The intersection between military justice and equal rights: mutinies, courts-martial, and black Civil War soldiers.
Baker's commanders knew why trouble simmered within the unit. The men refused to accept the pay offered them because it was lower than that paid to whites and now, letters from home reached the troops. The fact that "parents, wives, children and sisters" suffered while "we, their natural protectors, are fighting the battles of the nation" weighed heavily on many black soldiers' minds. Recounting the tears one comrade shed upon reading a letter from his sick wife, a member of the 55th vowed that "patience has an end," though he also declared that black soldiers could not accept anything except equal pay from the federal government if they were to stand as American citizens and assured that "we have been tried in the fire both of affliction and of the rebels, and nothing remains but pure metal." Alternating between impatience, anger, defiance, and pride, this soldier ran the gamut of emotions connected with his unit's act of resistance, a microcosm of the experience of black troops during the war. (2)
The pay disparity undermined army discipline but also energized black soldiers' demands for equal treatment. In February 1864, Col. Alfred Hartwell received an anonymous letter declaring that his 55th Massachusetts would stack arms if they did not soon receive pay. Less than two weeks before Baker's incident, a mutiny erupted as Sampson Goliah defied white officers, while other soldiers revolted. A week after Baker's mutiny, Hartwell and another officer testified at Goliah's court-martial and cited the pay issue as the salient cause of tension within the regiment. In a successful plea to spare the defendant from execution, the prosecutor did the same. As other white officers came to realize, black soldiers mutinied not out of nervous energy generated by camp malaise or the privations of combat service but as political action undertaken by men who felt newly entitled by their wearing of the uniform. (3)
A court-martial comprised mostly of the same officers who tried Goliah convened to try Baker for mutiny; the same man who prosecuted and successfully argued against punishing Goliah with death served as judge advocate. Influenced by its perception of an increasingly rebellious spirit in the regiment, however, the court went beyond simple imprisonment in Baker's case. Instead, as did many other courts-martial that dealt with black mutineers, the panel that tried Baker attempted to balance between the legitimacy of the men's frustration while also maintaining the rule of law and military discipline and it sentenced Baker to death. (4)
Nonetheless, Baker, a black soldier accused of committing grave crimes, received due process, an opportunity for defense counsel, and questioned both a white officer and fellow African Americans--a level of procedural fairness surprisingly typical of general courts-martial of black soldiers. Ellsworth testified first and, having declined counsel, Baker directly questioned him with assistance from Judge Advocate James M. Walton, a twenty-five-year-old Philadelphia lawyer. Although ineffective as a defense, the moment proved significant in that a black soldier cross-examined his white lieutenant in judicial proceedings. Similarly dramatic was Pvt. Henry Way's testimony, not so much for his corroboration of Ellsworth's testimony but because he, as a black witness for the prosecution, played an integral role in the judicial proceedings. Baker then questioned several black defense witnesses, who admitted that they considered Baker "awkward" and "foolish," with a "strange" way of addressing people and a tendency to reply to officers as if they were ordinary men. (5)
Baker offered no final statement and the court found him guilty and condemned him to death, a sentence well within its purview regardless of any mitigating factors about Baker's mental sophistication. However, both George Stephens, a black soldier of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, and Charles Fox, lieutenant colonel of the 55th Massachusetts Infantry, squarely blamed Baker's insubordination in the first place on the unjust treatment and racism endured by black soldiers. Meanwhile, Baker's execution in June did little to quell dissidence within the regiment: in July, seventy-four of its soldiers wrote President Lincoln and ominously warned that if their grievances went unresolved, "we will Resort to more stringent mesures." (6)
Traditional generalizations assume that racism pervaded the treatment of black Civil War soldiers even in the official military justice system. Historians examining this particular issue, however, have differed on whether general courts-martial provided black defendants with procedural fairness and treatment equal to that afforded white soldiers. Ira Berlin noted that army regulations applied to both whites and blacks and provided both with safeguards. He additionally noted that general courts-martial accordingly afforded blacks substantially more rights than slaves ever claimed. Joseph T. Glatthaar saw the general courts-martial of black soldiers as less consistent in procedure and sentencing than Berlin and maintained that race represented a critical factor in executions, but he also admitted that a review of capital-level courts-martial proceedings revealed a "surprising degree of fairness." (7)
