Upon the receipt of this, General Garfield sent an order to Colonel Baird to take the confessions of the two men in writing and then to hang them forthwith.
The confession of the men having placed their guilt beyond doubt, this delay appears to have somewhat fretted General Rosecrans, who appears, from the date of his next despatch, to be losing sleep over the matter. General Garfield having also retired, the next despatch is signed by Major Bond, the senior Aid-de-Camp of General Rosecrans, a most discreet and careful gentleman. The despatch is as follows, and is an important one in the official history of this most important case. Does it not sound like the style of one Israel Putnam? It is certainly positive enough, even for Colonel Baird, who had no disposition to do the hanging:
Upon being informed that they were to be hung, the two men protested against it, asserting that they were not spies in the ordinary sense of the term. This was in despite of the fact that they were found in our lines, in our uniform, and bearing forged papers, purporting to be signed by Assistant Adjutant-General E. D. Townsend and Major-General Rosecrans. They did not explain upon what grounds they made the plea of not being spies under these circumstances. It is to be regretted that they did not, as it might have explained their reasons for coming into our lines. No such unimportant matter as a proposed attack on Franklin could have induced two officers of their rank and character to undertake so hazardous an enterprise. Upon finding themselves about to be executed, Williams or Auton made the. following request, which was transmitted by telegraph to General Rosecrans: