|Descriptive List of Deserters courtesy of Pennsylvania State University.|
Many researchers are aware of Samuel P. Bates' History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, which lists name, rank, regiment, company and the date the person mustered in and out of the service. This series also tells if he was wounded or died of wounds or sickness while on active duty. The Descriptive List of Deserters gives some additional biographical information, including a physical description (age, height, complexion and color of eyes and hair), place of birth, residence at enlistment and occupation, place of enlistment or enrollment and the name of the officer who enrolled said person.
Surprisingly, deserters were not limited to privates; there were plenty of men of rank, including corporals and sergeants. In the photo shown above, Edwin M. Kelsey, a private in Co. K, 145th PA Vol., age 50, was 5'4.5", had a dark complexion, black eyes and black hair. He was born in Erie County, PA and was a seaman. Edwin resided in Erie Co. when he was assigned to this regiment on August 8, 1862 by Capt. Walker. He deserted on August 31, 1863 from the U.S. General Hospital.
The 111 men on the descriptive list held a variety of jobs prior to joining the 145th, including a butcher, a blacksmith, a carpenter, a cooper, a bar tender, a farmer, a shoemaker, a fisherman and a liquor dealer, to name a few. Ages ranged from 18 to 50 years old.
Click here to view the list of 111 deserters from the 145th PA Volunteer Infantry.
Find more historical sources and facts about Erie, PA at Old Time Erie.