Conscription Becomes a Law

May 3, 1917

Work to Begin Shortly–Will Include Those 21 to 27


Very Likely That the Sheriffs Will Summons the Men to the Colors–One-half of Allottment Will Have to Don Uniforms and Also Shoulder the Rifle For United States Government

Conscription, which has passed both Houses in Congress, and which becomes a law this week, after the rough edges are smoothed down, will make all men between the ages of 21 and 27 years liable for military duty.

The first call to arms in Maryland is expected to come within about two weeks. Governor Harrington, as well as Governors of other States or their representatives, held a conference with Secretary Saker, of the War Department and the National Counsel of Defense, on Wednesday. While in Washington, they will become acquainted with plans and details worked out by the General Staff for conscription, for mobilization of regiments and “rookies” in camp.

In accordance with the Federal plan, which will be enacted into law before the end of the week, the first call will be for young men from 21 to 271 years of age. The call to those beyond 27 years of age will come as emergency may demand. The men will be summoned by the Sheriffs of Carroll and of the several Counties to a mandatory council employed in selecting juries. This will be the registration stage. While a thousand men might be called in one County, only 500 would actually be required to don uniforms, shoulder rifles and get read to go to war.

With the settling of a registration day throughout Maryland Governor Herrington expects that this will be preceded by a proclamation commanding all men within the military age limits to appear at their several registration and polling places on the specified day and register. A heavy penalty will be provided for all who disobey the order.

Just how soon the actual drawing of lots and the drafting will take place has not been decided, but Governor Harrington believes several months may elapse before the next move. When the date for the latter is decided upon each state will be notified of the quota of men to be drafted and these totals will be subdivided among the various units, for example, among the twenty-three Counties of the State and Baltimore City.

This drafting will have no bearing on the work of raising the Maryland National Guard to war strength. The latter has not yet been authorized, but Adjutant General Warfield believes such an order will soon follow the passage of the drafting bill. Maryland is already equipped with the necessary machinery to draft men for National Guard service if necessary, and it is estimated that about 6,000 men will be necessary to bring the ranks up to full strength. In addition to this number Maryland will be allotted about 7,000 men to raise for service in the half million men army and additional drives will be made for about 2,500 volunteers for the regular army of 270,000 and for additional numbers for the Navy and Marine Corps.

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