This field-printed general order refers to the period after the battle of Fredericksburg (December 11-15, 1862) and prior to the “Mud March” Campaign (January 20-24, 1863) when the army is encamped in Stafford County.
Somewhere around 25,000-35,000 desertions/absences without leave were recorded during this period. This reflects army commander Major General Ambrose Burnside’s effort to restore order and manpower. Unfortunately it did not work, especially after the failed “Mud March” when there were over 200 desertions a day.
(Click on order to enlarge)