War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0857 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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Volunteers who were not liable to draft were credited to the locality to which they elected to give their credit. Persons who were liable to draft were credited to the locality in which they were enrolled.

The sub-district, town, county, Congressional district, and State to which they were credited were noted in the column of remarks on their muster and descriptive rolls. All credits for volunteers were reported to the acting assistant provost-marshal-general of the State every ten days.


The importance of securing the arrest of all deserters and stragglers from the Army was so apparent that especial attention was given to this branch of the service.

The deputy provost-marshals of the respective counties and the special agents were required to give this part of their duties careful attention and see that deserters were not permitted to pass through the district without being apprehended.

In order to provide against their escape it was found advisable to authorize a large number of citizens to arrest deserters, whose remuneration was the $30 reward allowed for the apprehension and delivery of deserters.

The persons so authorized operated in various parts of the district, under the supervision of the deputy provost-marshals, who were required to see that all places through which deserters would likely attempt to escape were diligently guarded, and that a sufficient force was on hand to intercept them and insure their apprehension and delivery to the proper officer.

Great care had to be exercised in the selection of persons of courage, integrity, and energy to arrest deserters during the last year of the war, as large bounties were paid to persons entering the army, and there was constant danger of deserters offering to the persons authorized to arrest them a larger amount than the $30 paid for the arrest of deserters; and it was found prudent and judicious to hold those making arrests to a strict accountability for their conduct.

All persons who were delivered as deserters at this office received a careful and fair examination as to their intention to abandon the service, and when they alleged with any reasonable show of truth that they could prove their innocence, the proper offices were communicated with and the merits of the case ascertained before final action was taken.

When there was a reasonable doubt it was the practice of this office to give the prisoner the benefit thereof and turn him over as a straggler, instead of a deserter, with proper explanatory remarks in the column of remarks on the descriptive list forwarded with him.

Special care has been exercised not to oppress any soldier arrested by extorting from him admissions which would criminate him, by inflicting punishment, or examining him with unreasonable severity. It was of rare occurrence, however, that soldiers who were arrested as deserters failed, upon examination, to give correct information as to the company and regiment to which they belonged.

I could easily conceive the importance and necessity of announcing the instructions relative to the examination of deserters, contained in the communication dated Provost-Marshal- General's Bureau, January 26, 1865.