assault upon an old lady.
protested his innocence of the terrible crime, but acknowledged that he was drunk and had left his post.
The woman swore against him, and the sentence of the court-martial was that he be hanged.
The officers and men of the 19th did all in their power to save him; we signed a petition to President Lincoln
asking for his reprieve, and sent it by a Catholic chaplain, Dawson
being a Catholic.
The President would have been pleased to grant our prayer, but he said the complaint from army officers was that he was destroying the discipline of the army by so often setting aside the findings and sentences of courts-martial, and he dare not do it.
April 14 was the day assigned for the execution.
The 2d division of the 2d corps was formed in a hollow square, ranks opened, facing inward.
was placed in an open wagon, seated on his coffin.
With him rode the provost marshal
and his spiritual advisor.
The band was in advance, playing the dead march.
Files of soldiers, with arms reversed, marched on each flank, and in front and rear.
As they passed our lines Dawson
smiled and bowed to those he recognized.
When he arrived at the scaffold, which had been erected in the centre of the square, he ran up the steps, and before the black cap was pulled down said, “Good-by, comrades, officers and men of the 19th.
I thank you for what you have done for me. May you live long and die a happy death; I die an innocent man.”
The cap was then drawn down, the drop cut, and poor Dawson
was launched into eternity, but not so soon as was intended; the rope was new and stretched so much that his feet touched the ground, and the provost marshal
was obliged to take a turn in the rope.
It was a horrible sight, and set me forever against