Thanks Elliot. For various reasons, I don't think these are my guy but appreciate your input!
Could you please link the military records you've already found for him, so we won't duplicate what you already have in our responses?
Dear Mr. Van Brunt,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798 - 1914 in Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1762-1917 (Record Group 94), which indicates that he deserted on April 14, 1844. These are the same records that you already located on Ancestry as the data collection U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914.
The notation “2 Inf A” on the enlistment register indicates that he enlisted in Company A, 2nd Infantry Regiment. According to The Army of the US Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-in-Chief: Second Regiment of Infantry by Lieutenant W. M. Wright, Adjutant 2nd U. S. Infantry, published in 1896, Company A was assigned to Fort Niagara from 1842 until the outbreak of the Mexican American War in 1846.
We located the Descriptive Books, 1831 - 1860 for Company A, 2nd Infantry Regiment in the Records of U.S. Regular Army Mobile Units (Record Group 391). Descriptive books typically provide basic information about the soldier, including a physical description (age, height, eye color, complexion), date and location of enlistment, recruiting officer, and miscellaneous remarks that might also note if someone deserted. The information is similar to that in the Register of Enlistments. To request copies of these records, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) via email at Archives1reference@nara.gov.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
Please note that the Army during this time period did not keep detailed records about efforts to track down deserters. Unless he was caught, there will only be notations in the above mentioned records saying he deserted on a specific date. If the deserter was not apprehended, there would be no additional information. If he was apprehended, he would have been court martialed. Therefore, we searched the Court Martial Case Files, 12/1800 - 10/1894 in the Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army) (Record Group 153) but were unable to locate a case file for him.
In regards to death records, the U.S. federal government does not ordinarily create or maintain birth, death (unless they died while in the military), marriage or divorce records. Such records are made and kept by State and local governments rather than the National Archives. See the National Center for Health Statistics’s page on Where to Write for Vital Records. In some states, older vital records are transferred to that state’s archives. Please note that the practice of keeping a government record of deaths did not begin in many jurisdictions until the late 19th or early 20th centuries. You may need to search for alternate records such as obituaries and cemetery records. Please see United States Death Records on the FamilySearch Wiki for additional guidance.
For information about Canadian death records, please see Library and Archives Canada’s web page on Vital Statistics: Births, Marriages and Deaths.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!
I can't thank you enough for this very useful information and the time you spent researching and providing it to me. I'll also be following up on the additional leads you provided.
Thanks again and take care.