Steven J. Ramold more critically appraises the army's administration of justice, contrasting "intense racism and stereotyping" in the Union army with the navy's "highly credible record of race relations during the Civil War" based on integrated crews, equal pay, benefits, and health care. Ramold overstates his position, however, by contending that the army "frequently" failed to follow proper procedures. While finding that the navy went to "great lengths to preserve individual rights," and possibly granted black sailors preferential treatment in courts-martial, Ramold cites the same safeguards that army general courts-martial provided defendants. (8)
While endemic racism in the Union army tainted the disciplinary process on other levels, the records reveal that officers on general court-martial panels wrestled with providing fair judicial process to black defendants while maintaining discipline so that African American soldiers received equal treatment and justice in cases involving capital-level crimes. While most mutineers' protests were well grounded in legitimate grievances (and for that reason some may argue with merit that they were unfairly punished at all), that did not change the gravity of their crime in the eyes of military law. Nonetheless, in many cases, authorities consciously tried to avoid imposition of the death penalty even where the Articles of War called for it.
Moreover, the records allow insight into the lives and voice of black soldiers on both a public and personal level as well as reveal how courts-martial became an important intersection and forum for debate at a moment when blacks and whites struggled with the fluid contours and definitions of African Americans' changing status. Thus, Brig. Gen. James S. Brisbin, a Pennsylvania abolitionist, newspaper editor, and attorney, who obtained a commission in the regular army early in the war, argued during his representation of a soldier accused of murder that the country's collective treatment of blacks transferred blame for their crimes to whites. Brisbin conceded proof of the crime but argued that the country held responsibility for it "because we have permitted this man to be made a beast of burden and an ignorant savage hesitating between right and wrong, vacilating [sic] between bad and good." The court should not sentence the defendant to death, Brisbin asserted, because its members had been party to the "barbarism of the age," which led to his degraded status. "We made him what he is," Brisbin continued, "We blinded him and that made him the ignorant wretch he is." The judge advocate, also a self-described "radical abolitionist," replied by offering that freeing and arming the slaves gave them individual responsibility and placed them on the path from subjugation to equality. The judge advocate effectively contended, 'I am not responsible when a negro commits murder. You are not responsible," and claimed it an error that "our object has been to free the slaves ... simply to allow them to run wild and kill people and then say, that they have been slaves and are irresponsible." "Our object has been to raise up the negro," reminded Lt. Col. William H. Coyl of the 9th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, "put a gun in his hand, and make him useful to free him; to make him a man, as responsible as we are, for every act." Because they now stood "on the broad platform of 'rights to all,' and say that the negro is able to take care of himself," Coyl found Brisbin's plea "miserable" and misplaced. These words clinched the defendant's death sentence and on June 13, 1865, a black Union soldier and a white civilian guerrilla were hanged together at Louisville, Kentucky. (9)
Both in the act of revolting as well as in defending against subsequent charges, black soldiers loudly entered this debate regarding their status, refuting their past as slaves now to claim rights as freedmen, soldiers, and citizens. African Americans thus turned the court into an important junction on the road to freedom and citizenship even where it punished those who violated military law. Some cases show the extent to which blacks protested perceived inequities committed by the government, particularly unequal pay or arbitrary treatment by superior officers. These cases reflect black anger at white discrimination, but they also demonstrate how the empowerment some African Americans felt upon donning the Union uniform led them to rebel against further injustice. These black soldiers demanded, sometimes at the cost of their lives, equal treatment and rights and, in so doing, made an argument that blacks had an equal place in the polity and in the army that protected it. In this way, African American mutineers embraced an alternative legal order, seeking to change laws distinguishing between whites and blacks and to bring official law and practices into conformity with their vision. These soldiers situated themselves as United States citizens by opposing discrimination, defying legal precedents that failed to acknowledge their equality, and actively supporting their interpretation of legal meanings and practices. (10)
