There is an enlistment record for a George HEWITT enlisted Sept. 24, 1864 born Sidney, Australia age 19 occupation - looks like it says cigar maker hazel eyes, red hair, fair complexion height5'-3" signed up for 3 years
another record shows same info plus it says he was dischargedOct. 7, 1864 - disability it then says he deserted Oct. 11, 1864 - deserted before receiving discharge papers another says the same info and adds - see Columbus rolls so it may be he deserted from Columbus ? or that may be the last time he was on the rolls??
So this does sound like your fellow and it seems that he did desert - I wonder why he didn't just wait for those discharge papers
one problem with those enlistment records - they do not show what state he enlisted in which is odd
I am also wondering about the desertion as they say he was discharged due to disability My g-grandfather was also charged with desertion but they realized he was in the hospital in TN at the time so did not desert and was reinstated with good standing in the Army
so it may be a similar case for George/ You could send for his Civil War papers and see what they have on him. I sent for my g-grandfathers and they had a lot of family info such as wife's name and children etc.
Its odd that I cannot find any more on him past the enlistment records. I cannot find a death for him but then I have no idea what state to look in.
You asked for his birth, family etc. but to be looking for him I can only assume you know a bit of his life - parents, siblings ??Do you have any idea of when he may have gone to US from Australia - I do not find him in 1860 census in US - at least not with a birthplace of Australia
Where did you find the desertion date and place as Fort Snelling 1861?
I will try a bit more to see if I can find anything more for you but may need more info.