Discussion "One Third of the Union Army Deserted"

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
the Confedrate Army should of had no problem marching all the way to Bankor,Maine and having lobster dinner with pretty Maine girls sitting in their laps.After all Union troops were all money grubbing cowards.
Alas for the Confederate Army! Maine girls may have been pretty--but they were no more foolish than the ladies of other New England states. 🙂 Maine, women ran the farms; they fed and clothed needy families of Union volunteers. Thousands of Maine women joined the Soldiers' Aid Society and/or sewed bandages, bedding, and clothing. Many took "men's" jobs in the towns or stayed home to nurse the returning wounded. Some Maine women were closer to the fighting: women such as Dorothea Dix and Amy Bradley (the former came from Hamden--a town just outside Bangor).
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
They didn't want Maine.
Well, you could have fooled them back in Maine. There was a thwarted attempt on Portland, a thwarted raid down from Canada, a thwarted attempt to map the Maine coast (in preparation for what?). Give credit to the Confederates: just because they failed doesn't mean they didn't try.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Since the Union Army was so bad then the Confedrate Army should of had no problem marching all the way to Bankor,Maine and having lobster dinner with pretty Maine girls sitting in their laps.After all Union troops were all money grubbing cowards.
The Confedracy could of eliminated slavery and Miscegenation Laws and opened up the ranks to people of all colors plus give them the right to vote then the Confedracy could of taken over the whole

Not true the Confedrate Army tried to size the South West but mostly Mexican American troops proved more the Confedrate Army could handle at the battle of Glorieta Pass.
Leftyhunter
What does Any of this have that explains Federal Troop Desertion?

Yankees didn’t offer ending Slavery in Federal Occupied Territories. One reason they didn’t is because Yankee Negrophobics feared Emancipation would cause a Race War. One they wished on the Confederacy but Not Themselves. The 99 percent Lilly Whites do get their Race War, but it is in the West and the Race is Native Americans. Per your analysis Federal Troops raping Southern Blacks were ending Miscegenation Laws?
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Desertion always goes up the longer a war lasts particularly if the death rate is high. As for the pensions recall the broken promises made to veterans of previous wars, particularly war of independence veterans, that was fresh in peoples minds.
The boys in blue were no cowards Shiloh and Fredericksburg proved that.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Unfortunately the Federals could borrow money and pay poor unfortunates to fight in the place of the middle and upper classes. immigration was expanded in 63 and 64. The EP allowed Negro Troops, which added to the Unfortunate lists. A smaller percentage of Northern White males were engaged as soldiers than in the Confederacy. Most of these landless Northern Unfortunates enlisted for the money. So, they weren’t that Dedicated. All of this explains the Federal desertion rate. Another part of it was by 64 life fighting for Grant was reduced to months. So even the short timers refused to enlist. Others sought safety elsewhere, deserted. Some deserted, changed their name and re-enlisted for more bounty.
Since the Union Army was so bad then the Confedrate Army should of had no problem marching all the way to Bankor,Maine and having lobster dinner with pretty Maine girls sitting in their laps.After all Union troops were all money grubbing cowards.
The Confedracy could of eliminated slavery and Miscegenation Laws and opened up the ranks to people of all colors plus give them the right to vote then the Confedracy could of taken over the whole
They didn't want Maine. They wanted a divorce from the north. Still seems like a good idea to some.
Not true the Confedrate Army tried to size the South West but mostly Mexican American troops proved
What does Any of this have that explains Federal Troop Desertion?

Yankees didn’t offer ending Slavery in Federal Occupied Territories. One reason they didn’t is because Yankee Negrophobics feared Emancipation would cause a Race War. One they wished on the Confederacy but Not Themselves. The 99 percent Lilly Whites do get their Race War, but it is in the West and the Race is Native Americans. Per your analysis Federal Troops raping Southern Blacks were ending Miscegenation Laws?
Some bizzare assertions. Slavery was legal per the US Constititon and case law especially Stanford v Missiouri. The President could not outlaw slavery except in areas under rebellion but Lincoln did get the XIII Amendment passed before the end of the ACW which did ban slavery . Yes slavery did remerge in the South for a good eighty plus years after the XIII Amendment it was known as " convict leasing".
Yes US troops commited rape as did Southeners in the US Army during the Mexican American War as did US soldiers from all sections of the US in future wars. Yes US soldiers raped African American freed slaves just has generations of slave owners did prior to the ACW.
Southeners always fought Indians before during and after the ACW I have a whole thread on it with sources that you already participated in.
Leftyhunter
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Since the Union Army was so bad then the Confedrate Army should of had no problem marching all the way to Bankor,Maine and having lobster dinner with pretty Maine girls sitting in their laps.After all Union troops were all money grubbing cowards.
The Confedracy could of eliminated slavery and Miscegenation Laws and opened up the ranks to people of all colors plus give them the right to vote then the Confedracy could of taken over the whole

