Discussion "One Third of the Union Army Deserted"

Rebforever

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Oct 26, 2012
Nobody said that. But based on the 'South could have marched to Maine' comment, they would have had to have ranks fully filled, not to mention a lot of supplies, which of course as the war progressed they did not. As I said, it was a silly statement and made no realistic sense what so ever.
Oh, March to Maine? That was a "tongue in check" response. I didn't pay any attention to but it was by allowance, funny.
 

IslayMalt

Private
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Location
Waynesboro, PA
No my point was simply that it's hogwash that the Confedracy just wanted to be left alone and they tried to size the South West but Mexican American troops stoped them cold. If it is true that one third of the Union Army deserted then the Confedrate Army could of easily marched to Maine.

To the contrary I have a whole thread " who serious was desertion in the Confedrate Army". I can link it to you if you like.
I was simply making the point that if it was true that one third of the Union Army actually deserted the Confedrate Army should of easily been able to march to Bankor Maine and endure itself plenty of delicious lobsters.
Leftyhunter

I have figures of around 103k for CSA & 250k for US. Numbers fluctuate wherever they're found. Of course it doesn't take into account added troops, of which the South had far less of a population to select from.

But again, why in the hell would Lee try and march up to Maine? Having the Union Army close behind him and destroy supply lines? I don't think Lobsters were on there mind at the beginning of the war.
 

LetUsHavePeace

Volunteer
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Yep. By the 1890s federal pensions were over 3/4 of the national budget and required building the then largest brick building in the world to house the agency that managed such. It was a huge political issue.

View attachment 395653
I think your numbers are wrong. I just checked the 1957 edition of the Statistical Abstract. Veteran's pensions for 1890 were $106,937,000; the total for the Federal government for that year was $318,041. The figure used by Punch was only reached in 1909.
 

Lost Cause

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
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
Maybe the Confederates were trying to link up with the growing anti war groups. Marcellus Emery, a pro-peace democratic newspaper editor, had a press shop in Bangor destroyed by an angry mob in August of 1861. Of course, attempts to silence the freedom of the press were not isolated to Bangor, or even Maine during the war.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Maybe the Confederates were trying to link up with the growing anti war groups. Marcellus Emery, a pro-peace democratic newspaper editor, had a press shop in Bangor destroyed by an angry mob in August of 1861. Of course, attempts to silence the freedom of the press were not isolated to Bangor, or even Maine during the war.
Nor in the Confedracy or even the antebellum South where Abolitionist newspapers were banned by Southern Postmasters.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Maybe the Confederates were trying to link up with the growing anti war groups. Marcellus Emery, a pro-peace democratic newspaper editor, had a press shop in Bangor destroyed by an angry mob in August of 1861. Of course, attempts to silence the freedom of the press were not isolated to Bangor, or even Maine during the war.
Nor in the Confedracy or even the antebellum South where Abolitionist newspapers were banned by Southern Postmasters.
I have figures of around 103k for CSA & 250k for US. Numbers fluctuate wherever they're found. Of course it doesn't take into account added troops, of which the South had far less of a population to select from.

But again, why in the hell would Lee try and march up to Maine? Having the Union Army close behind him and destroy supply lines? I don't think Lobsters were on there mind at the beginning of the war.
I was simply making a point that if one third of the Union Army actually deserted then the Confedrate Army could of marched to Maine.
If the Union Army was so demoralized then why did the Confedrate Army surrender to it?
Leftyhunter
 

IslayMalt

Private
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Location
Waynesboro, PA
I was simply making a point that if one third of the Union Army actually deserted then the Confedrate Army could of marched to Maine.
If the Union Army was so demoralized then why did the Confedrate Army surrender to it?
Leftyhunter
One reason I can think of is too much land to control with a relatively small Army. Another reason I can think of is supplies. Northern Armies were running all over the place behind Lee. And animals; The North had a huge (more?) area for training and keeping Calvary horses. Besides an endless supply of immigrants, many who were willing to serve for a paycheck.
Or possibly, as someone said elsewhere here, the shortness of the war proved Southern Generals and Armies incompetent. The South had a small population relatively speaking. Horseman, yes, endless supply of horses, No. Other animals needed for an Army as well. Food supply was not ideal. I don't think the Confederate Generals or soldiers were inferior. Since most of the Commanders went to Military Academies, it's not realistic that they just sucked (blunt).
 

