The start of the United States Civil War in 1861 necessitated an increase in the U.S. military force from a population of approximately 16,000 men just prior to the beginning of the war to 700,000 men in less than one year. By the completion of the war four years later, an estimated 2,000,000 soldiers fought for the Union. The dramatic increase in manpower required a rapid response to supply the soldiers with clothing, equipment, and food. This paper analyzes the procurement process and its challenges during the early years of the war, from the initial rush to obtain a large number of supplies when established purchasing procedures were ignored, to the implementation of formalized internal controls and the adoption of the False Claims Act that was used to punish frauds carried out by procurement officers and outside contractors. This paper considers the political influences affecting procurement and finds that politics played only a small role in procurement, although a greater role in oversight of the procurement department.

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