Discussion Research The Fate of Deserters

Lubliner

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In Series 1, Volume 32, Part 2, page 10 and 11 is an excerpt from General George Thomas' Journal from January, 1864. He wrote;
"Provost-Marshall General, Col. W. M. Wiles, reports that from October 19 to December 31, 1863, 7,800 deserters from the rebel army had come within our lines."
From what I can gather, these men were forwarded on to Nashville and made to take the oath of allegiance. I am sure they were questioned extensively for information, so copious notes must have been taken, as well as War Department blanks for verification of name, rank, regiment, etc. These men were also provided with rations for the time they were held on parole. But what after?
They would not of been allowed to return to their homes in the south behind enemy lines. Were these men put to work for the Union effort, or were they allowed to assimilate up north into the communities under Union control?
There have been many discussions on deserters concerning their morale, and other points of interest, but I don't recall any discussion concerning their final fate. Does anyone have verifiable sources of what happened to these men? This is a lot of manpower and many mouths to have to feed and they would not have been treated as prisoners of war. So what became of the nearly 8000 men that deserted from the rebel army at the end of 1863 in East Tennessee?
Thanks,
Lubliner.
 

damYankee

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Were they considered "Galvanized Yankees " ? If so they may have been pressed into serving in the western territories .
 

ErnieMac

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I have to imagine that a significant number of them were from Tennessee. By October, 1863, almost the entire state was under Union control. They could have taken the Oath, been released on parole and permitted to return home.
 
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I have to imagine that a significant number of them were from Tennessee. By October, 1863, almost the entire state was under Union control. They could have taken the Oath, been released on parole and permitted to return home.
The control really only extends to Knoxville (sometimes Greeneville). The area between Knoxville and Bristol is really a no-mans land.
 
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ErnieMac

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You are right, which is why I qualified my response. I realize that the northeastern tip and the areas between Chattanooga and Knoxville were not occupied by Federal troops.
 

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