User avatar
Calvin809
Private
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:25 am
Location: MN, USA

disobedience, mutiny, desertion

Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:23 pm

Lets start the topic. How widespread was desertion, mutiny, disobedience. This one might be easier than the hand to hand combat one but maybe not.

Here is a few articles I found so far

http://www.civilwarhome.com/desertion.htm
http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/desertion-during-civil-war

Most of my reading I have noticed a lot of issues with stragglers for various reasons from being unfit to march to chasing after a pig to eat it. Its interesting how much the numbers of an army go up if they have a chance to sit for a few days without moving.

User avatar
Jim-NC
Posts: 2981
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:21 pm
Location: Near Region 209, North Carolina

Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:25 am

Do you plan to count bounty jumping in the discussion?
Remember - The beatings will continue until morale improves.
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

User avatar
GraniteStater
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1778
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:16 am
Location: Annapolis, MD - What?

Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:00 am

The CSA was never a wholly popular government. Burn's documentary has several references to internal dissension, more than a little Unionism, avoidance of draft officers - and that was in '62, '63. Towards the end, in the fall of '64, Lee & the ANV were leaking hundreds of deserters weekly, or even daily.

"It was increasingly a Confederacy of the mind..." - and, "things began to close in on them." Judah Benjamin was remarkable, Gorgas made do very ingeniously, but resorting to expediency as a normal state of affairs is telling. Over time, the lack of wherewithal had a toll on morale and people's determination - remember, a very large proportion of the slaves were concentrated on the larger farms and plantations, the vast majority of 'slaveholders' had six, or a dozen, fewer than twenty. The 'slaveholding class', as a class, was mostly the bigger interests. I can see more than a few of the average southerners saying to themselves, "why should I risk all so Mr. Plantation can have his free labor? If the Yankees want to free the slaves so badly, let 'em - being in the Union wasn't so bad..."
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]
-Daniel Webster

[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]
-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898

RULES
(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.
(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.


Image

User avatar
Keeler
Captain
Posts: 152
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:51 pm

Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:08 pm

GraniteStater wrote:Towards the end, in the fall of '64, Lee & the ANV were leaking hundreds of deserters weekly. or even daily.


Indeed. One of the results of Sherman's "total war" policy was making the situation so bad on the homefront that Confederate soldiers began receiving domestic pressure to come home, replant, and rebuild. Confederate desertion spiked dramatically during the 1865 planting season. By that point the situation was hopeless, and areas of the South faced starvation if the remaining men didn't return.

There's a difference between this type of mass, permanent desertion, skulking and temporary dropping out of the ranks, and men who legitimately couldn't keep up the pace. From what I've read there was a good number of men who intentionally disappeared or "couldn't keep up with the regiment" when a battle was imminent, but always returned once the battle was over. This was a wide-enough problem to be noticed but also wide enough, apparently, to be unenforceable.

Bounty jumping was a wide-spread problem for the Union. Bruce Catton has a good section bounty jumpers in A Stillness at Appomattox. But again, this is a different issue than skulking or the mass desertions which occurred toward the war's end.
"Thank God. I thought it was a New York Regiment."- Unknown Confederate major, upon learning he had surrendered to the 6th Wisconsin.

Aktivist
Private
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:16 am

Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:37 am

There were other reasons/occasions for struggling, too.

After the battle of Prairie Grove Hindmans army diminished rapidly in size down to 1.000something. Not because they were hard pressed by the federals, but because the conscripts just went home (as the army was moving through their neighborhoods) or took hide-out in the Ozarks covering from confederate conscription agents. That kind of struggling, as well as what Keeler mentioned in the second paragraph about exhaustion or battle-weariness, is typical for green troops. Isn't it? (Not, that veterans didn't struggle, but it wasn't typical, right?)

khbynum
Major
Posts: 222
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 8:00 pm

Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:17 pm

Yes. it was, though not so much green as poorly disciplined. Toughened veterans could straggle, too, if pushed hard enough. By some estimates Jackson lost as many men during his justly famous Valley Campaign of 1862 from straggling during hard marches as he did in battlefield casualties. Of course, most of those men eventually returned to the ranks but were still absent when a battle had to be fought. They weren't deserters.

Aktivist
Private
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:16 am

Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:39 pm

As you said, these men usually came back to the camps. This counts also for men, whose courage prevented them from going into battle. Or the infamous christmas straggling - being absent some days to celebrate christmas with the family. What the others described, was permanent or long-time straggling.

User avatar
Calvin809
Private
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:25 am
Location: MN, USA

Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:52 am

I don't know if bounty jumping would be the same thing. From what I know if you were a bounty jumper you would sign up to get the bounty then leave and sign up somewhere else. Does that count as desertion? I don't know many details about how it worked but did they even show up to be counted in a unit before they deserted?

User avatar
Ol' Choctaw
Posts: 1642
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:13 pm

Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:48 am

The CSA had corn leave. In the spring farmers were allowed to go home to plant. Not sure about harvest leave. To some extent it is why Lee’s Army at Appomattox was so small.

It was also the reason the Union was able to capture Little Rock in ‘63, and why the paper strength of the CSA was always larger than what they had on hand.

With the volatility of the southern economy, men on leave were sometimes stranded because they didn’t have the money for transportation back to their units.

They were not deserters but it did make for a large absentee rate.

Bounty jumpers were deserters and more likely to be executed than other deserters. It was not as lucrative to be a bounty jumper in the south. Their bounties were $50 or $100 while the north would pay from $300 and sometimes more. The highest I have heard of was about $1,500.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bounty_jumper

User avatar
Keeler
Captain
Posts: 152
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:51 pm

Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:31 pm

Calvin809 wrote:I don't know if bounty jumping would be the same thing. From what I know if you were a bounty jumper you would sign up to get the bounty then leave and sign up somewhere else. Does that count as desertion? I don't know many details about how it worked but did they even show up to be counted in a unit before they deserted?


From my limited reading on bounty jumping, I remember most bounty jumpers headed for the Army of the Potomac would try to disappear while boarding (or aboard) steamers taking them from Washington to City Point. I would imagine that bounty jumpers headed for other commands would also try to jump bounty during transport, as it would be easiest point in the process to disappear.

Enlistees enrolled in a company upon recruitment, therefore bounty jumpers would be absent from that company. And they were punished as deserters.
"Thank God. I thought it was a New York Regiment."- Unknown Confederate major, upon learning he had surrendered to the 6th Wisconsin.

hanny1
Captain
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:57 am

Re: disobedience, mutiny, desertion

Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:39 am

Calvin809 wrote:Lets start the topic. How widespread was desertion, mutiny, disobedience. This one might be easier than the hand to hand combat one but maybe not.

Here is a few articles I found so far

http://www.civilwarhome.com/desertion.htm
http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/desertion-during-civil-war

Most of my reading I have noticed a lot of issues with stragglers for various reasons from being unfit to march to chasing after a pig to eat it. Its interesting how much the numbers of an army go up if they have a chance to sit for a few days without moving.
try desertion cowardice and punishment by wietz, cs lost 30% of its manpower and Us 20% to desertion. Mutiny was less common, 54th mass negro regiment mutinied over pay, had some executed for it. Disobedience was rather common, despite draconian punishments, like bucking and gagging.

Return to “ACW History Club / Histoire de la Guerre de Sécession”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests