Independent regiment historian Jess N. McLean found a letter concerning the desertion of a private in the Winston Guards.
It was written on May 29, 1864, by the Rhode Island Military Commandant in Washington City to Colonel A.D. Prather, commander of the Point Lookout POW prison in Maryland.
“I have the honor to request information of James Gerrard, Musician, 13th Mississippi Regiment. He is a prisoner, captured in one of the recent fights. He is a native of Rhode Island, has a father living there and has two brothers in the Union Army.
“Gerrad was conscripted, is anxious to take the oath of allegiance and return north. I have examined all prisons in the city and cannot find any trace of him here.”
McLean found that Gerrard “had already joined the U.S. service, in March, 1864, some two months previous.”