and rode to the gallows in an ambulance attended by a chaplain.
The ambulance was well guarded in front, in rear, and on the flanks.
The gallows also was strongly guarded.
If I recollect aright, the troops were not ordered out to witness the spectacle.
Nevertheless, thousands of them from adjoining camps lined the route, and, standing around the gallows, saw the prisoners meet their fate.
No loyal heart gave them any sympathy.
In April, 1864, I saw a man hanged for a different offence, on the plains of Stevensburg
He belonged to the second division of my own corps.
Most of the corps, which was then twenty-seven thousand strong, must have witnessed the scene, from near or afar.
In hanging the culprit the provost-marshal made a dreadful botch of the job, for the rope was too long, and when the drop fell the man's feet touched the ground.
This obliged the provost-marshal
to seize the rope, and by main strength to hold him clear of the ground till death ensued.
It is quite probable that strangulation instead of a broken neck ended his life.
His body was so light and emaciated that it is doubtful if, even under more favorable circumstances, his fall could have broken his neck.
The report of the Adjutant-General
, made in 1870, shows that there were one hundred and twenty-one men executed during the war — a very insignificant fraction of those who, by military law, were liable to the death penalty.