3 Replies Latest reply on Dec 21, 2016 10:53 AM by Luci J Baker Johnson

    Coast Artillery 'deserter' records (1914)


      I have a man, I'm researching, who enlisted in the 27th Co. Coast Artillery Corps: December 3, 1910 (in California) and then deserted March 18, 1911 in Presido of San Francisco.  I've got a copy of the WANTED poster that was circulated in March 1911 (see below).  He was arrested for horse thievery (U.S. Army horse) in Oregon state in the fall of 1911-- but under a different name. Because it was federal property that he stole, his case was tried before the Ninth Circuit Court. He was convicted and sent to McNeil Island Penitentiary on September 7, 1911; and ultimately transferred to Leavenworth Penitentiary in September 1912. He was discharged on December 13, 1913. When he left the prison was met by U.S. Army authorities and delivered to the 'Guard House' at Fort Leavenworth, KS. I have a letter, written by him (September 18, 1914), to the warden at the Penitentiary seeking a letter of recommendation for his court marshal hearing.


      My question is this. Where would I look for records concerning him: enlistment records as well as court marshal records?  The hearing would have taken place sometime in early 1914. By June of 1917 he appears in Pennsylvania working for the railroad according to his WWI draft registration card. My current task is to learn as mush as I can about this dealings with the military.


      Any suggestions?


      Luci Baker Johnson

      George Clark.jpg

        • Re: Coast Artillery 'deserter' records (1914)
          Rachael Salyer Pioneer

          Hi, Luci,


          I had a few quick thoughts about your inquiry:


          1. I noticed that the "Wanted" poster you included (great image, by the way!) lists the Adjutant General of the Army as the point of contact for anyone with information about George Clark. You might consider searching in RG 94, the National Archives' Records of the Adjutant General's Office (AGO), 1780s-1917 Records of the AGO, 1780s-1917 | National Archives, and in RG 407, the National Archives' Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917- Records of the Adjutant General's office, 1917- [AGO] | National Archives for further information.


          2. For information about the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, you might consider searching Record Group 129, the National Archives' Records of the Bureau of Prisons, 1870-1981 Records of the Bureau of Prisons | National Archives. A quick catalog search turned up the series "Inmate Case Files, 7/3/1895 - 11/5/1957" https://catalog.archives.gov/id/571125. I would recommend contacting the reference staff at the National Archives at Kansas City (RM-KC) for information about and assistance with these records. Their contact information is:

          400 West Pershing Road

          Kansas City, MO 64108

          Phone: 816-268-8000

          Fax: 816-268-8038

          Email: kansascity.archives@nara.gov


          3. Regarding Fort Leavenworth and the military prison there, Record Group 393 Records of United States Army Continental Commands, 1821-1920 Records of United States Army Continental Commands, 1821-1920 | National Archives  may contain some helpful information. Here's the catalog link with related series and contact information: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/691


          Best of luck with your search!

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            • Re: Coast Artillery 'deserter' records (1914)

              Thanks Rachel for replying.


              The image actually came from his prison file at Leavenworth Penitentiary, from the National Archives at Kansas City.

              (Referencing your item #2) I've had several conversations with Gregory M. Schmidt, the Archives Technician at Kansas City.  I've already looked through these records and in fact paid a 'hefty sum' to get his prisoner file, which consisted of 38 pages. (In addition to several other prisoner case files).


              Good suggestions and links to the AGO as well as the Record Group 393 Records of United States Army Continental Commands. I will follow both of those threads to see if I can uncover more details.


              I'm wondering if there might be 'court martial' records -- within some Record Group??  I can only imagine that there is a way to identify the paper trail (i.e. case # or something similar) on individual cases, much like the circuit court records that I've spent a great deal of time with over the last several months.


              What's kind of interesting is the 'trail' that I uncovered concerning how it was discovered that he enlisted under a fake name. Plus, in the letter that he sent to the Warden at Leavenworth Penitentiary he signs the letter with his 'fake name' and not his real name.


              All of this research is being done for an article I'm writing for Prologue. It's a piece about a prisoner transfer that occurred in September of 1912, via train, from McNeil Island in Washington to Leavenworth in Kansas. This man is just one of the fourteen prisoners I've been researching.



            • Re: Coast Artillery 'deserter' records (1914)
              Rebecca Collier Ranger

              Luci-- Army General Court Martial Case Files (1894-1917) [NAID 5916762] are in the custody of the Textual Reference Archives I Branch. Please contact them via email at archives1reference@nara.gov for access to these records. Becky

              1 person found this helpful