1863 Post-Chancellorsville Order to 3rd Corps Re: Preventing Deserters from Escaping with Homebound Regiments


1863 Post-Chancellorsville Order to 3rd Corps Re: Preventing Deserters from Escaping with Homebound Regiments


Item No. 9718537

This is an interesting May 16, 1863 order from Colonel Edmund Schriver (though, written out by a staff officer), of the Army of the Potomac's Inspector General's Department, to Captain J. S. Poland of the Inspector General's Department of the 3rd Army Corps. The Army was facing a crisis. Many of the volunteer regiments that had enlisted for two years were preparing to depart for their home states. Morale was low following the defeat the previous December at Fredericksburg and the previous week's defeat at Chancellorsville, leading many men to desert. It was believed deserters would attempt to "blend in" with the homebound regiments leaving the front. To prevent such escapes, this circular was issued by order of General Joseph Hooker. It reads:

Head Quarters Army of the Potomac
Inspector General’s Office
May 16th 1863.

the Asst. Insp. Genl. of the 3rd Corps:

To guard against the possibility of deserters making their escape under the cloak of regiments which are embarking for their homes, it is hereby made the duty of officers of this Department to co-operate with the Provost Marshal General when troops whose time of Service has expired, shall leave.

Accordingly, when a regiment of your Corps is to depart, a Division or Brigade Inspector will be designated by you to accompany it to the transport, and before any part of it is permitted to embark, regimental officers will be required to call the company rolls, each man stepping from the ranks as his name is called. Sentinels having been previously posted on the vessels, with instructions to permit no one to go on board without a written pass from the Provost Marshal General. The companies whose rolls have been called will be marched on board, after which no man is to be allowed to go ashore on any pretext whatever. If, on any occasion, the Provost Marshal General’s Department cannot furnish a sufficient guard to carry out these instructions strictly, then the officer of this Department will call on the commanding officer of the regiment embarking for it. After each tour of duty a prompt report will be made to this office.

By command of Maj Genl Hooker,
(Signed) Ed. Schriver
Inspector General

Head Quarters 3rd Army Corps
Office of Asst Insp General
May 18th, 1863.


J. S. Poland
Capt. and A.A.I. General
3rd Corps.

The order is docketed on the reverse side. It was written upon a 7 3/4" x 9 3/4" stationery sheet. The paper is in excellent condition and isn't stiff or particularly delicate. Very little wear to corners and edges.

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