Featured Character – Divided Allegiances
Marcus Johnson enlisted in Plymouth on July 17, 1862, joining Company C, 1st North Carolina Infantry (Union). According to local tradition, 31-year-old Johnson was plowing a field when soldiers, recruiting for the Confederate armed forces, approached him. Johnson immediately asked what he would be paid and how. They replied 12 dollars a month in Confederate scrip. Johnson then found a Union recruiter and asked the same questions. When they replied with 13 dollars a month in gold, he took a boat to Plymouth and enlisted in the Union Army. He eventually came home from the war with $500 in gold and bought his own plot of land where he raised a family. According to official records, Johnson did enlist in Company C, 1st North Carolina Infantry on that date, but only after he had joined the Confederate Army and deserted in a matter of weeks. He again deserted from the Union Army in Plymouth in 1863. After hiding for 18 months, on July 14, 1864, Johnson was found and sentenced to six months hard labor for desertion, but was released early. After the war, he applied for disability numerous times, claiming another ailment each time, such as unrecovered pneumonia, yellow fever, lung disease, and senility. He also applied for pension increases due to being partially disabled. After his death on January 26, 1916, his wife, Roxana collected a pension until her death.