Not true the Confedrate Army tried to size the South West but mostly Mexican American troops proved

Some bizzare assertions. Slavery was legal per the US Constititon and case law especially Stanford v Missiouri. The President could not outlaw slavery except in areas under rebellion but Lincoln did get the XIII Amendment passed before the end of the ACW which did ban slavery . Yes slavery did remerge in the South for a good eighty plus years after the XIII Amendment it was known as " convict leasing".
Yes US troops commited rape as did Southeners in the US Army during the Mexican American War as did US soldiers from all sections of the US in future wars. Yes US soldiers raped African American freed slaves just has generations of slave owners did prior to the ACW.
Southeners always fought Indians before during and after the ACW I have a whole thread on it with sources that you already participated in.
Leftyhunter
Lincoln only respected the Constitution when it favored him. Universal with Politicians.

He thru people in jail for their Thoughts. If you didn’t Worship him your Thoughts condemned you. Don’t think that is written in the Constitution? Big Government breeds Sheep. Reason the Confederacy didn’t want one especially one controlled by Obnoxious Yankees.

However, this has nothing to do with the fact than the majority of Northerners were poor and were fighting for the Money. 25% of them were Immigrants or sons of Immigrants which meant they had no
loyalty to a State nor much to the Federal Government. A S Johnson called them Agarian Mercenaries and even Bragg said the invaders were Mercenaries. So, many of them jumped off of the Train and ran back home. Not enough unfortunately. Money is poor reason for Loyalty.

In the end, the Negro saved the Northern Negrophobics. They didn’t fight for Money. Good thing because they were paid less than the Whites and even rejected that. Refused Bounties until much later in the war. Other Blacks grew Yankee Cotton and worked. For nothing at first and not much later. No, money was not their motivation. Yankees should alter all of their Monuments and Tablets to reflect this. Literally a scant few Monuments to the unsung Yankee Black heroes who were Denied even the ability to travel above the M/D line. Died in the place of Northern Negrophobics. Yet they were Rejected in the North’s Homogeneous White Society. Yes Southern Blacks were given the vote in the former Confederate States. Republican Party knew they could Control the Freedmen Vote. Promise of Gooberment Jobs and some rights, in the South. A Racial adjustment that the Yankee was not willing to make in Yankeedom. The Vote the Republicans wanted, living with them they did not. That would look good on a tablet. Maybe Abe should be holding it.
 

Drew

Major
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
Desertion always goes up the longer a war lasts particularly if the death rate is high. As for the pensions recall the broken promises made to veterans of previous wars, particularly war of independence veterans, that was fresh in peoples minds.
The boys in blue were no cowards Shiloh and Fredericksburg proved that.

Not sure what the "broken promises" were with respect to the Revolution. They got pensions, so long as they could show they were actually committed and involved.

Same issue in the 19th century newspaper article in my original post. People were miffed that those who ran away got pensions anyway.

FWIW, young people today are only vaguely aware of a thing called, "the Second World War." They aren't even cognizant of, "the Great War."

To assume young men in the 1860s had the Revolution, "fresh in their minds" is absurd.
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Not sure what the "broken promises" were with respect to the Revolution. They got pensions, so long as they could show they were actually committed and involved.
As a genealogist, I've worked with a lot of Revolutionary pensions and land-bounty applications. "Committed" wasn't enough and "involved" was a relative term. It wasn't that easy: the criteria changed over time and was amended. And they weren't easy--I've gone through applications that were multi-pages and requiring a large amount of documentation (made them great for genealogists but a real pain for the applicant).
 

Drew

Major
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
As a genealogist, I've worked with a lot of Revolutionary pensions and land-bounty applications. "Committed" wasn't enough and "involved" was a relative term. It wasn't that easy: the criteria changed over time and was amended. And they weren't easy--I've gone through applications that were multi-pages and requiring a large amount of documentation (made them great for genealogists but a real pain for the applicant).

Not an expert on the subject, but I do have a ggg grandfather's Revolutionary War pension application, which is very amusing and was granted.

