Was there a protocol for deserters that were returned to action?

Lubliner

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From what I have read, the Provost guards performed that duty while under arrest. Once returned to the unit, then the 'deserter' would be observed by the non-coms of a company. This would be after approval from the Major, Colonel, or General in charge. I am sure such necessary steps were taken to assure the unit's safety.
Lubliner.
 
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From what I have read, the Provost guards performed that duty while under arrest. Once returned to the unit, then the 'deserter' would be observed by the non-coms of a company. This would be after approval from the Major, Colonel, or General in charge. I am sure such necessary steps were taken to assure the unit's safety.
Lubliner.
At night when people fell asleep, were former deserters put in a special area? Maybe a night watch?
 

Lubliner

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Not that I know of. You are speaking of similarities to work-release details for current prisoners near probation time. As far as I have read the returnees' were assimilated into their company, which is under normal supervision. I would think any special cases would be held under guard, or released as I stated. Communication for resolving was passed through the chain of command.
Lubliner.
[Edit]: Possibly the A. P. Hill arrest by Jackson may be beneficial to study.
 

Rhea Cole

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The North Carolina troops in the Army of Northern Virginia deserted at such a rate that Lee took extreme measures to keep them in the ranks. What Lee wanted to happen was to have AWOL's be captured & returned to the ranks. Much to Lee's distress, the vicious behavior of the North Carolina home guard following Gov Nance's instructions killed them instead. There are several good books about the murderous war within the war fought in North Carolina.

Confederate soldiers from Tennessee, Arkansas & other Western States would desert when their home counties were abandoned. Entire companies left at one time. Between Tullahoma & Chattanooga, Bragg shot at least two officers for encouraging or allowing their men to desert. Men who fell afoul of Bragg's provosts could expect a short shrift.

Rosecrans had a relatively enlightened policy regarding individuals who voluntarily returned to the army. Repeat offenders who were arrested could be dealt with in a remarkably humane manner. Repeat offenders were shot, but it was a very rare fate in the Army of the Cumberland.

During the Atlanta Campaign, Union pickets communicated across the line the existence of places where a man could cross the lines safely. After Hood took command, multiple company sized units held meetings & went across the lines. Men who voluntarily surrendered received special treatment. That was a remarkable example of enlightened self interest. Men who crossed the lines under those conditions were unlikely to ever fall under Confederate control again.
 
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Texas
The North Carolina troops in the Army of Northern Virginia deserted at such a rate that Lee took extreme measures to keep them in the ranks. What Lee wanted to happen was to have AWOL's be captured & returned to the ranks. Much to Lee's distress, the vicious behavior of the North Carolina home guard following Gov Nance's instructions killed them instead. There are several good books about the murderous war within the war fought in North Carolina.

Confederate soldiers from Tennessee, Arkansas & other Western States would desert when their home counties were abandoned. Entire companies left at one time. Between Tullahoma & Chattanooga, Bragg shot at least two officers for encouraging or allowing their men to desert. Men who fell afoul of Bragg's provosts could expect a short shrift.

Rosecrans had a relatively enlightened policy regarding individuals who voluntarily returned to the army. Repeat offenders who were arrested could be dealt with in a remarkably humane manner. Repeat offenders were shot, but it was a very rare fate in the Army of the Cumberland.

During the Atlanta Campaign, Union pickets communicated across the line the existence of places where a man could cross the lines safely. After Hood took command, multiple company sized units held meetings & went across the lines. Men who voluntarily surrendered received special treatment. That was a remarkable example of enlightened self interest. Men who crossed the lines under those conditions were unlikely to ever fall under Confederate control again.
Will Caldwell was one of those deserters 😂 😂 😂
 

Lampasas Bill

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In Arkansas, during the summer of 1864, General Jo Shelby's division was tasked with returning deserters to the ranks and conscripting stay-at-homes to fill General Sterling Price's army for his raid into Missouri. Major James R. Shaler, Price's inspector-general, characterized Price's 20,000-men army: "There was all the disorder that must necessarily obtain in an undisciplined command. . . . About 5,000 of the troops were of the usual character of Confederate cavalry, The remainder were deserters and conscripts officered by men of their own kind." It's hard to say how many of the recaptured deserters remained in the ranks during the raid.
 

Rhea Cole

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ECWCTOPICDesertionCowardiceandPunishmentPIC.jpg

Deserter Welcomed by Union Pickets​

Thanks for posting this question. I realized that it has been a very long time since I have looked into this subject. For a couple of decades, my wife & I participated in the Hallowed Ground Lantern Tour of Stones River National Cemetery. We portrayed the parents of a soldier named Spencer Sober who died of "the lung fever" a few days after he rejoined his unit in Murfreesboro TN. The soldier whose story preceded ours was named Menix. He was shot after deserting six times, if memory serves.