Along with congressional legislation, the Articles of War defined the means by which the army administered justice during the Civil War. A regiment's or garrison's commander could appoint courts-martial consisting of three officers to try soldiers charged with noncapital crimes. Regimental or garrison courts-martial could order corporal punishment but could neither try a commissioned officer nor inflict a fine exceeding one month's pay, nor sentence to imprisonment or hard labor for a term longer than a month. A single officer in a regiment could be detailed to form a field officer court, created by Congress during the Civil War to allow for summary disposition of minor cases while a unit served on active field service. (The field officer court technically replaced regimental and garrison courts-martial, but regimental courts remained in use well after promulgation of the relevant legislation.) With identical jurisdiction as a regimental court-martial, the field officer court was to forward more serious cases to a general court-martial. General courts-martial also had jurisdiction over capital-level cases and those involving officers and could be appointed only by the commander of an army, military division, or department, or by the president. A general court-martial was to have thirteen members, though a lesser number could be detailed so long as the panel consisted of at least five members (and while members could be temporarily relieved for good cause, a panel could not conduct proceedings once its number fell below five sitting members). No death sentence could be imposed unless two-thirds of the members concurred, though other available punishments included confinement, hard labor, the wearing of a ball and chain, pay forfeiture, discharge, and reduction to the ranks for noncommissioned officers. Finally, military commissions could be convened with a minimum of three officers on the panel. These smaller bodies usually dealt with civilians in places where civil courts had ceased to function and had jurisdiction over soldiers during time of war or rebellion in cases of spying, murder, manslaughter, mayhem, robbery, arson, burglary, rape, and other serious crimes not of a purely military nature as defined in the Articles of War. Military commissions could impose capital punishment. (11)
While not provided for in the regulations, higher authorities occasionally ordered drumhead courts-martial, despite regulations that no soldier should suffer death except by concurrence of two-thirds of the members of a general court-martial. Although the availability of records and extent to which executions were reported makes certainty difficult, it seems that, contrary to conventional wisdom, few of the proceedings involving execution of black soldiers were drumhead in nature. More common, if just as severe, were instances in which officers lawfully shot men without trial. For example, Lt. Col. Harai Robinson of the First Louisiana Cavalry believed "decisive action" necessary when the Second Rhode Island Cavalry mutinied in late August 1863 to protest orders to consolidate with the Louisianan unit (both were white regiments). Robinson surrounded the camp with his troops, selected two ringleaders, and wrote the order for their execution from his saddle. Both an investigating military commission and the department commander regretted the loss of life but found Robinson's action justifiable, and by August 1864 he found himself serving as provost-marshal of the Department of the Gulf. (12)
While generally applied to situations where soldiers resisted orders or acted violently, some commanders of black troops overstepped their authority and shot soldiers where a lesser punishment, or at least trial by general court-martial, was appropriate. Troubling for its callousness was Col. James Montgomery's enforcement in the early summer of 1863 of an order he issued in trying to combat his men leaving their regiment without authority to visit their nearby families. Montgomery directed the execution of those who did not return voluntarily. After the capture of one such soldier, the colonel asked him if there was any good reason why he should not be shot. When the prisoner replied in the negative, Montgomery simply answered, "Very well; you die at half past nine o'clock this morning." According to Thomas W. Higginson, who deemed Montgomery a "sore disappointment" who did not practice "civilized warfare," Montgomery intended to shoot two more soldiers before a surgeon convinced him not to do so. In other cases, however, even officers generally complimentary of black troops sometimes felt driven to such drastic means, especially in the context of a violent threat. (13)
