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Shooting Bounty Jumpers

Shooting Bounty Jumpers image
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"Did yon ever see a man shot for deeertion?" "Yes, several of them. The first one was a man of onr brigade. He deserted while we were near Fredericksburg and joined the Contederate army. A few weeks before we started for Gettystrarg a Confedérate deserter reached the linea of auother brigade and was placed onder guard. A soldier of onr brigade passing tbat way saw the Confedérate and was surprised to find that he was the man who had deserted from his company a few weeks before. Fonnd guilty, he was sentenced to be shot. The day upon which he was to die we were on the way to Pennsylvania to help fighfc the great deciding battle. The deserter was placed in an ambulance, by his coffin, that morning. At noon, after hardtack, pork aud coffee, the brigade formed three lines of a square, when the deserter was marched from right to left of the line and seated upon the coffin. Twelve men were marched two or three rods from him. The offlcer gave the command, 'Ready, aim, fire!' The criminal feil back on his coffin, pierced by flve or six bullets. The burial followed immediately, without service, aud the brigade pulled out, the band playing a quickstep. "After the battle of Gettysbnrg, and when the Fifth corps was camped near the Rappahannock river, in September, the whole command was formed on three sides of a square, the cnstomary formation, and witnessed the shooting of five deserters. All of them were of the class known as bounty jumpers. They had deserted several times, one of them five times. They were New Yorkere. A desperate effort had been made to save their lives. Several committees from the great city had waited upon President Lincoln and pleaded for them. The wives and cbildren of two of them visited the president, but Mr. Lincoln could not be moved. He had overlooked the offense in hundreds of instances, but the time had come when the discipline of the army demauded the severest punishment of soldiers found eniltv nf that nrimfi. "Secretary Stanton, for a year before Mr. Lincoln had refused to so punish deserters, had pleaded with him to let the law have its way. Mr. Stanton had told the president many a time that his soft heart was spoiling the ariuy and endangering the life of the nation, trat Mr. Lincoln paid little heed nntil 1863. "In sorne portions of the army it was the custom to hang deserters, trat in most instdnces tl were shot, and in the presence of tneir respective commands, as described. The effect was tnagical. Desertions were little heard


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