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1865 March 11: Furloughed and Paroled Wisconsin Soldiers

March 15, 2015

Two reports to Wisconsin Governor James T. Lewis from George W. Sturges, one of Wisconsin’s agents in the field to help soldiers.  These reports were published in The Prescott Journal of March 11, 1865.

Notice to Furloughed Soldiers. 

ST. LOUIS, Mo., Feb. 23d, 1865

His Excellency James T. Lewis, Governor of Wisconsin :

DEAR SIR :  I cut the attached “notice to furloughed soldiers” from the Democrat of this date.  Although it is an old subject, still in publication in our State papers may be of utility and save the fair “name and fame” of some of our Wisconsin soldiers, who are still absent from the hospitals through ignorance of regulations.  A charge of desertion recorded against a soldier, always makes more or less trouble for him.

Your ob’t serv’t,       GEO. W. STURGES,
.                       .Wisconsin State Agent.

Washington, Nov. 9, 1864. }

Application for transfer of men absent from hospitals on furlough, will not be entertained, nor will such transfer be made, except upon sufficient evidence or inability to travel. All men failing to return to hospitals from which they received furloughs, upon the expiration thereof, will be reported as deserters.

We understand that many soldiers, instead of returning at the expiration of their furloughs, send back to the hospital certificates of physicians of inability to perform military duty, thinking thereby to get an extension of furlough.

Furloughs are not extended in this way, and such men are to be reported as deserters. We are informed that a large number of men who were furloughed just before the election last fall, have not returned to the hospitals, and that they, as well as many others who received furloughs before and since the election have been reported to Washington as deserters. Men furloughed from hospitals are not expected to be fit for duty before returning, but they are required to return promptly, if able to travel.

Paroled Wisconsin Prisoners.

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 27, 1865.

His Excellency James T. Lewis, Gov. of Wis.

RESPECTED SIR :—Information has been received at this Post and preparations made for receiving 7,000 paroled Union soldiers.  They receive all attention and those not fit for service in sixty days are being furloughed.  I sent some nine men of the 19th Regiment home yesterday.

I was called on by two paroled Wisconsin soldiers for assistance ;  they represented they were necessitous, and wanted some shirts, drawers and socks.  I gave them an order on Sanitary Commission, with instructions if they were not satisfactorily served to bring back the order to me.  They were furnished promptly.

I immediately went to Col. B. L. E. Bonniwell, U. S. A., in charge of Benton Barracks, and he requested me in all future cases to send such applications to him direct, and he would personally see their wants supplied.  I have sent all other applications to him, and he has promptly supplied them with all necessary clothing, and when he furloughs men he pays them two months’ wages, and in the absence of their descriptive rolls charges the amount paid on their furloughs.

I take pleasure in reporting these facts.  Col. Bonniwell knows his duty, and appears to wish to do it.  All assistance I can render the men in getting transportation and seeing them on their way, I cheerfully do, but it is no sinecure duty.

.       .Wis. State Agent.

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