Discussion What was done with deserters that crossed the line?

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
What did both sides do with deserters who entered their lines? These really were not prisoners in the normal sense. They often were a good source of information about the enemy. Sending them off to a prisoner of war camp would discourage future deserters from entering your line. Still I am not sure they could simply be allowed to wander about. If they were considered prisoners were they exchanged back to the enemy? Keeping them around would require feeding and clothing them so probably something had to be done with them.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Many Confedrate deserters joined either Unionist Regiments or various out of state Regiments. . Many just went North in search of jobs.
Leftyhunter
What did both sides do with deserters who entered their lines? These really were not prisoners in the normal sense. They often were a good source of information about the enemy. Sending them off to a prisoner of war camp would discourage future deserters from entering your line. Still I am not sure they could simply be allowed to wander about. If they were considered prisoners were they exchanged back to the enemy? Keeping them around would require feeding and clothing them so probably something had to be done wi
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
A fe
Did this also apply to Federals who deserted? (Assuming this was even a thing...guessing if so, to a much smaller degree)
A few Union soldiers did desert to the Confedrate Army but nothing on the scale of Confedrate soldiers. There really were no jobs in the Confedracy that paid anything of value.
Leftyhunter
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Location
Reno, Nevada
Here's how my gg-grandfather Valentine Spawr described one desertion case in his diary July 30, 1863. He was in camp at Fort Halleck, Ky. (From my book; see my signature.)

"We had a very disagreeable sight this evening. The troops of this place was all called out in 3 batallions forming two long lines two ranks each at about thirty paces from each other and there was a man by the name of raney from some Indianna Regiment marched through that was aprehended as a deserter down in arkansas. He had a large play card fastened on his back with deserter printed on it. He had to march to the tune of the rogue’s march played by our Regimental band. He was quite lame having to be shot through the leg before they catched him. He also was sentanced to forfeit all pay due or here after due and put in prison at alton [Illinois] during the war."
 

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