Why Make New Weapons When You Can Buy Them Off Deserters?
City Point Mch 19
1030 am 19th for Secy of War – Will you please
direct the Ord Dept to send money
here at once to pay for arms
brought in by deserters. a great
many are coming in now bringing their
arms with them (sig) US Grant (ahr) 12 M
With the end of the war drawing ever closer, the flow of deserters from the Confederate Army turned into a flood. Grant saw their arrival as an opportunity to bolster Union chances while providing deserters with a reason to be grateful to the U.S. government – cash. Parts of the Confederate Army were underfed and underpaid, so the chance for some fast cash may have seemed welcome.
For more information about this 19th century guns-for-cash program, see this interesting post from the Civil War Daily Gazette.