This Week in the Civil War | Recruitment drives, deserter court-martialed

January 10, 2014 

Recruitment drives, deserter court-martialed

In January 1864, authorities on both sides were seeking to recruit new fighters as the conflict dragged on inexorably.

The Springfield Republican in Massachusetts reported on Jan. 1, 1864, of much going on despite a lull in the fighting. Quoting dispatches from The Associated Press in part, the paper said Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s forces had returned from Knoxville, Tenn., to a base in Chattanooga, tired, dirtied and clothes shredded after recent fighting.

“While Gen. Sherman’s men were returning … they encountered a furious storm, and when they reached Chattanooga many of them were barefooted, and not a few of them wore pantaloons, the legs of which had been torn into shreds to the knees.”

A dispatch from Philadelphia reported the court-martial of a Union private found guilty of desertion. He was sentenced to be shot and, the report said, the sentence would be carried out in February 1864.

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