Confederate deserter John Johnson reports to Union officers on February, 1865, Confederate troop strengths, and the attitude among the ranks. He describes deserting after getting a sick furlough and taking the train to Staunton.
February 3, 1865.
Statement of Private John Johnson, Company A, Seventh Tennessee Infantry, McComb's brigade, Heth's division, A. P. Hill's corps:
Deserted from my regiment near Petersburg January 26. I got a sick furlough for forty days; came by rail to Staunton; from their became by stage to Mount Jackson; then took the North Mountain down. We were assisted by several Union men below Mount Jackson. There were about sixty men in my regiment; 300 men in the brigade. I heard the quartermaster say that there were about 1,700 men in the division; cannot say how many in the corps. My regiment is on the left of Petersburg. Large numbers of Lee's army are deserting daily; sometimes as many as 200 a day. At least half would desert if they had an opportunity. The report that Lee is to leave the army causes great discontent. The men say that they never will fight under any other commander. A. P. Hill is not very popular as a corps commander. The rations very poor and irregular.
Tilman Etheridge, private, Company H, Seventh Tennessee, deserted with John Johnson, 26th of January. Statement substantially same as Johnson's.
Bibliographic Information : Letter Reproduced from The War of The Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Volume 46, Serial No. 96, Pages 387, Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, NC, 1997.