Reminder

Just a note to remind those of you in the Fredericksburg area that I will be speaking tonight at the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Roundtable.  [Click here for details.]The topic will be Confederate military executions.  From Confederate Veteran (June 1899) by Mercer Otey:

“It was in this movement, and shortly after I had enrolled in the battery as a private, that I witnessed a sight that clung to me for many a long year.  Five Confederate deserters who had been recaptured in the mountains of West Virginia had been tried by court-martial, convicted, and sentenced to be shot.  It was their second offense, and no palliating circumstances could be offered.  The old Stonewall Brigade, to which they belonged, was drawn up in a three-sided square, the five men blindfolded, knelt at the head of five pits; the firing squad, half of whose guns contained blank and the remainder ball cartridges, stood at twenty paces distant; a solemn silence pervaded the scene, while the August sun blazed down on that band of veterans of many a bloody battle.  They had braved death on half a score of fields, and cared little for cannon’s roar or musketry rattle, but now it was different; their nerves were not strung to that tension that is caused by the excitement of battle, and which generally superinduces indifference.  This looked so cold, so deliberate, almost murder; but the discipline of the army must be maintained”  After marching next to the bodies, “My knees grew weak and the tears came gushing to my eyes as I remembered that far away in their mountain homes perchance some loved others and babes would watch in vain the return of these men who had sacrificed honor and life for their sakes”

3 comments add yours

  1. Do you have any knowledge of Union executions? I have found some by Googling, but you probably know of more?

  2. Hi Jim, — There is a book published by White Mane (title escapes me) that catalogs Union executions and there is also Tom Lowry’s _Don’t Shoot That Boy_ which also covers the topic. I am in possession of a manuscript on Union executions that is authored by historian Steven Ramold. The draft is a few years old and I am unaware as to whether it has been published.

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