View Full Version : Deserter question

Gary of CA
09-15-2006, 12:32 AM
Why would a Confederate unit change a cook's (enlistment) status from cook after he deserted to private? Was there a bigger bounty on privates than cooks? Was it easier to get from the consripted drafts a replacement for privates than cooks? Remember, he was a cook when he enlisted, a cook when he deserted and post-desertion, he was made a high private. :confused:

Less seriously, could they have wanted him back that bad as he may have been the only capable cook in the organization? :p

GaryYee o' the Land o' Rice a Roni & Cable Cars

09-15-2006, 07:23 AM

Every soldier has a rank, and "cook" is not a rank. I'm guessing he was a private that served as a cook. After he deserted, he was no longer the cook, but he was still a private.


Gary of CA
10-04-2006, 12:16 AM
I've seen (but don't recall where in the files) where colored men were listed as cooks in the Confederate army. Don't ask me which regiment as I've gone through several rolls at the National Archives.

Would non-soldier cooks (say a freeman) be subject to military discipline?

10-04-2006, 12:28 AM
In this case "cook" was just the work detail this guy was, apparently, assigned to at the time he deserted. Sometimes they rotated that. Sometimes somebody got the chore permanently. Either way, when the fellow was gone, they still needed a cook, so somebody else got that detail and the deserter was carried on the books as just his rank. Otherwise -- stay with it and think of the power of paperwork, even in 186x -- they have too many cooks on the books.
I'm offering that as plausible, not definitive. :-)

Hargis, G. 5 A-1
10-04-2006, 01:17 PM
Would non-soldier cooks (say a freeman) be subject to military discipline?

Non-soldiers attached to the Army were subject to court marshal and execution for crimes ever since the war in Mexico. (If not before) I know of one worker hanged for rape there and two teamsters for murder.

Rebs used the same precedents as Feds in matters of military justice.

10-05-2006, 01:05 PM
While I'm not an expert of this, I would have to agree with billwatson. An example I will share comes for a book I just finished reading on the collection of letters from Joshua Callaway from the 38th Alabama. For a few weeks in October of '63 he was detailed as the Lt. of cooks for the regt. He noted that he had a tent and bedding consisting of a mound of hay, several blankets, coverlets, oilcloths, etc. while his pards still on the line had suffer through heavy rains and do without. And his duties were very easy compared to those of running his comapny. In due time he was returned to his company just prior to the Battle of Missionary Ridge, (they were instructed to cook three days rations) where he subsequently died of wounds received in the fray. In a few letters he commented how he enjoyed being "the cook officer" and "officer of cooks". This would lead me to believe that other soldiers were rotated through as cooks when needed.

Jay Reid
9th texas