In 1861 Confederate law allowed for a sentence of thirty-nine lashes & branding with the letter "D" that reflected pre-war U.S. Army regulations that were no longer in effect. Common punishments included shaming by wearing sandwich board placards with"Coward" written on it or a ball & chain. Drumming out of camp was relatively rare because the whole point was to keep the deserter in the ranks.

Menix was a homesick newlywed & appears to have been simple minded. He had been treated as AWOL rather than as a deserter. That was typical of the treatment returning soldiers received on both sides during the early war period. There are records of 400 deaths by firing squad for desertion each on both sides.

The best estimate is that about 1 in 10 Union soldier deserted. Lack of records make precise accounting of Southern desertion impossible. Jefferson Davis said that 3/4ths of the Confederate army was AWOL. I can only assume that he knew what he was talking about. Records indicate that only about 10% of the men who deserted returned to the ranks via one means or another. Southern desertion was encouraged by Lincoln's remarkably humane policy that encouraged Confederate soldiers to desert.

Beginning in 1862, any soldier who came into Union lines voluntarily & signed a parole (swallowed the dog) was given transportation home. His family had the opportunity to sign a loyalty oath, as well. As more & more Confederate territory fell under Union occupation, some 30,000 men took advantage of Lincoln's Proclamation of Amnesty & Reconstruction. Tens of thousands of others simply went home.

After Gettysburg, desertion from the Army of Northern Virginia was so sever that Lee worried that it would prevent him from carrying on the war. Compounding the loss of thousands of men from the ranks was the fact that they took their weapons with them. Not only did groups of armed deserters prey on civilians, they actively resisted the efforts to bring them back into the ranks. Interestingly, there is very little written about Union deserters. It really is a subject where the Confederate experience is vastly more interesting & vital.


Recommended reading.
<essentialcivilwarcurriculum.com> Desertion, Cowardice & Punishment by Mark A. Weitz is a concise essay that I recommend.
Confederate Death Sentences: A Guide. by Thomas P. Lowry is very grim reading.
My copy of "I Shall Never Forget the Name of You": The Home Front, Desertion, & Oath Swearing in Wartime Tennessee. Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Spring 2000 has half a dozen postit notes sticking out of it.
 
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A. Roy

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I don't know a great deal about the Confederate desertion problem and policies associated with it, but I recently came across the curious case of James C. Cline of the 57th NC, Co. E. He is sometimes referred to as Calvin Cline, which has caused some confusion between him and another Calvin Cline of the 23rd NC. I've determined that these are unlikely to be the same person, given the different units, and different dates and circumstances of death (which I will explain shortly). Cline was a common surname in Catawba County, NC, so two Calvins is probably just a coincidence. (As far as I know, neither one is related to the designer of fine apparel.)

Most of what I've learned about James C. Cline is found in his compiled service record. According to the remarks in Cline's company muster roll for Jan-Feb 1863, he deserted near Fredericksburg on 17 Jan 1863:

JamesCCline_57thNC_Desertion_Fold3.png


CS documents then show that, on 28 Jan 1863, a C.C. Leay (or Leary?) was paid $30.00 for having arrested Cline and delivered him to Richmond:

JCCline_ParkhillBounty_Fold3.png


If I read the following document correctly, C.C. Leay was a "Steward of the Palmyra Hospital," and was "authorized by Gen. John H. Winder to arrest deserters." Winder's name makes sense, as he was provost marshal general in Richmond and in charge of Confederate prisons. I'm puzzled by the mention of Palmyra Hospital. There was a Confederate hospital in Palmyra, Virginia, so maybe Leay worked there or at another hospital and was known for his skills at catching deserters.

Cline_LeayBounty.png


I wonder about the $30.00 bounty paid for Cline. Would a run-of-the-mill deserter in early 1863 have been worth commissioning a bounty hunter and paying $30.00?

That's all I was able to learn about Cline's case from the CSR. However, a search on Ancestry.com added a tidbit to Cline's story, based on data from Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865. This source must have access to prison records or something like that, because it adds the important information that James Calvin Cline died 11 Feb 1863 in Castle Thunder Prison in Richmond.

Cline's death was only about two weeks after his being delivered to Richmond. Castle Thunder was noted for its brutality, so I wonder whether Cline was executed there (or shanked or something). An entry in Encyclopedia Virginia says that disease was rampant in the prison in January 1863, including dysentery and smallpox, so that could be another explanation for Cline's death.

So that's the peculiar desertion story I ran into recently. It leaves me with some questions:

1. Is this a typical story of a Confederate deserter and the efforts that might have been made to capture him?

2. If his death at Castle Thunder was by execution, what does that indicate about the kind of deserter he was, e.g., repeat offender or suspected spy? If he was a particularly hard case or a repeater, why isn't this reflected in his CSR?

