Missing vs. taken prisoner vs. deserted

LSBusch

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This is the first question I've posted; apologies if it's in the wrong place.

My question came up while going through the rosters of Companies A-C, 14th Iowa Infantry. While they were on the Meridian Expedition in early 1864, four men were listed as "taken prisoner" and a fifth was listed as "missing and taken prisoner." Nine others, local men who had enlisted at Fort Halleck, Kentucky, just before the regiment was moved to Vicksburg and sent on the expedition, were listed as deserters during that time. My question is, how did the officers decide which of the missing men had deserted and which had been taken prisoner, especially when several of them disappeared the same day? For example, the roster lists four men as deserting and one taken prisoner on Feb. 10, 1864.

Laurel
 

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leftyhunter

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This is the first question I've posted; apologies if it's in the wrong place.

My question came up while going through the rosters of Companies A-C, 14th Iowa Infantry. While they were on the Meridian Expedition in early 1864, four men were listed as "taken prisoner" and a fifth was listed as "missing and taken prisoner." Nine others, local men who had enlisted at Fort Halleck, Kentucky, just before the regiment was moved to Vicksburg and sent on the expedition, were listed as deserters during that time. My question is, how did the officers decide which of the missing men had deserted and which had been taken prisoner, especially when several of them disappeared the same day? For example, the roster lists four men as deserting and one taken prisoner on Feb. 10, 1864.

Laurel
Paging @cash and @johan_steele .
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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This is the first question I've posted; apologies if it's in the wrong place.

My question came up while going through the rosters of Companies A-C, 14th Iowa Infantry. While they were on the Meridian Expedition in early 1864, four men were listed as "taken prisoner" and a fifth was listed as "missing and taken prisoner." Nine others, local men who had enlisted at Fort Halleck, Kentucky, just before the regiment was moved to Vicksburg and sent on the expedition, were listed as deserters during that time. My question is, how did the officers decide which of the missing men had deserted and which had been taken prisoner, especially when several of them disappeared the same day? For example, the roster lists four men as deserting and one taken prisoner on Feb. 10, 1864.

Laurel
Another factor particularly in the Confederate Army was defection. Many Confederate soldiers defected to the Union Army at least three Union regiments were composed of majority Confederate defectors. Mosby did have one Union defector not to say there were not other Union defectors.
Leftyhunter
 

ucvrelics

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Another factor particularly in the Confederate Army was defection. Many Confederate soldiers defected to the Union Army at least three Union regiments were composed of majority Confederate defectors. Mosby did have one Union defector not to say there were not other Union defectors.
Leftyhunter
From her report it seems it was Union desertion. Just sayin:D
 

rpkennedy

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With New York's rosters, information was added as it was discovered and corrected where necessary. It's possible that Iowa records were also updated. For example, the final records will sometimes include the prison camps where a person was held while the wartime records still have him listed as "missing".

Ryan
 

LSBusch

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If the officer saw them taken prisoner or had a viable account then they would be noted as such. The officers had to account for their men a lot of daily or muster reports were just conjecture till proven other wise. They showed up after the battle etc.
That seems to be the logical explanation. It must have looked suspicious when four new recruits who probably had known each other for years all disappeared at the same time. The guy who was taken prisoner was from Iowa and had been with the company since it was formed.

Laurel
 

LSBusch

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Another factor particularly in the Confederate Army was defection. Many Confederate soldiers defected to the Union Army at least three Union regiments were composed of majority Confederate defectors. Mosby did have one Union defector not to say there were not other Union defectors.
Leftyhunter
I have wondered whether these men were Confederate defectors, perhaps forced to enlist in the 14th. However, the roster gives Columbus, Kentucky, as the residence for all of them. Half of them deserted, but most of the rest of them stayed in a residuary battalion at the end of the war.

Laurel
 

leftyhunter

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I have wondered whether these men were Confederate defectors, perhaps forced to enlist in the 14th. However, the roster gives Columbus, Kentucky, as the residence for all of them. Half of them deserted, but most of the rest of them stayed in a residuary battalion at the end of the war.