Cdoug96

Corporal
Joined
Dec 22, 2016
Location
Michigan, United States
One reason I can think of is too much land to control with a relatively small Army. Another reason I can think of is supplies. Northern Armies were running all over the place behind Lee. And animals; The North had a huge (more?) area for training and keeping Calvary horses. Besides an endless supply of immigrants, many who were willing to serve for a paycheck.
Or possibly, as someone said elsewhere here, the shortness of the war proved Southern Generals and Armies incompetent. The South had a small population relatively speaking. Horseman, yes, endless supply of horses, No. Other animals needed for an Army as well. Food supply was not ideal. I don't think the Confederate Generals or soldiers were inferior. Since most of the Commanders went to Military Academies, it's not realistic that they just sucked (blunt).
"Good against remotes is one thing. Good against the living, that's something else." - Han Solo

Same thing applies here. Just because someone has gone to a military academy, does not mean they will be good in the field. As for the OP's story, I have been looking through a few muster roles and other reports during my time documenting a few different Union regiments and companies and desertion is definitely not as common as 1/3. The real fraction was probably closer to 1/30, at least that is what I have seen.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
I have figures of around 103k for CSA & 250k for US. Numbers fluctuate wherever they're found. Of course it doesn't take into account added troops, of which the South had far less of a population to select from.

But again, why in the hell would Lee try and march up to Maine? Having the Union Army close behind him and destroy supply lines? I don't think Lobsters were on there mind at the beginning of the war.
I was simply making a point that if one third of the Union Army actually deserted then the Confedrate Army could of marched to Maine.
If the Union Army was so demoralized then why did the Confedrate Army surrender to it?
One reason I can think of is too much land to control with a relatively small Army. Another reason I can think of is supplies. Northern Armies were running all over the place behind Lee. And animals; The North had a huge (more?) area for training and keeping Calvary horses. Besides an endless supply of immigrants, many who were willing to serve for a paycheck.
Or possibly, as someone said elsewhere here, the shortness of the war proved Southern Generals and Armies incompetent. The South had a small population relatively speaking. Horseman, yes, endless supply of horses, No. Other animals needed for an Army as well. Food supply was not ideal. I don't think the Confederate Generals or soldiers were inferior. Since most of the Commanders went to Military Academies, it's not realistic that they just sucked (blunt).
The Secessionists knew they would be outnumbered from day one but they grossly underestimated the resolve of the Union population.
Immigrants served in both armies. The Confedrate Army drafted immigrants to hold the first guarding New Orleans but they mutinied.
Union immigrants made up 25 percent of the Union Army and played a critical role but so did Southeners in the Union Army who accounted for at least 104k white soldiers and 170 soldiers of color.
The Confedrate soldiers and officers were equivalent in terms of skill and training vs the Union Army. Yes supplying the Confedrate Army with food was an issue .
Leftyhunter
 

IslayMalt

Private
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Location
Waynesboro, PA
Nor in the Confedracy or even the antebellum South where Abolitionist newspapers were banned by Southern Postmasters.

I was simply making a point that if one third of the Union Army actually deserted then the Confedrate Army could of marched to Maine.
If the Union Army was so demoralized then why did the Confedrate Army surrender to it?

The Secessionists knew they would be outnumbered from day one but they grossly underestimated the resolve of the Union population.
Immigrants served in both armies. The Confedrate Army drafted immigrants to hold the first guarding New Orleans but they mutinied.
Union immigrants made up 25 percent of the Union Army and played a critical role but so did Southeners in the Union Army who accounted for at least 104k white soldiers and 170 soldiers of color.
The Confedrate soldiers and officers were equivalent in terms of skill and training vs the Union Army. Yes supplying the Confedrate Army with food was an issue

