Are there accounts of soldiers who were ordered to, or who volunteered to act as a deserter; just to deceive the enemy?

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Occasionally while reading about the civil war I see where it's said or inferred some deserters were sent or "planted" to mislead the enemy with exaggerated numbers, I can see where on one hand such a strategy would make sense.......

But don't think I've ever seen actual evidence of soldiers being ordered to, or volunteering to possibly spend a year or more in a POW camp, does anyone know of accounts that show a deserter was ordered to, or volunteered to desert to just deceive the enemy?
 

Lubliner

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I had one on a thread over a year ago on Lieutenant Wolfe I believe it was. Back in 1862 a scout or spy had flip-flopped sides from after 1st Bull Run and returned to MacClellan's command (Casey?) at Fort Monroe before the movement on Yorktown. At that point in the war it may have been possible to claim desertion and be sworn into the opposing army. He had been six months among the confederates when he returned. The Official Records was my source.
Lubliner.
 

Lubliner

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I found the post I previously mentioned. Lieutenant Wolfe, 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry | Civil War History Discussion | American Civil War Forums (civilwartalk.com) post #12, and copy;

Turning to the Official Records, Series 1 Volume 11, Part 3 again; on page 22;
Lieutenant-Colonel D. P. Woodbury reported to General McClellan while he was still at the Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia on March 19, 1862 a full report. This excerpt is in reference to the above;

"A pretended deserter from our ranks, sent out by General Wool several months ago, has recently returned, a real deserter from the enemy, with precise information on the rebel works between York and James Rivers."

Lubliner.
 

James N.

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Occasionally while reading about the civil war I see where it's said or inferred some deserters were sent or "planted" to mislead the enemy with exaggerated numbers, I can see where on one hand such a strategy would make sense.......

But don't think I've ever seen actual evidence of soldiers being ordered to, or volunteering to possibly spend a year or more in a POW camp, does anyone know of accounts that show a deserter was ordered to, or volunteered to desert to just deceive the enemy?
I have not heard of this before. Where have you read that it occurred?
Recently reading Tim Smith's Corinth.
It would have been easier to find volunteers before the prisoner exchange ended in July 1863.
Stone in the wall is correct - In another example from Corinth, since our return from there I've been checking out a book of letters entitled A Wisconsin Boy In Dixie in which the author recounts to his family having been captured there in the October, 1862 battle and being forced to accompany the retreating Rebels until reaching Tupelo and then being forwarded to Vicksburg by train for prisoner exchange. From there, he went back north to Benton Barracks, Missouri for recuperation before rejoining his regiment, the 14th Wisconsin. Although he wasn't any kind of mole or spy the process was likely similar and only took him out of action for a month or so.
 
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GwilymT

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I would think that stragglers, foragers, pickets, or lost soldiers who happened to come across the enemy would have a definite incentive to claim to be deserters in an effort to gain better treatment. Thus I think most “desertion” numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt. Also, these same men would certainly want to mislead the enemy on one hand or say almost anything to avoid unpleasantness on the other. While there may be certain instances of “planned” desertion to mislead the enemy, I can’t imagine this being policy or a tactic used on a large scale.
 

Rhea Cole

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"But instead of halting to consolidate his scattered forces, Rosecrans overplayed his hand, pressing forward in the hopes of destroying what he believed to be a defeated & demoralized Confederate army in Georgia. But the Army of Tennessee was far from beaten. In fact, Bragg had sowed the area with false "deserters" whose job was to deceive Rosecrans. The result was a disjointed advance in which Rosecrans' corps were unable to provide mutual support."

The Shipwreck of Their Hopes by Mackubin T. Owens Ashland University

"Bragg finally recognized that the Union army's demonstrations north of Chattanooga were designed to deceive hime & that Rosecrans' main thrust was to the south. On 7 September, he ordered the evacuation of the city, & the next day all of his troops (including Buckner's corps) began moving toward La Fayette, GA, about twenty-five miles south of Chattanooga. Crittenden's troops occupied Chattanooga on 9 September without a fight, & Rosecrans telegraphed Halleck, "Chattanooga is ours without a struggle & East Tennessee is free." Rosecrans assumed that Bragg's entire force was in full retreat toward rebel supply points at Dalton & Ringold, GA, & that the force could be destroyed while in flight. Rebel deserters attested to the desperate condition of the retreating Confederates.

In fact, far from being in flight, Bragg's rebel army halted east of Pigeon Mountain, near Lafayette. Bragg contemplated an attack on the advancing Federals, whom he had deceived by planting "deserters" with false stories of disorder within the southern ranks."

The Civil War in the West, 1863 by Anderw N. Morris, Center of Military History United States Army, Washington, DC, 2016

I counted 24 similar citations from a google search, which would indicate that the false deserters is accepted history.
 
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Rhea Cole

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If anyone is interested, I have a link to the transcript of the intel received at Rosecrans' HQ. It includes what individuals said & reports from scouts & commanders. If Bragg's chicken feed is in there somewheres, it isn't obvious. Knowledgeable experts who have studied Rosecrans' multi channel intel feed express skepticism about the influence of a few deserters. In any case, I have never read an account by one of the men who performed this unusual duty. If anyone has a citation, I would appreciate having it for my Chattanooga folder.
 

Rhea Cole

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Occasionally while reading about the civil war I see where it's said or inferred some deserters were sent or "planted" to mislead the enemy with exaggerated numbers, I can see where on one hand such a strategy would make sense.......

But don't think I've ever seen actual evidence of soldiers being ordered to, or volunteering to possibly spend a year or more in a POW camp, does anyone know of accounts that show a deserter was ordered to, or volunteered to desert to just deceive the enemy?
I have posted two citations below.
 
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"But instead of halting to consolidate his scattered forces, Rosecrans overplayed his hand, pressing forward in the hopes of destroying what he believed to be a defeated & demoralized Confederate army in Georgia. But the Army of Tennessee was far from beaten. In fact, Bragg had sowed the area with false "deserters" whose job was to deceive Rosecrans. The result was a disjointed advance in which Rosecrans' corps were unable to provide mutual support."

The Shipwreck of Their Hopes by Mackubin T. Owens Ashland University

"Bragg finally recognized that the Union army's demonstrations north of Chattanooga were designed to deceive hime & that Rosecrans' main thrust was to the south. On 7 September, he ordered the evacuation of the city, & the next day all of his troops (including Buckner's corps) began moving toward La Fayette, GA, about twenty-five miles south of Chattanooga. Crittenden's troops occupied Chattanooga on 9 September without a fight, & Rosecrans telegraphed Halleck, "Chattanooga is ours without a struggle & East Tennessee is free." Rosecrans assumed that Bragg's entire force was in full retreat toward rebel supply points at Dalton & Ringold, GA, & that the force could be destroyed while in flight. Rebel deserters attested to the desperate condition of the retreating Confederates.

In fact, far from being in flight, Bragg's rebel army halted east of Pigeon Mountain, near Lafayette. Bragg contemplated an attack on the advancing Federals, whom he had deceived by planting "deserters" with false stories of disorder within the southern ranks."

The Civil War in the West, 1863 by Anderw N. Morris, Center of Military History United States Army, Washington, DC, 2016

I counted 24 similar citations from a google search, which would indicate that the false deserters is accepted history.
But the way I take my original example and your example from CW in the west is it's merely authors opinion, as they are not citing known examples of soldier either ordered or volunteering to be captured to mislead..........and once a author publishes opinion.....others copying or citing that opinion in reality lends no more credence to the original opinion as to accuracy..

If it was indeed happening on a measurable scale....there should be some records from the side ordering them to...or asking for volunteers.......yet I'm not seeing anything like that provided to substantiate the opinions/claims.

One should see people listed as captured by the Union.....on Confederate rolls then showing something like "special duty" instead of awol,missing, deserted.........

It's seems to me these claims are advanced without providing actual examples at all......the book I'm reading for example has footnotes in it.......but that passage or claim had none.......
 
