The Fate of Deserters
Digital History ID 399
Christian M. Epperly
Military desertions were treated harshly. A Confederate soldier describes the fate of men who tried to leave their companies and were recaptured.
I haven't any news to write to you at this time, only the sad and awful Execution which taken place in our Brigade yesterday which was too cruel for mortal man to behold. There was 14 North Carolinians shot to Death yesterday with musketry. 10 belonging to the 58 North Carolina and 4 to the 60 Regt. Their cries and groans, how sad they did sound. They were tied to stakes by their Captains and then cruelly murdered by the order of a few wicked men and had done nothing...but left the army and went home to see their Families and Friends. [If they had] done anything else I never heard say thing about it.... I have often times seen wicked things done, but this was the cruelest thing ever.... God forbid that I Should witness another such deed committed by men.
Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute
Additional information: Christian M. Epperly to his wife Mary Epperly
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