While general courts-martial gained greater publicity, the discipline administered by single officers or regimental and field officer courts-martial had greater impact on soldiers' everyday lives. Individual officers usually ordered an offender to serve extra duty, though other possible punishments included standing at attention on a barrel head, riding a wooden horse (a rail set several feet above ground), being struck with the flat side of a sword, flogging (despite regulations prohibiting it), tying up by the thumbs so that the soldier's toes barely touched the ground, or bucking and gagging, where an offender sat with arms around his knees and tied at the wrists with a stick in his mouth. Abuse or arbitrariness most frequently occurred on this level in the administration of army discipline, and most commonly generated tension between white officers and black subordinates. Furthermore, as regiments were communities, the greater turnover rate among the United States Colored Troops (USCT) regimental officer corps--individuals often transferred from one unit to another for promotion--affected internal dynamics and discipline. (14)
For African Americans, military discipline proved especially critical in transforming former slaves into soldiers and, all excesses aside, serving as a force for unit cohesiveness. Military regulations also provided blacks with a paradoxical relationship between freedom and equality. Most black soldiers understood the difference between the army's rule of law and the capricious wielding of individual authority under slavery, though a few soldiers resisted white officers as the replacement of one master by another. Meanwhile, USCT officers faced a difficult position. Their perceptions of black troops reinforced the need to maintain strict discipline at the same time many black troops explored their uncharted experience with liberty. African American soldiers gave up some liberties they would have enjoyed as civilians upon emancipation yet they also earned a greater level of equality pursuant to their service. In this tension, blacks probed the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behavior, while many white officers strictly attempted to maintain discipline with legal and extralegal punishments that they learned during their service in white regiments. Some of these admittedly cruel punishments proved inappropriate for African American troops, especially ex-slaves. (15)
Col. Thomas W. Higginson, an abolitionist Unitarian clergyman turned colonel of the 33d United States Colored Infantry (USCI), perceived that close supervision tempered with consideration of his men's past experiences resonated best with black troops. Higginson sought to use military discipline and regulations as a way to "develop self respect" in his men and help their transition from slavery to freedom. Similarly, Lt. Col. Henry Stone reminded the officers of the 100th USCI that "men must be made to feel that it is law and orders that have been violated when an offense is brought to punishment, not merely the directions of the individual officer," while Lt. Col. David Branson prohibited officers in his 62d USCI from ordering corporal punishment, warning that "men will not obey; as promptly, an officer who adopts the customs of the slave driver to maintain authority, as they will him who punishes by a system consistent with the character and enormity of offences and the spirit of the age." Judge Advocate General Holt recognized black sensitivity to insult and urged clemency for several who disobeyed orders because they were "jealous of every act of their white superiors, which might be ... interpreted as a slur upon their race." Some court-martial panels even considered the defendant's familiarity with military regulations, in keeping with initiatives to ensure that black troops understood that army discipline was not based on the rule of individuals but a codified structure of law. Other officers, however, showed little sensitivity to black experiences and prescribed punishments such as gagging or tying for even petty offenses in an effort to inculcate discipline in men they saw as degraded by slavery. While many black soldiers respected officers who were firm but just, they resented those who used punishments that recalled those administered on the plantation. Understanding that their status had changed and that free people experienced procedural rights in lieu of arbitrary punishment, black soldiers balked at penalties that echoed slavery. (16)
Black noncommissioned officers played integral roles in mediating discipline. Their place in the chain of command made them responsible for carrying out officers' orders, and many of them understood the need for discipline to ensure unit cohesion and effectiveness during military service and to lay the foundation for more general black improvement. Sgt. Samuel Green recounted telling potential mutineers about to protest the tying up of comrades:
that all armies had to have regulations and all men were sworn in to obey orders.... I told them that just such men as they were cutting up about started the rebellion in the commencement and I didn[']t see the use of 10 men rebelling against a regiment or a regiment against the United States Army. I told them that it had not been but a few weeks since the Colonel had talked to us about such things and now it was awful to think about let alone to do it. Then some wild fellow said that some men who upheld the officers were no better than they were and that they could destroy them as well as the officers. I replied that I didn[']t tie the man and didn[']t have it done and that I wasn[']t going to have anything to do with them.
