Missing vs. taken prisoner vs. deserted


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#24
Where there was no battle, then logically the officer would ask the sergeants. "He was always complaining...." "He hates the war...." "He wasn't happy...."
I was hoping that's the way it was. Glad you guys seem to see it the same way. I also noticed that some of the desertions seemed to be in pairs.
 

Story

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#26
There were also 'descriptive lists of deserters' published at the end of the war (I'm thinking particularly of Pennsylvania), which I figure was an effort to exact retribution on these guys. Interestingly enough, a fair number of entries are basically useless (as they don't describe anything).
 

Specster

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#27
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
IIRC Union desertion was rampant in the Burnside period - post Chancellosville and the Mud March. Hooker did a good job in stemming that tide - lienant terms if the deserter returned by a certain date, furlows were given frequently, improved food, etc. I dont think it was an acute problem for the Union after that perriod. The Confederates, as I recall, started losing large numbers of men in the winter of 1865. Food was in short supply and the writing was on the wall in terms of a Union victory
 
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#28
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/loc...s.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.
@Zella If it's the discussion I recall, in the case of the 2nd Mississippi at any rate, and I would imagine any area of the Confederacy that had recruited regiments early in the war but found themselves for much of the war in Federal-controlled or contested territory, many times the men who went home on wounded furlough were captured by Federal forces in the area. Since the 2nd Mississippi officers had no way of knowing what happened to the men, they were carried as AWOL for some period of time, but after a length of time Colonel Stone would have no choice but to declare them deserters. Not that there weren't real deserters in the 2nd Mississippi...there were, but one has to be careful in assigning that label to a man just because you find him labeled as such in his company records of his CMSR. A further examination would often find another document that reports his capture and being held prisoner.
 

Zella

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#29
@Zella If it's the discussion I recall, in the case of the 2nd Mississippi at any rate, and I would imagine any area of the Confederacy that had recruited regiments early in the war but found themselves for much of the war in Federal-controlled or contested territory, many times the men who went home on wounded furlough were captured by Federal forces in the area. Since the 2nd Mississippi officers had no way of knowing what happened to the men, they were carried as AWOL for some period of time, but after a length of time Colonel Stone would have no choice but to declare them deserters. Not that there weren't real deserters in the 2nd Mississippi...there were, but one has to be careful in assigning that label to a man just because you find him labeled as such in his company records of his CMSR. A further examination would often find another document that reports his capture and being held prisoner.
Yep, that's the one! It helped me quite a bit with sorting through which of my CW relatives legitimately did desert and which ones were the victim of a paperwork nightmare.
 

jgoodguy

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#30
IIRC Union desertion was rampant in the Burnside period - post Chancellosville and the Mud March. Hooker did a good job in stemming that tide - lienant terms if the deserter returned by a certain date, furlows were given frequently, improved food, etc. I dont think it was an acute problem for the Union after that perriod. The Confederates, as I recall, started losing large numbers of men in the winter of 1865. Food was in short supply and the writing was on the wall in terms of a Union victory
Agree and there were family issues too.
 
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#31
Can you put your finger on certain Regiments with that observation?
I'm just looking at the roster from Companies A-C, 14th Iowa. In these three companies (in a quick look--there may be more), I see 3 brothers who deserted the same day while they were still in Iowa, 2 more apparent brothers who deserted the same day a few months later, and four men who deserted Feb. 10 during the Meridian Expedition. Of these four, two were local men who had just been mustered in at Fort Halleck before the regiment was sent to Vicksburg for the expedition and the other two were from Iowa. What made me ask my question was the fact that the same day a fifth man was taken prisoner and ended up at Andersonville. I wondered how the officers were sure the other four weren't taken prisoner as well.

Laurel
 
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#33
I'm just looking at the roster from Companies A-C, 14th Iowa. In these three companies (in a quick look--there may be more), I see 3 brothers who deserted the same day while they were still in Iowa, 2 more apparent brothers who deserted the same day a few months later, and four men who deserted Feb. 10 during the Meridian Expedition. Of these four, two were local men who had just been mustered in at Fort Halleck before the regiment was sent to Vicksburg for the expedition and the other two were from Iowa. What made me ask my question was the fact that the same day a fifth man was taken prisoner and ended up at Andersonville. I wondered how the officers were sure the other four weren't taken prisoner as well.

Laurel
If you're working with the early 20th century roster, the Andersonville note is almost certainly a post-war edit based on new information. I'm betting the contemporary records likely had him as missing or perhaps even deserting.

Ryan
 
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#37
IIRC Union desertion was rampant in the Burnside period - post Chancellosville and the Mud March. Hooker did a good job in stemming that tide - lienant terms if the deserter returned by a certain date, furlows were given frequently, improved food, etc. I dont think it was an acute problem for the Union after that perriod. The Confederates, as I recall, started losing large numbers of men in the winter of 1865. Food was in short supply and the writing was on the wall in terms of a Union victory
In the book " Bitterly Divided the South's inner Civil War" David Williams Da Capo Press
Williams makes a very strong sourced case that Confederate desertion was a serious problem as early as at least late 1862.
Leftyhunter
 

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