Laurel
Desertion was certainly common in both armies. I gave two threads in that subject " How common was desertion in the Union Army" and " how serious was desertion in the Confederate Army".
Defection was more common in the Confederate Army.
Was the ACW a popular conflict? Yes and no lots of variables.
Leftyhunter
 

Cavalry Charger

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A soldier I have been researching was listed as missing after being wounded, the Union troops having been overrun by Confederates. At that stage the troops were forced to retreat and the last person to see him alive knew he was unable to get away. I believe one man went back to try to assist him and was also reported as MIA. Subsequent reports only listed him as missing. My guess is if soldiers were captured this information was somehow shared at some point or level. His whereabouts was unknown until Union forces recaptured the ground a few day later and former slaves told them they had been ordered to bury the 'boy Captain' under a tree. This fit with the details of his circumstances and my guess is he was killed rather than captured. There were some other men captured I believe, but this was a particularly nasty fight. So, after hearing of the burial and putting the pieces together, it was surmised he was killed and subsequently reported so. Up to that point his family held out hope he may still be alive. To this day he lies in an unknown unmarked grave in the vicinity of Nottoway Courthouse at Nottoway in Virginia.
 

Vicksburger

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This is the first question I've posted; apologies if it's in the wrong place.

My question came up while going through the rosters of Companies A-C, 14th Iowa Infantry. While they were on the Meridian Expedition in early 1864, four men were listed as "taken prisoner" and a fifth was listed as "missing and taken prisoner." Nine others, local men who had enlisted at Fort Halleck, Kentucky, just before the regiment was moved to Vicksburg and sent on the expedition, were listed as deserters during that time. My question is, how did the officers decide which of the missing men had deserted and which had been taken prisoner, especially when several of them disappeared the same day? For example, the roster lists four men as deserting and one taken prisoner on Feb. 10, 1864.

Laurel
Probably not your situation, but keep in mind that deserter might not mean deserter. Example: I had a Federal ancestor that was with an Ohio regiment, he got sick, then while in the Hospital, was recruited by the Marine Brigade which I guess was with the Navy, and the Army was jealous of the other branch, and reported him as deserter, AWOL. whatever! All that time he was actually with the Marine Brigade fighting at Vicksburg!
 

Zella

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Probably not your situation, but keep in mind that deserter might not mean deserter. Example: I had a Federal ancestor that was with an Ohio regiment, he got sick, then while in the Hospital, was recruited by the Marine Brigade which I guess was with the Navy, and the Army was jealous of the other branch, and reported him as deserter, AWOL. whatever! All that time he was actually with the Marine Brigade fighting at Vicksburg!
This is sort of what happened to one of my ancestor's brothers. They (in the 2nd NC Mounted Infantry) were ordered to participate in an action by an officer in another regiment (3rd NC Mounted Infantry) and they were then listed as AWOL by their own officers.

I read something that indicated there were some jealousies/officer rivalries that may have contributed to their being declared deserters as an act of retaliation. In any event, it literally took a post-war act of Congress for the deserter designation to be removed.

https://www.ancestry.com/boards/localities.northam.usa.states.northcarolina.counties.madison/2120/mb.ashx

Edited to add: If I recall correctly, @Coonewah Creek has some pretty good insight based on his research about deserter labels being unfairly slapped on due to confusion.
 

Vicksburger

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This is sort of what happened to one of my ancestor's brothers. They (in the 2nd NC Mounted Infantry) were ordered to participate in an action by an officer in another regiment (3rd NC Mounted Infantry) and they were then listed as AWOL by their own officers.

