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Old 01-02-2016, 04:03 AM
 
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Mainly asking about 1840's-50's and 1870's-80's. not the Civil War era.

During these periods when a person enlisted, was it always for a standard predetermined time period; 2 years or whatever? Or were there details that went "until the job was done", like various expeditions?

Also, were people honorably discharged when they didn't want to be because it suited the Army?

I'm reading about the wild west, and they way they talk about people mustering out is a little confusing to me. It seems like some people mustered out only to re-enlist a couple days later. Were they forced out so they had to re-enlist and pay would stay low or something?
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Old 01-02-2016, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Elysium
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Having never studied the process my guess would be enlisted soldiers decided at the last moment to reenlist or their parent regiment was being decommissioned and they had to find a new home. There wasn't an up or out process for officers but they would stagnate at their permanent rank hoping to return to their wartime brevet rank.
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Old 01-02-2016, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Chesapeake Bay
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If you were an officer and had graduated from West Point you were a very well trained engineer. And there was a big demand for people with those skills outside the military after the civil war especially in the 1870s and 80s. So I've read.
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Old 01-02-2016, 02:50 PM
 
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All I can find is that with the exception of the Mexican American war the U.S. Army was a tiny force of enlisted men and officers. All I can find is that enlistments were for a period of five years. When if came to volunteer unites raised by the state, enlistments seem to have been all over the place some as short as months and others for the entire duration. Then there is the complication of paying substitutes, and enlistment and reenlistment bonuses which again seem to vary from state to state unit to unit. Apparently this pattern was followed during and after Civil War years.

The Army historians have published a number of informative articles on Army life at different periods.
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