One of my great-great grandfather's fellow sergeants in the 13th Tennessee Cavalry, USA, was a man by the name of Charles Bowman.
Only Charles Bowman was not his real name.
His real name was Giles W. Davis, and when he enlisted in the 13th Tennessee Cavalry on August 24, 1863, he had deserted from the 4th US Infantry a mere eight days before.
Why desert only to re-enlist under an assumed name? I do not know, although he is not the only soldier I have run across who did this, merely the only one who did so in such short order. Perhaps he had a falling out with a commanding officer, or 'irreconcilable differences' with a fellow soldier, but still wanted to do his duty.
According to his pension record, Giles W. Davis also served with the 18th Ohio Infantry, Company A - and sure enough, there was a Giles W. Davis in that regiment and company. This Davis enlisted on May 20, 1864 and died of wounds in January, 1865. How could this be? Charles Bowman survived the war and was never AWOL on his military record. How could he be in two places at once, and live to receive a pension?
Checking the 'miscellaneous' military records gives us the answer - he was on detached duty 'recruiting' until January 1865 - the same time that Giles W. Davis was 'killed'.
Unfortunately, at this time I do not have access to his full military records, but I am sure there is more to this tale. It's one of those times when I wished I lived near Washington, DC and could run to the National Archives at the drop of a hat.
In the meantime, this tale will stay on my back burner until I have more information available to me.