Although desertion remained a problem throughout the war, putting most of the blame on North Carolina makes them a sort of scapegoat. It was clear to Governor Vance that President Davis did not care for the state as much as the others because of their late entry into the Confederacy (Bardolph, 1989, 68-69). There were many reasons for desertion, and even though there is no justification, an understanding of why these men left their posts gives more knowledge of the war itself, and why it may have ended the way that it did. With all the policies against desertion that were posted by the military and civilian authorities, one would think that if it was a simple case of cowardice the soldiers would not risk their lives to run away.
There were clear motivations behind most of the desertions and evidence to suggest that men returned, and that the final posted numbers are too high (Reid 1981, 240). North Carolina had the reputation as having the most desertions, but this was unjustified. They had no more than any other state, yet even with the use of many different polices and punishments, the problem of desertion was inevitable and remained a problem in North Carolina for the entirety of the war.
The sources that were used in this exhibit state the reasons and responses to desertion. There was no clear cut answer to why men deserted, just as there was no solution for a response (Bardolph 1964, 171). The government and military tried many different strategies and none had the impact that they hoped (Bardolph 1989, 61). Primary sources stated reason behind why they left, whether it is for family or oneself, and also the responses of desertion.
A greater understanding behind what desertion really is paramount when looking at the data, as there were some discrepancies that were found by scholars in the numbers provided (Reid 1981, 239). With this knowledge, one can truly grasp the extent to while desertion affected North Carolina and the Confederacy as a whole.