The position held by African American noncommissioned officers thus occasionally proved uncomfortable. Black soldiers sometimes resented their enforcement of orders issued by whites while they also faced additional charges, as a result of their rank, where they participated in a mutiny or failed to try to stop one. Furthermore, their mediation did not always succeed. A number of mutinies involved liberating a comrade from punishment. Other times, soldiers resisted when they felt their commanding officer did not respect them as soldiers and men or mistreated others of their race. Additionally, not only did the unequal pay issue foster protest in itself, but it generated skepticism among black soldiers that they would receive justice on other issues. The ensuing level of distrust between black soldiers and white officers devastated morale and made outbreaks more prevalent even once the pay issue was resolved.(17)
Procedurally, a defendant facing a general court-martial during the Civil War had the right to challenge members of the panel and was informed of his right to retain counsel. If a defendant declined counsel, a court-martial could not interfere with his conducting his own defense, no matter how "unskillful [sic] or troublesome," except "to enforce ... decorum and respect for the law." While the judge advocate prosecuted on behalf of the United States, in the absence of defense counsel, the judge advocate also had to consider himself as counsel for the prisoner after the accused made his plea. This did not afford a full defense, but the judge advocate had a duty to object to any leading question to any witness or any question to the accused in which the accused might incriminate himself. Furthermore, the judge advocate was supposed to take care that an unrepresented defendant did not suffer from ignorance of his legal rights and had full opportunity to bring out extenuating circumstances of his case. (18)
Most of the general courts-martial transcripts are marked by the businesslike conduct of officers determined to do their duty as members of the court. Based on his service on one, Thomas W. Higginson deemed general courts-martial "an accurate & admirable, though most tedious, method of sifting the truth," though he also acknowledged that these military courts tried capital cases and considered issues so grave that only the highest courts usually addressed them in civil life. Nonetheless, Higginson found the "rules of Court Martial ... so much more formal & careful than those of civil courts that one may venture among them with less risk of error." (19)
In order to increase the participation of officers thought likely to be less biased against blacks, some courts were composed entirely, or at least in part, by officers assigned to the USCT. While a few procedural irregularities exist in some cases, these deviations likely reflect the fact that soldiers, not attorneys, conducted these trials. Across the board in the extant files, defendants had the opportunity to object to members of the court and, whether they took advantage of it or not, were advised that they had the right to representation. African American defendants who declined counsel still had the right to question white witnesses, while black testimony, even that offered by slaves, frequently played a prominent role in their trials. While judge advocates and defense counsels sometimes placed race in issue, or witnesses used it as an identifying factor, the records do not indicate altered procedure or standards because of the accused's race. Where crimes occurred at night, panels sought to establish if sufficient light existed for witnesses to accurately establish identification. Moreover, in June 1864, the judge advocate's office affirmed that blacks could testify before military courts regardless of any disqualifying laws in the state in which the court sat. Black soldiers enjoyed rights and opportunities previously denied them in civilian life because as soldiers they were entitled to uniform application of the Articles of War and other statutes concerning military discipline and trial. Rather than devise a separate scheme to address military discipline within the USCT, in this regard the federal government treated blacks on par with white soldiers. (20)
Some proceedings relied exclusively on African American testimony, affirming blacks' right to testify and familiarizing these soldier-witnesses with the legal process. At times, the court-martial process also validated an idea that civilian blacks had rights to testify to events, not just those blacks in uniform. For example, no distinction was made concerning Sophia Cummins's testimony in a murder trial in Lexington, Kentucky, in July 1865, even though she was a slave. Astonishingly, both free blacks and emancipated slaves experienced something formerly unavailable to almost all of them: the privilege of testifying against white defendants. Thus, black soldiers and civilians offered testimony against white officers and enlisted men who engaged in improper recruitment practices or committed financial crimes against soldiers. (21)
