Desertion during the American Civil War was not uncommon. Many who deserted went back home for one reason or another without being immediately punished for the act. The reasons for desertion varied and for many the desertion did not present any future problems.
Until they applied for a pension.
That’s what I’m suspecting happened in the case of George A. Trautvetter who was in company H of the 14th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. The reason for his appeal is not stated, but it would be reasonable to conclude that he was paving the way for an eventual pension application. We’ve partially written about Trautvetter’s appeal before:
Trautvetter was one of several men who deserted his unit at the same time and returned to western Illinois. None of the men received a pension. Trautvetter was the only one who appealed the desertion mark on his record as evidenced by the compiled military service records of those who are indicated as deserting at the same time he did. Trautvetter’s appeal is fairly short and he is the only one who provided any evidence. He admitted to the desertion in his appeal and his justification apparently did not rise to the level requiring additional investigation.
Trautvetter’s compiled military service record at the National Archives indicated that he had appealed the desertion charge.
Trautvetter’s appeal provided some details about his parents during the Civil War era. In Trautvetter’s case that information was not really anything new, but it is always possible that a desertion appeal could provide clues the researcher is not already aware of.