3. What records are there that might reveal more about his case?

Roy B.
 
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Joined
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Location
Texas
I don't know a great deal about the Confederate desertion problem and policies associated with it, but I recently came across the curious case of James C. Cline of the 57th NC, Co. E. He is sometimes know as Calvin Cline, which has caused some confusion between him and another Calvin Cline of the 23rd NC. I've determined that these are unlikely to be the same person, given the different units, and different dates and circumstances of death (which I will explain shortly). Cline was a common surname in Catawba County, NC, so two Calvins is probably just a coincidence. (As far as I know, neither one is related to the designer of fine apparel.)

Most of what I've learned about James C. Cline is found in his compiled service record. According to the remarks in Cline's company muster roll for Jan-Feb 1863, he deserted near Fredericksburg on 17 Jan 1863:

View attachment 378025

CS documents then show that, on 28 Jan 1863, a C.C. Leay (or Leary?) was paid $30.00 for having arrested Cline and delivered him to Richmond:

View attachment 378027

If I read the following document correctly, C.C. Leay was a "Steward of the Palmyra Hospital," and was "authorized by Gen. John H. Winder to arrest deserters." Winder's name makes sense, as he was provost marshal general in Richmond and in charge of Confederate prisons. I'm puzzled by the mention of Palmyra Hospital. There was a Confederate hospital in Palmyra, Virginia, so maybe Leay worked there or at another hospital and was known for his skills at catching deserters.

View attachment 378042

I wonder about the $30.00 bounty paid for Cline. Would a run-of-the-mill deserter in early 1863 have been worth commissioning a bounty hunter and paying $30.00?

That's all I was able to learn about Cline's case from the CSR. However, a search on Ancestry.com added a tidbit to Cline's story, based on data from Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865. This source must have access to prison records or something like that, because it adds the important information that James Calvin Cline died 11 Feb 1863 in Castle Thunder Prison in Richmond.

Cline's death was only about two weeks after his being delivered to Richmond. Castle Thunder was noted for its brutality, so I wonder whether Cline was executed there (or shanked or something). An entry in Encyclopedia Virginia says that disease was rampant in the prison in January 1863, including dysentery and smallpox, so that could be another explanation for Cline's death.

So that's the peculiar desertion story I ran into recently. It leaves me with some questions:

1. Is this a typical story of a Confederate deserter and the efforts that might have been made to capture him?

2. If his death at Castle Thunder was by execution, what does that indicate about the kind of deserter he was, e.g., repeat offender or suspected spy? If he was a particularly hard case or a repeater, why isn't this reflected in his CSR?

3. What records are there that might reveal more about his case?

Roy B.
Wow, if you find out any of those three things let me know. Maybe Cline was naturally violent and it caught up to him?
 

leftyhunter

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Location
los angeles ca
I don't know a great deal about the Confederate desertion problem and policies associated with it, but I recently came across the curious case of James C. Cline of the 57th NC, Co. E. He is sometimes referred to as Calvin Cline, which has caused some confusion between him and another Calvin Cline of the 23rd NC. I've determined that these are unlikely to be the same person, given the different units, and different dates and circumstances of death (which I will explain shortly). Cline was a common surname in Catawba County, NC, so two Calvins is probably just a coincidence. (As far as I know, neither one is related to the designer of fine apparel.)

Most of what I've learned about James C. Cline is found in his compiled service record. According to the remarks in Cline's company muster roll for Jan-Feb 1863, he deserted near Fredericksburg on 17 Jan 1863:

View attachment 378025

CS documents then show that, on 28 Jan 1863, a C.C. Leay (or Leary?) was paid $30.00 for having arrested Cline and delivered him to Richmond:

View attachment 378027

If I read the following document correctly, C.C. Leay was a "Steward of the Palmyra Hospital," and was "authorized by Gen. John H. Winder to arrest deserters." Winder's name makes sense, as he was provost marshal general in Richmond and in charge of Confederate prisons. I'm puzzled by the mention of Palmyra Hospital. There was a Confederate hospital in Palmyra, Virginia, so maybe Leay worked there or at another hospital and was known for his skills at catching deserters.

View attachment 378042

I wonder about the $30.00 bounty paid for Cline. Would a run-of-the-mill deserter in early 1863 have been worth commissioning a bounty hunter and paying $30.00?

That's all I was able to learn about Cline's case from the CSR. However, a search on Ancestry.com added a tidbit to Cline's story, based on data from Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865. This source must have access to prison records or something like that, because it adds the important information that James Calvin Cline died 11 Feb 1863 in Castle Thunder Prison in Richmond.