I read something that indicated there were some jealousies/officer rivalries that may have contributed to their being declared deserters as an act of retaliation. In any event, it literally took a post-war act of Congress for the deserter designation to be removed.

https://www.ancestry.com/boards/localities.northam.usa.states.northcarolina.counties.madison/2120/mb.ashx

Edited to add: If I recall correctly, @Coonewah Creek has some pretty good insight based on his research about deserter labels being unfairly slapped on due to confusion.
Yes we have a book about the "Mississippi Marine Brigade" sounds southern, but was actually a Federal outfit to fight on the Mississippi. These guys all were from different regiments and more than likely got reported as AWOL. Which has caused much consternation as you can guess.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Probably not your situation, but keep in mind that deserter might not mean deserter. Example: I had a Federal ancestor that was with an Ohio regiment, he got sick, then while in the Hospital, was recruited by the Marine Brigade which I guess was with the Navy, and the Army was jealous of the other branch, and reported him as deserter, AWOL. whatever! All that time he was actually with the Marine Brigade fighting at Vicksburg!

Ok, brand new information, thank you! Never heard of that ( and please excuse, Laurel, if it's side tracking your thread? ). Interesting! Our index card files in PA sometimes lists the same man in various regiments and arms of service- could explain a few. Your ancestor's story would make a great thread.
 

DaveBrt

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If a soldier disappeared, but his rifle, cap box and cartridge box were found, he was usually a deserter. If he vanished along with his rifle and gear, he was considered missing, unless someone had additional information -- say his recent discussion about needing to get home to help a sick wife. If he left with rifle and gear, he could usually return to his unit with his gear and not be charged with desertion.
 

rpkennedy

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In my experience, if someone is listed as missing with no further records, he likely died and there simply wasn't anyone to account for him. A good example of this are the missing of the Eleventh Corps at Gettysburg.

Union records are generally pretty detailed and were corrected fairly regularly although some soldiers did fall through the cracks (listed as deserted when they were discharged from the hospital, for example). Of course, there are exceptions and yes, I'm looking at you Pennsylvania.

Ryan
 

LSBusch

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A soldier I have been researching was listed as missing after being wounded, the Union troops having been overrun by Confederates. At that stage the troops were forced to retreat and the last person to see him alive knew he was unable to get away. I believe one man went back to try to assist him and was also reported as MIA. Subsequent reports only listed him as missing. My guess is if soldiers were captured this information was somehow shared at some point or level. His whereabouts was unknown until Union forces recaptured the ground a few day later and former slaves told them they had been ordered to bury the 'boy Captain' under a tree. This fit with the details of his circumstances and my guess is he was killed rather than captured. There were some other men captured I believe, but this was a particularly nasty fight. So, after hearing of the burial and putting the pieces together, it was surmised he was killed and subsequently reported so. Up to that point his family held out hope he may still be alive. To this day he lies in an unknown unmarked grave in the vicinity of Nottoway Courthouse at Nottoway in Virginia.
To me those are some of the saddest cases, especially for their families and friends. One of "my" guys is listed as "missing and taken prisoner" and "no further record." The roster I'm using was published in 1908 by the Iowa adjutant general. I tried to look for a record of him after the war, but unfortunately his name was John Miller and there are too many of them to be sure whether any was him.
 

LSBusch

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If a soldier disappeared, but his rifle, cap box and cartridge box were found, he was usually a deserter. If he vanished along with his rifle and gear, he was considered missing, unless someone had additional information -- say his recent discussion about needing to get home to help a sick wife. If he left with rifle and gear, he could usually return to his unit with his gear and not be charged with desertion.
Ah. Very interesting. Makes sense.
 

LSBusch

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In my experience, if someone is listed as missing with no further records, he likely died and there simply wasn't anyone to account for him. A good example of this are the missing of the Eleventh Corps at Gettysburg.

Union records are generally pretty detailed and were corrected fairly regularly although some soldiers did fall through the cracks (listed as deserted when they were discharged from the hospital, for example). Of course, there are exceptions and yes, I'm looking at you Pennsylvania.

Ryan
Yes, makes sense. Good to know. I am using the Iowa adjutant generals' roster published in 1908.
 


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