Frequently, black defendants were found guilty because prosecutions placed cases supported by solid evidence or testimony before the court. In many instances, a feeble defense contributed to conviction, and in others a confession doomed the accused from the start. In other trials, however, valid defenses or mitigating factors proved decisive. Thus, in light of his verifiable alibi that he was under arrest at the time, Pvt. Street Humphrey of the 49th USCI found himself deemed innocent of mutiny charges against him. While the court sentenced two ringleaders of this mutiny to be shot and seventeen others to hard labor for life, the court also sentenced the last defendant, Robert Randall, to hard labor for the remainder of his service. No apparent reason justified this lighter sentence other than that one witness testified that Randall did not go with the others to stack arms because they had left without him while he was looking for his bayonet. Although not reflected on the record, perhaps the panel wondered if he had deliberately stalled and gave the benefit of that doubt. (22)
Similarly, Henry Cox, who participated in a fifteen-person conspiracy that ransacked a house near Vicksburg and murdered a white civilian, had his death sentence remitted, and he was returned to duty based on testimony that he had tried to prevent the death. A court exonerated William Jackson, who shot and intended to kill a slave who had destroyed letters to his wife, told her that Jackson had died, and impregnated her, with the finding that "a man that wantonly violates the domestic relations of a soldier, by seducing his wife, while he is absent in the service of his country deserves the heaviest punishment known to the law; and the aggravation arising from such a damning wrong inflicted on the Accused, in the opinion of the Commission justified the shooting of the perpetrator of the wrong." (23)
Due process afforded Sgt. Samuel Green, who defended himself without counsel, the opportunity to win acquittal based on his cross-examination of a white officer and the testimony he elicited by his questioning of two black defense witnesses. As one of his comrades recollected, Green went into his regiment as a sergeant because he had a "good voice and a better education than most of the soldiers." Green allegedly mutinied aboard a transport ship with the 109th USCI. When some in the regiment grew agitated after several of their comrades were tied up on deck for neglect of duty, Green went to an officer in his unit, Capt. Aaron H. Keene, to ask for the prisoners' release. Keene interpreted Green's warning that if they were not freed, "it will raise the devil," as a threat. A black witness for the prosecution, however, stated that Green had expressly advised the men not to create a disturbance. Two defense witnesses offered that the sergeant not only exerted himself to calm the men but went to the captain to prevent a possible mutiny while a group of soldiers gathered nearby--an example of a noncommissioned officer mediating between military discipline, white officers, and black troops. After Green's statement reflected that he told his gathering comrades that armies had regulations that had to be followed, the court found him not guilty and restored him to duty. Green mustered out as a private and after the war he married twice, worked at a tannery, joined the Grand Army of the Republic, and died in Kentucky in 1892. (24)
Regardless of a defendant's race, court-martial panels could impose justice harshly. Capt. John McMurray recalled his service on a court-martial panel that considered cases involving about thirty soldiers, primarily deserters from the white 2d New Hampshire. After it sentenced two to execution prior to McMurray's joining the proceedings, the court felt that it had provided sufficient deterrence and found only one more individual guilty and sentenced him to several months of hard labor. Two officers on the panel, however, voted guilty nearly every time and wished to inflict death in every opportunity to prescribe a sentence. McMurray recalled decades later, "I shudder when I recall their votes in case after case tried before us." Fortunately for the defendants in these cases, the overzealous officers represented a minority of the court." (25)
Accordingly, regulations required army or department commanders to review proceedings involving capital sentences and these officers sometimes commuted the sentence. George Douglas drew his weapon on two officers aboard a transport steamer near New Orleans on June 19, 1865, placed the point of his bayonet against their chest while telling them to "stand back," and called out that "no white son of a bitch can tie a man up here," while other soldiers released a man under punishment. Douglas received a death sentence, but his department commander mitigated the sentence to ten years of hard labor without further explanation. (26)
