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Indiana Deserters - Civil War

Updated on July 22, 2018
Virginia Allain profile image

In researching my Civil War ancestor, I became fascinated by all aspects of that war. If you're a Civil War buff, check out my topics.

Source

What Happened to the Deserters of Company G, 93rd Indiana Infantry?

As you search your family genealogy, what if you find a Civil War ancestor who's not a hero, but a deserter? It might be a let-down or a shock, but think it though. There are many factors that influence a soldier's behavior during wartime.

In my great-great grandfather's diary, I found his list of the men he served with in Company G, 93rd Indiana Infantry. A separate page was headed "Names of deserters of Co. G. of 93 regiment.of Ind. volunteer Infantry." I was curious about the seven names listed. Could I find anything about these men 150 years later? How had their lives turned out after they deserted their regiment in wartime? What caused them to desert?

Library of Congress graphic available from Zazzle:
Civil War Soldier Being Welcomed Home by lc_civilwar

Abraham Bates Tower's List of Deserters from Company G, the 93rd Indiana Infantry - Page 11 of my great-great grandfather's pocket diary

93rd infantry company G deserters in civil War
93rd infantry company G deserters in civil War | Source

Alphonse Dupont - Deserted 1 June 1864

He deserted at Memphis, but returned about six months later on 16 December 1864. There was no trial and he was restored to duty but lost his pay for that time.

After the war, he married Marie Goffinet. They had six children. He died in 1919.

August Dupont - Deserted June 1864

He deserted at the same time as his brother Alphonse Dupont (above) and returned the same time. He was reinstated but lost pay for the time absent. He married Elisa Rhodes. He died in 1907.

One in seven enlisted Union soldiers and one in nine Confederate soldiers deserted.

Jerome Goffinet - Deserted March 13, 1863

(is this the right Jerome?) Marie Leonie DAMIN and Jerome GOFFINET Sr. were married on 14 November 1866 in St. Augustine Catholic Church, Leopold, Perry County, Indiana, USA.

Private Francis M. Hobbs - Deserted December 13, 1863

The company roster lists him as deserting on December 14, 1863. My ancestor's diary just lists him as F.M. Hobbs.

I had no success finding anything about his life in my online searches.

His place of residence when he joined Company G was listed as Maxville, Indiana. He was mustered in on August 28, 1862.

Desertion During the Civil War

Desertion during the Civil War
Desertion during the Civil War

The author discusses the reasons for desertion and how the loss of manpower affected the outcome of the war. I found it very enlightening to read this book for better understanding of the reasons men deserted.

 

William M. Sturdevant - Deserted July 22, 1864

His residence was listed as Memphis. He deserted on July 22, 1864.

On Abraham Tower's list, the last name was spelled Sturdyvan. Probably just Abraham's attempt at spelling it from having heard the name. He also listed the first name as James, but the official roster lists William M. Sturdevant.

I found him on ancestry.com with an enlistment date of 8 Dec 1863. So it was 7 months later that he deserted.

Reasons Soldiers Deserted During the Civil War

Captured deserters generally were not shot or hanged because manpower was so precious.

  • Lack of necessary equipment, clothing and food
  • Becoming discouraged and tired of the long war
  • Problems at home needing their presence
  • Health problems
  • The need to go home for planting season

How Would You Feel to Find an Ancestor Was a Deserter?

Vote in the poll

See results

Diaries Tell the Story of Desertions in the South

No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion: A Composite Diary of the Last 16 Months of the Confederacy from 1864 to 1865
No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion: A Composite Diary of the Last 16 Months of the Confederacy from 1864 to 1865

Using bits from letters and diaries written by many soldiers compiled together, this account shows how conditions for the Confederate troops affected their will to stick it out or to desert.

You will find many of the accounts quite emotionally touching. This goes far beyond the usual accounts by bringing it to the personal level.

 

© 2011 Virginia Allain

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    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I can totally understand deserting. It may not be what we think of as being the noble thing to do, but we are all humans.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      The reasons for desertion are so varied...you did a good job pointing out these events. Wonderful, human story. Blessed.

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