One expert estimates that as many as 25 percent of the men who enlisted in the cause of American Independence ultimately deserted the ranks. As Joseph Lee Boyle explains in the trenchant Introduction to his two-volume work “He Loves a Good Deal of Rum” a number of factors coalesced to foster this problem. Short-term enlistments were the norm, causing some soldiers to take a casual attitude about remaining in the ranks for their full term. Others fled the service in response to harsh punishments meted out for relatively minor crimes. “Hardships due to poor or non-existent food and clothing, infrequent paydays and those in the face of rampant inflation, fear of combat, homesickness, family problems, crowded unsanitary life in camp, and rampant disease were all contributing factors to soldiers refusing to join or abruptly leaving military life.”
2009, paper, 383 pp.