Capital sentences involving spying, desertion, mutiny, or murder did not require reexamination by the War Department or the president during time of war or rebellion, though regulations required army or department commanders to forward proceedings that involved a questionable issue, possible defect, or mitigating factor to Washington for review. This action suspended the sentence until the president's "pleasure be made known." Fatally defective proceedings could result in the defendant's release from sentence despite clear evidence of guilt. On May 7, 1865, Privates Lewis Dickinson and John Shaw of the 55th Massachusetts argued while cleaning their guns. Shaw threatened to kill Dickinson, but no one took his threat seriously. After roll call that day, however, Shaw approached Dickinson and struck him on the head with a large branch, fracturing his skull and killing him. A court-martial convicted the teenaged Shaw for murder, but a defect in the proceedings regarding the calling of the court negated his punishment and he returned to duty. (He subsequently faced at least two more courts-martial, one for threatening to kill two members of his company and another for deserting from the guard house in Orangeburg, South Carolina, on July 2, 1865.) (27)
The War Department also showed occasional leniency when it felt mutineers had been provoked by racist officers, even where a mutiny had been violent. Thus, where the judge advocate's office found that members of a black regiment who briefly mutinied were "clearly wholly provoked" by the "cruel, brutal, and inexcusable violence of their officer," it recommended mitigation of a death sentence imposed by court-martial on one of the mutineers and that the officer be court-martialed. The judge advocate's office also advised mitigation of several lengthy prison sentences in which black soldiers had "been provoked into momentary mutinous conduct" after an officer wounded several by firing into them to "suppress certain insubordination which might apparently have been quelled by ordinary methods." (28)
Such favorable conduct persisted after the war. In July 1867, for instance, Judge Advocate General Holt recommended commutation of several death sentences in the mutiny of a black regular army cavalry regiment--one in which white Lt. Seth E. Griffin died at the hands of African American subordinates (a black soldier also died). After contending that he had never considered a "more shocking illustration of the brutal tyranny which an officer has it in his power to exercise," Holt condemned the "savage treatment" exhibited by Lt. Heyl toward his command. Heyl, the court discovered, had tied three subordinates to a tree by the wrists so that their feet were off the ground, struck them several times with the flat of his sword, and stabbed at least one of them three times. While finding it indisputable that the defendants mutinied, Holt found their actions were caused by "great provocation" and "terror." While recommending leniency toward the accused, Holt expressed more concern that the "circumstances of malignant cruelty with which the men were treated" would destroy both military discipline and the esteem in which people held the service and urged that the troubled lieutenant be tried by general court-martial. The defendants returned to duty. (29)
Courts-martial that addressed capital charges had significant impact. They involved not only defendants, witnesses, and the court panels but also the members of the units of these individuals who likely learned about both case and proceeding. Orders promulgating death sentences often required that these take place in front of the condemned's brigade or division, and large numbers of soldiers likely inquired about the background of executions they witnessed. This dissemination of knowledge about court-martial procedure, whether or not involving capital charges, prepared black soldiers to face the rule of law in civilian life. Former soldiers applied their knowledge of the military judicial system to file complaints, pursue opportunities to testify, and appeal judicial holdings when they saw appropriate. (30)
Moreover, mutiny cases earned the open attention of antislavery leaders and prominent politicians, who, like the mutineers, advocated a new legal order. Thus, Massachusetts governor John A. Andrew and Senator Henry Wilson powerfully incorporated William Walker's mutiny and execution into private and public pleas that the nation's laws be changed. While mutineers suffered punishment for their breaches of military discipline, their resistance against the state in support of a vision of black equality did not pass silently or unnoticed by members of either race. Mutiny proceedings became crossroads between military justice and equal rights because the heat of the courtroom and trials in which life literally hung in the balance uncovered the character of race relations in both the Union army and broader society. (31)
