Clerk of the Circuit Court
Attn: Historic Records
P.O. Box 550
Leesburg, VA 20178
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