War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 1144 N. AND SE. VA., N. C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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of the one that was deserted, as the night was very dark, the sky being overcast with clouds. I think it not improbable that these men have gone home instead of to the Yankees. It is probable that they desert the picket-line to leave the impression that they have gone to the enemy, and thus avoid being reported to the proper authorities in the country from which they hail. Some live in unfrequented parts of the county, and by this artifice, with a little vigilance on their part, could escape detection all the time.


First Lieutenant, Commanding Picket, Right wing, Thirty-fourth Va. Infty.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.]


Captain B. F. SIMMONS,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Finegan's Brigade:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that the circumstances with regard to desertions on the picket-line during my tour of duty were as follows: Early in the night I was led to suspect that Edward G. Berry, Company F, Tenth Florida Regiment, intended to desert; on which I instructed the sentinel on the right and left of his (Berry's) post to remain near him during their tours of duty and prevent him form deserting. At a little after 11 p. m. I was notified by the corporal in charge of these three posts that Edward Berry and the two sentinels had deserted. The sentinels' names are Kayle, of the Ninth Florida Regiment, and Stephens also of the Ninth. I was also informed that three other men had left the line during the night, whose names I could not learn.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain Commanding Brigade Pickets, January 20-21, 1865.

Brigadier General JOSEPH FINEGAN,

Commanding Mahone's Division:

GENERAL: In obedience to your letter I have the honor respectfully to report the result of my tour on picket as division field officer of the picket-line of Mahone's divison. I relieved Colonel Hayne, of Forty-eighth Mississippi, at 2 p. m. 19th instant; found the new picket regularly posted and executing the order prescribed in General Orders, division headquarters, which was continued during my tour on duty. Everything remained perfectly quiet on the line. I regret to have to report a loss of nine men by desertion-seven from the Florida and two from the Virginia brigades. These desertions are becoming amazingly numerous, and I beg leave to submit for your consideration what I esteem to be the main cause of this dissatisfaction, and is, in my opinion, the controlling influence that prompts our men thus to desert-it is the insufficiency of rations. Our men do not get enough to eat. I have been long convinced of this important fact from my own careful observation. I have conversed with the field and line officers of different regi-