Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Defectors, Deserters and Draft Dodgers

Today's entry is from A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital by John Beauchamp Jones
September 6, 1863
. . .In Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Georgia, we have accounts of much and growing defection, and the embodying of large numbers of deserters. Indeed, all our armies seem to be melting away by desertion faster than they are enlarged by conscription. They will return when there is fighting to do !
Currier & Ives illustration from the Library of Congress.

 In the illustration above, the Library of Congress says, "The artist characterizes regular Confederate troops as unsavory, criminal types. Two of them (in uniform, left and center) have a well-dressed young gentleman in tow. The leader pulls on a rope around the reluctant recruit's neck, saying, "Come along you rascal! and fight for our King Cotton." The man protests, "Let me go, I tell you I'm a Union Man, and don't believe in your Southern Confederacy." He is prodded by the bayonet of a second soldier, gin flask protruding from his pocket, who urges, "Blast your Union! Them as won't go in for the war must be made to do it. Go ahead, or we'll hang you on the next tree." A second group follows. Two men in wide-brimmed hats have seized another gentleman, and urge him at bayonet point toward the left. One of the men, barefoot and ragged, with a knife and pistol in his belt, resembles a Mexican bandit. Atop a nearby hill two soldiers drag a third civilian along the ground by a rope around his neck."

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