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I have no doubt there were deserters in every campaign.....I have no doubt much of the information provided from deserters would be false and inaccurate as well.......whether intentional or not

Still seems a far cry from asserting that large numbers of deserters instead of being actual deserters......were some concerted effort to purposely sacrifice men in a effort to try to mislead.......for such a claim if in large numbers......there should be numerous specfic examples then I would think.....yet haven't seen much in that way.......
 
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Rhea Cole

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But the way I take my original example and your example from CW in the west is it's merely authors opinion, as they are not citing known examples of soldier either ordered or volunteering to be captured to mislead..........and once a author publishes opinion.....others copying or citing that opinion in reality lends no more credence to the original opinion as to accuracy..

If it was indeed happening on a measurable scale....there should be some records from the side ordering them to...or asking for volunteers.......yet I'm not seeing anything like that provided to substantiate the opinions/claims.

One should see people listed as captured by the Union.....on Confederate rolls then showing something like "special duty" instead of awol,missing, deserted.........

It's seems to me these claims are advanced without providing actual examples at all......the book I'm reading for example has footnotes in it.......but that passage or claim had none.......
Maybe it is an opinion, but it is one that is shared by every source I found online. It is also in the two print books I consulted.
 
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Maybe it is an opinion, but it is one that is shared by every source I found online. It is also in the two print books I consulted.
There's no shortage of opinions advanced a 100 years ago, that have been repeated....repeatedly for decades.....that one would find no shortage of in print books as well......why I tend to prefer actual documented examples or collobrating evidence

Such as Jesse James robbed this or that bank......that it's very unlikely he ever did.......

Whether the first person making a claim.....or the 5th or 10th person repeating a claim......it's hard to gauge the accuracy of the claim without any actual sources/examples provided for the claim
 
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Rhea Cole

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There's no shortage of opinions advanced a 100 years ago, that have been repeated....repeatedly for decades.....that one would find no shortage of in print books as well......why I tend to prefer actual documented examples or collobrating evidence

Such as Jesse James robbed this or that bank......that it's very unlikely he ever did.......

Whether the first person making a claim.....or the 5th or 10th person repeating a claim......it's hard to gauge the accuracy of the claim without any actual sources/examples provided for the claim
The dictionary definition of an opinion is a conclusion based on evidence, not a flight of fancy. Bragg's deserter disinformation campaign is documented. That is a settled historical fact. If you have citations that document otherwise, I would like to add them to my Chickamauga-Chattanooga folder. One of the joys of Civil War scholarship is that we are always finding new sources.
 
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The dictionary definition of an opinion is a conclusion based on evidence, not a flight of fancy. Bragg's deserter disinformation campaign is documented. That is a settled historical fact. If you have citations that document otherwise, I would like to add them to my Chickamauga-Chattanooga folder. One of the joys of Civil War scholarship is that we are always finding new sources.
Again and what is the actual evidence it was occuring or happening on any large scale?........there's hardly any evidence of any isolated instances of planned desertion I've seen presented anywhere....by anyone.......

So not seeing the actual evidence to conclude "many of whom" or "he had sown the area" at all really, so thats is what I questioned.....and asked for specific or documented examples........which again if it was occuring in any measurable planned scale.....there should be numerous actual examples of......though actual examples seem to be rather lacking to make any such broad conclusion
 
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Rhea Cole

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Again and what is the actual evidence it was occuring or happening on any large scale?........there's hardly any evidence of any isolated instances of planned desertion I've seen presented anywhere....by anyone.......

So not seeing the actual evidence to conclude "many of whom" or "he had sown the area" at all really, so thats is what I questioned.....and asked for specific or documented examples........which again if it was occuring in any measurable planned scale.....there should be numerous actual examples of......though actual examples seem to be rather lacking to make any such broad conclusion
I have no idea what it is you are asking for. Bragg ordered men to pretend to be deserters & provide Rosecrans' interrogators with chickenfeed. That is documented. It was planned. By all accounts, the scale of the operation was sufficient to achieve the intended goal. That is the only conclusion that the documented evidence supports. Was it on a large scale? I don't know what that means, in this case. All that is known is that it was on the right scale.
 
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