So we should ignore the fact that the South didn't allow freedom of speech and the press even before the ACW?
Leftyhunter
I regret for speaking for him, but he was perhaps speaking of the endless "March to Maine" retoric you started spouting. Unrealistic a scenario as everyone knows it to be. And to keep saying it? It's just silly. Unless of course there is some old documentation that Lee wanted to take over Maine; which would require all other Southern Armies to join to even attempt, leaving the South completely defenseless. But they may eventually end up with Maine! That is certainly the prize desired in the war.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
I regret for speaking for him, but he was perhaps speaking of the endless "March to Maine" retoric you started spouting. Unrealistic a scenario as everyone knows it to be. And to keep saying it? It's just silly. Unless of course there is some old documentation that Lee wanted to take over Maine; which would require all other Southern Armies to join to even attempt, leaving the South completely defenseless. But they may eventually end up with Maine! That is certainly the prize desired in the war.
I was merely making a humerous point but then done folks got their knickers in a twist.
Leftyhunter
 
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John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
I think your numbers are wrong. I just checked the 1957 edition of the Statistical Abstract. Veteran's pensions for 1890 were $106,937,000; the total for the Federal government for that year was $318,041. The figure used by Punch was only reached in 1909.
I was going from memory. My bad. I still think, though, that it was a serious budgetary and political issue even by 1890.
 

LetUsHavePeace

Volunteer
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
I was going from memory. My bad. I still think, though, that it was a serious budgetary and political issue even by 1890.
absolutely - as a political issue. It raised the Civil War memories of the adults who had lived through it and the question of where your loyalties lay for the generations too young to have fought and not even born. I would disagree slightly on the matter of the budget. In that year when $107M were spent on pensions and the total budget was $318M, the Federal government had a surplus of $85M. There was a substantial outstanding debt - $1,122M; but that was 41% of what it had been a quarter century earlier (Peak pre-WW I Federal debt: 1866 = $2,756M.
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
absolutely - as a political issue. It raised the Civil War memories of the adults who had lived through it and the question of where your loyalties lay for the generations too young to have fought and not even born. I would disagree slightly on the matter of the budget. In that year when $107M were spent on pensions and the total budget was $318M, the Federal government had a surplus of $85M. There was a substantial outstanding debt - $1,122M; but that was 41% of what it had been a quarter century earlier (Peak pre-WW I Federal debt: 1866 = $2,756M.
I suppose we can quibble about what constitutes 'serious' but I think 1/3 of the federal budget is serious. But we agree it was a political issue so we're close !
 

LetUsHavePeace

Volunteer
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
I suppose we can quibble about what constitutes 'serious' but I think 1/3 of the federal budget is serious. But we agree it was a political issue so we're close !
Sorry. I had read your use of the word "budget" entirely in terms of a question of surplus and deficit. 1/3 of the federal budget is more than serious - ALWAYS.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2020
it wasn't a moral war and never was the very small minority of soldiers believing they were doing gods work in freeing the slaves was minuscule compared to those defending their homes or fighting to preserve their country.

I would imagine the real truth with Union desertions was more straightforward than people think it was just to easy to desert on the Union side unlike the South their were plenty of places to go as a union deserter to escape justice unlike the Southern soldier who really didn't have many options but go home.

And unlike Union desertion i think Southern boys got fed up with no pay and after 1863 fighting a slave owners war for the first time they started to see through the whole sham and to add to that many heartlands had fell to the Union so many CSA soldiers needed to get home and look in on their family.
I think you've nailed it here. I have always felt that the options for southerner's that didn't want to fight were limited. If they went home they were easy to apprehend. It was impossible for them to go back to just living their lives. I also agree that there was not much in it for common soldiers. A rich man's war and a poor man's fight as they say. It was probably the same for the northerners. For every battle there are a long list of "missing". For those that wanted to disappear it was much easier in the 1800s as we know. It was a horrific war. It didn't take more than one battle for the soldiers to figure that out.
 

IslayMalt

Private
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Location
Waynesboro, PA
He was making a point--using humor. For heavens sake. You're beating a dead horse--rhetorically speaking. ☺️

Aw, come on. He appeared certain with his remarks, based on it's use as an argument, while completely ignoring the Southern manpower issue that were pointed out. That is what I was pointing out. He said finally it was in jest and I gave his post a like. Don't know what else I can do? Say I'm sorry? Beg for forgiveness? Leave?
 
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