Also have several Confederate pension applications filed by family members in Texas and Louisiana. Those guys got the bureaucratic runaround as well. Some things never change.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Unfortunately the Federals could borrow money and pay poor unfortunates to fight in the place of the middle and upper classes. immigration was expanded in 63 and 64. The EP allowed Negro Troops, which added to the Unfortunate lists. A smaller percentage of Northern White males were engaged as soldiers than in the Confederacy. Most of these landless Northern Unfortunates enlisted for the money. So, they weren’t that Dedicated. All of this explains the Federal desertion rate. Another part of it was by 64 life fighting for Grant was reduced to months. So even the short timers refused to enlist. Others sought safety elsewhere, deserted. Some deserted, changed their name and re-enlisted for more bounty.
Since the Union Army was so bad then the Confedrate Army should of had no problem marching all the way to Bankor,Maine and having lobster dinner with pretty Maine girls sitting in their laps.After all Union troops were all money grubbing cowards.
The Confedracy could of eliminated slavery and Miscegenation Laws and opened up the ranks to people of all colors plus give them the right to vote then the Confedracy could of taken over the whole
They didn't want Maine. They wanted a divorce from the north. Still seems like a good idea to some.
Not true the Confedrate Army tried to size the South West but mostly Mexican American troops proved
What does Any of this have that explains Federal Troop Desertion?

Yankees didn’t offer ending Slavery in Federal Occupied Territories. One reason they didn’t is because Yankee Negrophobics feared Emancipation would cause a Race War. One they wished on the Confederacy but Not Themselves. The 99 percent Lilly Whites do get their Race War, but it is in the West and the Race is Native Americans. Per your analysis Federal Troops raping Southern Blacks were ending Miscegenation Laws?
Some bizzare assertions. Slavery was legal per the US Constititon and case law especially Stanford v Missiouri. The President could not outlaw slavery except in areas under rebellion but Lincoln did get the XIII Amendment passed before the end of the ACW which did ban slavery . Yes slavery did remerge in the South for a good eighty plus years after the XIII Amendment it was known as " convict leasing".
Yes US troops commited rape as did Southeners in the US Army during the Mexican American War as did US soldiers from all sections of the US in future wars. Yes US soldiers raped African American freed slaves just has generations of slave owners did prior to the ACW.
Southeners always fought Indians before during and after the ACW I have a whole thread on it with sources that you already participated in.
Leftyhunter
Lincoln only respected the Constitution when it favored him. Universal with Politicians.

He thru people in jail for their Thoughts. If you didn’t Worship him your Thoughts condemned you. Don’t think that is written in the Constitution? Big Government breeds Sheep. Reason the Confederacy didn’t want one especially one controlled by Obnoxious Yankees.

However, this has nothing to do with the fact than the majority of Northerners were poor and were fighting for the Money. 25% of them were Immigrants or sons of Immigrants which meant they had no
loyalty to a State nor much to the Federal Government. A S Johnson called them Agarian Mercenaries and even Bragg said the invaders were Mercenaries. So, many of them jumped off of the Train and ran back home. Not enough unfortunately. Money is poor reason for Loyalty.

In the end, the Negro saved the Northern Negrophobics. They didn’t fight for Money. Good thing because they were paid less than the Whites and even rejected that. Refused Bounties until much later in the war. Other Blacks grew Yankee Cotton and worked. For nothing at first and not much later. No, money was not their motivation. Yankees should alter all of their Monuments and Tablets to reflect this. Literally a scant few Monuments to the unsung Yankee Black heroes who were Denied even the ability to travel above the M/D line. Died in the place of Northern Negrophobics. Yet they were Rejected in the North’s Homogeneous White Society. Yes Southern Blacks were given the vote in the former Confederate States. Republican Party knew they could Control the Freedmen Vote. Promise of Gooberment Jobs and some rights, in the South. A Racial adjustment that the Yankee was not willing to make in Yankeedom. The Vote the Republicans wanted, living with them they did not. That would look good on a tablet. Maybe Abe should be holding it.
So many mis truths in your reply that have no basis in reality.
Yes black troops not" Negros"( use that word in LA and see what happens) fought well but the vast majority of fighting by the Union Army was by white troops. Countless African Americans moved north of the Mason Dixon line. You totally forget to include terrorism by Southern whites for a good one hundred years after the ACW. If all the white troops deserted or were poorly motivated to fight for the Union then again what was the Confedrate Armies major malfunction that they couldn't beat such a pathetic army. The Secessionists knew they would be outnumbered from the beginning so being outnumbered is a poor excuse to loose.
Leftyhunter
 