Cline's death was only about two weeks after his being delivered to Richmond. Castle Thunder was noted for its brutality, so I wonder whether Cline was executed there (or shanked or something). An entry in Encyclopedia Virginia says that disease was rampant in the prison in January 1863, including dysentery and smallpox, so that could be another explanation for Cline's death.

So that's the peculiar desertion story I ran into recently. It leaves me with some questions:

1. Is this a typical story of a Confederate deserter and the efforts that might have been made to capture him?

2. If his death at Castle Thunder was by execution, what does that indicate about the kind of deserter he was, e.g., repeat offender or suspected spy? If he was a particularly hard case or a repeater, why isn't this reflected in his CSR?

3. What records are there that might reveal more about his case?

Roy B.
I can bump up an old thread on Confedrate desertion it was a very significant problem for the Confedracy and a major reason why they lost.
Leftyhunter
 

A. Roy

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I can bump up an old thread on Confedrate desertion it was a very significant problem for the Confedracy and a major reason why they lost.
Leftyhunter

Yes, that would be interesting to see. One thing I'm wondering (in part illustrated by my James Calvin Cline case) is what would make the difference between getting accepted back into your unit and getting taken to Castle Thunder to be brutalized and shot.

Roy B.
 

leftyhunter

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los angeles ca
Yes, that would be interesting to see. One thing I'm wondering (in part illustrated by my James Calvin Cline case) is what would make the difference between getting accepted back into your unit and getting taken to Castle Thunder to be brutalized and shot.

Roy B.
A lot of variables especially as to who the commanding officer is and the individual record and reputation of the deserter is.
Leftyhunter
 

Rhea Cole

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Yes, that would be interesting to see. One thing I'm wondering (in part illustrated by my James Calvin Cline case) is what would make the difference between getting accepted back into your unit and getting taken to Castle Thunder to be brutalized and shot.

Roy B.
The reading I did indicates that just like the present day, death penalty was imposed in a random illogical fashion. Men with identical records received a light punishment or were shot without rhyme nor reason. Soldiers & officers complained of exactly that. Lincoln & Davis commuted every death sentence that crossed their desks.
 

leftyhunter

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los angeles ca
Yes, that would be interesting to see. One thing I'm wondering (in part illustrated by my James Calvin Cline case) is what would make the difference between getting accepted back into your unit and getting taken to Castle Thunder to be brutalized and shot.

Roy B.
I can't seem to find the aforementioned thread. I know it was pretty high especially per Jefferson Davis's speech at Macon Georgia in September 1864 where Davis stated two thirds of the Confedrate Army was AWOL and the speech is online just Google "Jefferson Davis Speech Macon Georgia Rice University". That should get you the speech. The book " " Bitterly Divided the South's Inner Civil War" David Williams thenewpress.com goes into extensive detail about Confedrate desertion.
Leftyhunter
 

Lubliner

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@A. Roy there were special orders sent out for any citizen that would turn in a deserter to the Provost Guards or a sheriff to receive money. There were in those orders also stipulations for transporting the prisoner by a 'sheriff' of civil law to the Provost Guard with added expenses paid. The reference I had was for the Virginia area and I do not know if it was common with the west.
Lubliner.
 
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In Arkansas, during the summer of 1864, General Jo Shelby's division was tasked with returning deserters to the ranks and conscripting stay-at-homes to fill General Sterling Price's army for his raid into Missouri. Major James R. Shaler, Price's inspector-general, characterized Price's 20,000-men army: "There was all the disorder that must necessarily obtain in an undisciplined command. . . . About 5,000 of the troops were of the usual character of Confederate cavalry, The remainder were deserters and conscripts officered by men of their own kind." It's hard to say how many of the recaptured deserters remained in the ranks during the raid.
It's hard to tell how many would have been killed as guerrillas if they didn't remain as well. Missouri Militias weren't all that welcoming to anyone they found on roads or the countryside.
 

Rhea Cole

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@A. Roy there were special orders sent out for any citizen that would turn in a deserter to the Provost Guards or a sheriff to receive money. There were in those orders also stipulations for transporting the prisoner by a 'sheriff' of civil law to the Provost Guard with added expenses paid. The reference I had was for the Virginia area and I do not know if it was common with the west.
Lubliner.
Your citation is apt. In the West the Confederacy had lost control of vast swaths of territory. A deserter from Tennessee who swallowed the dog could go home & be safe from CSA authorities. Amongst the folks in the Murfreesboro TN area that I know, many of their CSA ancestors did exactly that. Their experience bears no resemblance to the vicious war within the war fought in the Carolina mountains. Judging by the responses to Similar Threads, a knowledge of that brutal part of the war deserves a wider audience.
 
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