1863 : American Draft Dodgers Seeking Refuge in Windsor and Other Parts of Canada

March 15, 2022 all-day

The Detroit Advertiser of March 15, 1863, said that the number of skedaddlers climbed daily in Windsor, “though for the honor of Michigan, we are happy to say that they are by no means all from this State.” The Advertiser said that Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa contributed their fair share of skedaddlers to Canada. According to the Advertiser, there were over 400 of the skedaddlers in Windsor and some of the Windsor citizens estimated the number to be as high as a thousand. There were also a large number in Amherstburg, Sandwich, Chatham, and scattered through settlements along the Canadian frontier.

After the Civil War ended, the American government offered an amnesty proclamation in May 1865, assuring draft dodgers that they wouldn’t be punished if they returned home.

Source : Kathy Warnes, “Skedaddling to Canada and Back”, Definitely Downriver, July 2012.

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