"Extra Duty as Teamster" Why ?

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Peter Stines

Sergeant
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Gulf Coast of Texas
According to his CSR my ancestor was assigned extra duty as a teamster.(26th Texas Cavalry) Now I know they drove wagons and took care of the horses, etc. What I'm wondering is why was he assigned extra duty? I can't find any punishment detail or where he might have put a foot wrong. He was over 40 when he enlisted in 1861. He was told to apply for a discharge in '62. He appeared before a judge to testify to his age. But he stayed with the unit. He was in the hospital with "rheumatism" for several weeks but returned to his company. Maybe he was too old for active service but could still work as a civilian teamster ? He was killed by accident in Louisiana in 1864.
 

Frederick14Va

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 14, 2013
Location
Virginia
Extra Duty generally could have been assigned for a very wide range of minor infractions; being late for duty, overstayed leave and any number of items. Might not find the source of the possible infraction if there actually was one given on muster rolls. On the other side of that coin soldiers would sometimes volunteer for extra duty, usually phrased as being on "detached duty" to temporarily serve as a farrier, teamster, or other capacity that might be needed at the time. These commonly generated some extra pay stipend for doing so.
 

huskerblitz

Captain
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Location
Nebraska
I would tend to agree with @Frederick14Va though I've never came across documentation of extra duty being given for any type of infraction (not saying it didn't happen, the regiment I research has no evidence of that). What I have found is that extra duty was given out and an extra pay stipend would be noted on their card or at muster-out. In some of the company documentation, it has been by both volunteers or assigned duty.
 
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Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
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Jan 16, 2015
Teamsters received 25 cents extra per day in both the Union and Confederate armies in the East as of late 1862 through mid-1863. They were not civilians, but were detailed to this duty from the ranks. In one case, a teamster who sold whiskey from his wagon was punished by putting him in the ranks.

Not just anyone could manage a team of horses or mules. F. Pope Rucker of Company A, 15th Alabama was 30 years old when he enlisted. He was a professional stage driver and hence was made a teamster for that reason. (The War Between the Union and the Confederacy, William Calvin Oates, 15th Alabama)
 
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Joined
May 18, 2005
Location
Spring Hill, Tennessee
This was definitely not a punishment. As stated above, these men received additional pay for their services. Often times these men were older or unfit for effective combat due to wounds or whatever. It was a job that had to be filled by someone, and who better to fill it than someone who may not be physically able for combat.
 

Saphroneth

Captain
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
This is a major factor in confusing the accounting of the armies, for several reasons.

Prewar regulation PFD counted "extra duty" as "PFD".
Confederates in the East (and after JEJ changed things, in the West too) counted their PFD as "Effectives", meaning they discounted Extra Duty and some other duties too.
The Union shifted Extra Duty out of the PFD column later in the war in various armies.
And much of the teamster work was done in some Confederate armies by slaves (or free blacks), who in neither case would have been on the strength as soldiers anyway.

This means that it's quite possible that a Union brigade of 3,000 men reported PFD (early war) has maybe as many as 600 men off on Extra Duty (such as teamster work) while a Confederate brigade of 2,500 men reported PFD has none of that strength off on Extra Duty and as such is actually stronger in terms of fighting line strength.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2019
Peter Stines, When a Confederate cavalry trooper`s horse came up lame, for what ever reason (sore back, cracked hooves, bad leg, illness, disease), or was shot from under him in battle or skirmish, he was required to get another horse at his own cost. Until he did he was no longer qualified for cavalry service and was often given odd jobs around camp that he could do, often times regarded as detached, special or extra duty. Some times a trooper under these circumstances was sent to the supply train`s or even placed on detached service at other post`s or camp`s until a horse could be obtained and be able to qualify for cavalry service again. Some times the trooper`s service record will reflect that he was without a horse for a specific amount of time and other times not. Or due to advanced age and physical disability and found not able to perform cavalry service a trooper may be assigned to a duty that he can do, such as a Teamster, or released on a surgeons certificate and sent home for the remainder of the war.

Since your ancestor`s service records reflect that he was specifically told to apply for a discharge in 1862, and had appeared before a judge to testify to his age and ability to perform his duty (fitness evaluation), in addition to his "rheumatism" condition, I would say that his superior officers questioned his ability to continue his cavalry service and he was given the option of being sent home for the remainder of the war, due to his limitations, or find a job that he could perform so that he could remain and continue to serve the southern cause... He chose to remain.

I have found several such cases in my research regarding the 2nd Regiment Alabama Cavalry, where officers, non-commissioned officers and privates were approaching 50 or older and could no longer perform their duty and were either sent home on surgeon certificates or reassigned to other duties and positions, such as administrative, with the same regiment or sent up to headquarters on the brigade or division level.
 
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Saphroneth

Captain
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Extra Duty is the largest single category, probably because logs work was so all-consuming.
There was also "Special Duty" and "Daily Duty" - my understanding is that e.g. "Special Duty" was detached to the commissary, while "Daily Duty" was duties done still with the regiment but which might take you out of the firing line.
 
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Saphroneth

Captain
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
I had an ancestor who was assigned on detached duty as a wagoner. He was an older man, so I imagine his age played a role in his assignment.
I suspect it's an issue of skills and abilities. Any given regiment needs ~20% of their strength doing this sort of thing, so they just pick the ~20% who would be best at it relative to their other skills.
 
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