View single post by Hellcat
 Posted: Tue Sep 24th, 2013 04:20 am
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Hellcat
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But what was the penalty? According to The 1863 Laws of War death was the primary penalty for desertion, but not the only possible penalty. On page 8, from Part I:

ART. 20. All officers and soldiers who have received pay, or have been duly enlisted in the service of the United States, and shall be convicted of having deserted the same, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as, by sentence of a court-martial, shall be inflicted.*

It does make it clear that death is the penalty for desertion. But it also makes it clear that there was the possibility of other punishments. Now note the asterisk, which is actually in the manual and leads to a note on the bottom of the page.

*No officer or soldier in the Army of the United States shall be subject to the punishment of death, for desertion in time of peace.---Act-29th May, 1830.

So the punishment of death only applied during time of war. Yet it never makes clear in this article what other punishments might be. However, it states that it is by court-martial that death or some other punishment be inflicted.


But punishment for desertion didn't always end with the deserter. Move over to page 9 and Articles 22 and 23. Now according to the table of contents Article 22 is supposed to be about discharges, but it is also about desertion.

ART. 22. No non-commissioned officer or soldier shall enlist himself in any other regiment, troop, or company, without a regular discharge from the regiment, troop, or company in which he last served, on penalty of being reputed a deserter and suffering accordingly. And in case any officer shall knowingly receive or entertain such non-commissioned officer or soldier, or shall not, after his being discovered to be a deserter, immediately confine him, and give notice thereof to the corps in which he last served, the said officer shall, by a court-martial, be cashiered.

ART. 23. Any officer or soldier who shall be convicted of having advised or persuaded any other officer or soldier to desert the service of the United States, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as shall be inflicted upon him by the sentence of a court-martial.

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