Cold Mountain - A DESERTER

A DESERTER (Illustration) American History Civil Wars Famous Historical Events Film Geography Social Studies Nineteenth Century Life Fiction

The “William Inman” of Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain was a real soldier who fought for the Confederacy during America’s Civil War. The U.S. National Archives (NARA) still has some of his records. Inman actually deserted twice. NARA describes this document: “This card in Inman's service record shows that he deserted from the hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1864. This was the second time Inman deserted from the Confederate army.” (War Department Collection of Confederate Records, RG 109, at the National Archives and Records Administration.) Click on the image for a better view.


In Charles Frazier's award-winning book, Cold Mountain, Inman is a grievously wounded Confederate soldier who has had enough of war. After nearly losing his life, he walks south - convinced he will never turn back.

At the beginning of the story (on page 9 of the paperback edition), Inman thinks about the awful battles he has experienced as a Confederate soldier:

Where to begin? . . . Malvern Hill. Sharpsburg. Petersburg. Any would do admirably as example of unwelcome visions. But Fredericksburg was a day particularly lodged in his mind.

Later, Inman ponders Petersburg, the battle scene of his near-fatal injury. What was the battle of Petersburg really like? Could it have so traumatized a Confederate soldier - like Inman - that he would leave his post without permission?

Thanks to America's National Archives, we can examine primary sources of the battle. Some of the photographs, including those of a subsequent siege - the longest in U.S. history - are gruesome.

The experience must have been forever seared in the memory of those who survived.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: Oct 31, 2018

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"A DESERTER" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 01, 2003. Jan 21, 2020.
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