View single post by CleburneFan
 Posted: Tue Oct 7th, 2008 02:13 pm
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Joined: Mon Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 1021

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Albert Sailhorst wrote: If the ANV had food prior to Appomattox, the desertion rate would have been lower and they would have fought on untill they ran out of food/supplies......

The reasons for desertion were more complex than simply near starvation of ANV soldiers. They often deserted because their families back home were also near starvation. When virtually every able-bodied white male in the South was away at war, it was left to women and slaves to manage agriculture. The task was nearly impossible, especially when slaves began to flee their owners to follow Union columns.

The burden was especially hard on those women who had few or no slaves. Their situations and that of their children approached dire straits by 1864 and certainly 1865. They begged their husbands to come home because they could no longer do the impossible themselves. A man who might be willing to sacrifce his own hunger for the Cause would think long and hard about leaving his own family and elderly parents destitute. Also further fighting risked life and limb, meaning the man might never return. Duty to family began to weigh heavily on potential deserters most especially when it began to be a real possibility that the South could not win the war anyway.  

I fully understand the motivations of such men who deserted under the formidable circumstances they faced daily.

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