War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0104 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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clothing, having previously lurked about in that locality during a time when important movements of that army were being made, concealing himself so as to gain information of the said movements with hostile intent.

Plea. - Not guilty.

Finding and Sentence. - After mature deliberation on the testimony adduced the court finds the accused, Private John W. Irwin, Company A, Ninth Virginia Cavalry, as follows:

Of the specification of the charge, Guilty.

Of the charge, Guilty.

And does therefore sentence him, Private John W. Irwin, Company A, Ninth Virginia Cavalry, to be hung by the neck until he be dead; two- thirds of the members of the court concurring in the sentence.

II. The proceedings, finding and sentence of the court are confirmed. The commanding general on reviewing the evidence finds abundant grounds for the finding and sentence of the court, but having since its adjournment received from General R. E. Lee, commanding the so- called Army of Northern Virginia, a communication representing that the accused had obtained a furlough to visit his home and procure a fresh horse- a permission commonly given in the said army in similar cases- and that at the time it was not k own that the place to which Private Irwin wished to proceed was within our lines, he has and does remit the sentence.

Private John W. Irwin will be treated as a simply prisoner of war, to be paroled and returned in ordinary and usual course.

By command of Major-General Burnside:


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Springfield, December 21, 1862.

Major General S. R. CURTIS,

Commanding Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis.

GENERAL: The military commission that has been in session in this district since June has sentenced a number of guerrillas to be shot. The evidence was clear and fully sustains the charges of violating of the laws of war. The proceedings were in form and properly referred to department headquarters. Months have elapsed without their being again heard from, and in the meantime our Union citizens and soldiers are being murdered by the companions of the condemned men. It is true that numbers of the guerrillas have been killed, but the moral effect of the execution in a formal manner after a full, fair trial of one guerrilla would far exceed that of shooting them in open warfare or from the brush. I respectfully urge that the quiet of this country demands a sterner measure of justice upon the part of the Government than has heretofore been practiced. Mercy to these outlaws is cruelty and death to the Union men of the southwest.

I am, very truly, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

[First indorsement.]


Saint Louis, December 26, 1862.

Respectfully returned for General Brown to please state when the proceedings therein referred to were forwarded. no record of them whatever can be found here.

By order of Major-General Curtis:


Assistant Adjutant-General.