Carol

Private
Joined
May 26, 2019
Location
Western North Carolina
Thank You @Drew for sharing this article. I have not seen this before and I find the facts very interesting indeed. The deserter's stories continue to fascinate me as I reach further to attempt to understand the reasoning behind the decisions. For the majority, these reasons were personal which dealt with family, finances and physical/mental health. As the war continued, the political aspects did in fact change and I believe this added to the union desertion list. The research that went into the article is astounding and I will even go as far to say by the end of 1864, the numbers were slightly higher than this article mentions. I have witnessed through records, thousands of "city" union soldiers deserting much more frequently than others. I will say to the Lincoln act of March, 1865, this was a control issue and maintaining control was the utmost importance to Lincoln at this time. Its ironic to look back and see that Lincoln had already discharged the very ones who would uphold law and order. In a way, this article gives a description of the Civil War like no other, numbers of Union deserters, and even though many have a terrible time explaining it, the fact remains that the numbers are there. Lincoln, himself proved this with his actions alone. Thanks again for sharing this !!
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
It would be interesting to know how many of the desertion records were "corrected."
Often the records were corrected in deed rather than in action. A soldier might appear on the AGO rolls as a deserter--but also on the pension rolls, the 1890 summaries and membership in GAR. Clearly, in actuality, neither the government nor his fellow veterans regarded this man as a deserter. Pension applications in Maine, for example, were reviewed by the office of the Maine AGO: some were rejected but a good many were passed--and all were examined. Often the final findings appear in the papers of that office and not on congressional rolls.
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Thank You @Drew for sharing this article. I have not seen this before and I find the facts very interesting indeed. The deserter's stories continue to fascinate me as I reach further to attempt to understand the reasoning behind the decisions. For the majority, these reasons were personal which dealt with family, finances and physical/mental health. As the war continued, the political aspects did in fact change and I believe this added to the union desertion list. The research that went into the article is astounding and I will even go as far to say by the end of 1864, the numbers were slightly higher than this article mentions. I have witnessed through records, thousands of "city" union soldiers deserting much more frequently than others. I will say to the Lincoln act of March, 1865, this was a control issue and maintaining control was the utmost importance to Lincoln at this time. Its ironic to look back and see that Lincoln had already discharged the very ones who would uphold law and order. In a way, this article gives a description of the Civil War like no other, numbers of Union deserters, and even though many have a terrible time explaining it, the fact remains that the numbers are there. Lincoln, himself proved this with his actions alone. Thanks again for sharing this !!
Sometimes it is possible to dig so deeply into a specific issue that one loses sight of the larger picture. In this case, the number of sources that concentrate on Union desertions far outnumber those concerned with Confederate desertions; it is difficult to gain a clear a picture when source material is so unequal. Secondly, there is the mathematical aspect: the Union army had a greater number of desertions simply because it was far larger. Thirdly, as @John Hartwell said above, the designation "deserter" often included men who were wounded or missing in action--indeed, anyone who didn't show up at roll call.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
I severely doubt that the NYT was ever a credible source. It even uses the Richmond Examiner as one its sources in that article, I'm, sure they were not biased at all(yeah right). It doesn't even distinguish between AWOL and desertion, and there is a difference. You mean to tell me that all those soldiers on both sides were absent for more than 30 days? Not one of them were absent for less than 30 days and went back to their units? There were peaks and valleys to desertions, especially after a defeat or when all hope was lost of winning the war. But I doubt that 1/3 is accurate for the baseline percentage. Just like 50% of the Confederacy desertion rate would not be accurate for a baseline for the Confederacy. Whatever.

Omit casualties and the NYT's failure to distinguish AWOL from desertion for the purpose of coming up with the correct percentages to counter this paper. The Union had 2 million soldiers, if 1/3 deserted it left them with 1.5 million. Still that is at least 750,000 to 1,000,000 more troops than the Confederacy. I know the Confederacy had peaks up to 50% of desertion, but just go along with the article let's say they had the same percentage of 25%, which equates to 250,000 out of 1 million. Let's say the Union enlisted 2 million with that 25% desertion rate, which equates equates to 500,000 deserters. They had the same percentage of deserters because the Union had twice amount of men and the same percentage of deserters. That article doesn't prove much to me. I was being nice by giving the Confederacy a 25% desertion rate and the desertion percentages were still the same. I won't go there and discuss the Confederacy 50% desertion rate at peak times. My percentages might be slightly off, but not by much.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
I misread it, the article is saying over 30% of the Union army deserted. But if I apply that percentage to Confederacy(which is a gift) it still comes out with the same percentages because the Union had almost exactly 50% more men.
 

IslayMalt

Private
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Location
Waynesboro, PA
Since the Union Army was so bad then the Confedrate Army should of had no problem marching all the way to Bankor,Maine and having lobster dinner with pretty Maine girls sitting in their laps.After all Union troops were all money grubbing cowards.
The Confedracy could of eliminated slavery and Miscegenation Laws and opened up the ranks to people of all colors plus give them the right to vote then the Confedracy could of taken over the whole

Not true the Confedrate Army tried to size the South West but mostly Mexican American troops proved more the Confedrate Army could handle at the battle of Glorieta Pass.
Leftyhunter
I'm not sure where Bankor, Maine is, but you certainly have a facination with the area. You do seem to completely discount the fact that the South had desertion issues as well. The North's manpower was pretty much endless with immigrants constantly flowing in. So what if thousands deserted? There were plenty to take their place.
 
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