Writing during the Civil War, military law commentator Stephen V. Benet defined mutiny as "resistance to lawful military authority," whether "active or passive," encompassing "not only extreme insubordination, as individually resisting by force, or collectively rising against or opposing military authority, but a murmuring or muttering against the exercise of authority, tending to create disquiet and dissatisfaction in the army." The Articles of War did not precisely define mutiny but provided that any officer or soldier could be executed who began, caused, or joined "any mutiny or sedition," was present but did not do his utmost to suppress such uprising, or knew about an impending mutiny and failed to tell his commanding officer. The Articles of War further emphasized that anyone who so much as lifted a weapon or offered violence against an officer while in the execution of his duty could be sentenced to death. (32)
African American soldiers frequently faced mutiny charges because they lashed out against racially based injustices they suffered in the armed services. The most obvious example remains resistance to the government's initial denial to blacks of equal pay, though other grievances earned African American protest as well. Despite the strictures of military discipline, many of these men demanded redress when they felt their terms of enlistment had been violated or they otherwise suffered unacceptable treatment. While Joseph T. Glatthaar accurately observed that many of the mutinies involved "nonviolent protests for legitimate reasons," even more aggressive demonstrations were generally rooted in valid complaints. Both types of demonstrations illuminate the extent of the racism that black soldiers had to face, whether from official policies or inexcusable actions by some of their officers, but it also emphasizes their immediate and impatient demands for equality and unwillingness to suffer breaches of equality. (33)
Unfortunately for black mutineers, their protests occurred well into the war, after any initial impulse for leniency toward violators of military law and tolerance for dissent had disintegrated. Although flawed as a comprehensive record, the List of U.S. Soldiers Executed implies that disciplinary leniency diminished as the war progressed. According to the List, only seven and fourteen federal soldiers were executed in 1861 and 1862, respectively, but these numbers rose dramatically: sixty-seven in 1863, ninety-five in 1864, and seventy-nine in 1865, though only five executions took place in 1866. Fifteen of approximately 253 black mutineers faced execution by general court-martial (as did four white mutineers), while others endured severe sentences. Despite the gravity of their crimes, however, especially because these mutineers expressed political protest and not simply a release of frustration at a soldier's life, court-martial panels tried to confine capital punishment of black subordinates either to ringleaders of mutinies or situations where a mutineer threatened the life of a white officer. In other cases, defendants faced lesser charges even where their conduct comprised mutiny or authorities asserted grounds for ameliorating death sentences. The case of David Washington, a bugler in the 3d USCC who struck an officer, is an example of the imposition of a lesser charge. Washington faced a charge of insubordination for striking a captain and refusing to be tied up as ordered on August 9, 1864, for going into Vicksburg without orders the day before--technically, a mutiny. Washington also left camp later that day after someone released him and earned a charge for desertion. Even after defense witnesses made damaging statements at trial, the court sentenced Washington to a year's hard labor without pay. Furthermore, officers permitted soldiers to refuse pay even though this technically constituted mutiny. Noncommissioned officers organized the unit-wide refusals to take unequal pay, both maintaining group cohesion and loyalty but also trying to prevent degeneration into open mutiny, violent revolt, or other unacceptable behavior that would have earned charges. (34)
Sampson Goliah's case sheds light on black resistance to inequality and hatred of punishments reminiscent of those inflicted on the plantation, as well as the court's location as a meeting point in balancing the rule of law with sympathy for a legitimate grievance. While the 55th Massachusetts Regiment moved from Hilton Head to Folly Island, South Carolina, aboard a steamer on April 19, 1864, the officer of the guard, Lt. Jacob A. Bean, heard loud talking below deck after taps and repeatedly ordered the men to be quiet. Bean ordered Sampson Goliah up on deck after he continued to talk loudly and use profanity. Goliah angrily refused to go "for any damned white officer" and threatened to "smash" Bean if he laid hands on him. Another officer, Capt. William Nutt, heard the conversation from the mess room as well as Goliah's assertive declaration that because "you Massachusetts men have bene [sic] humbugging us long enough," "we are going to do as we please after this." Nutt came to Bean's assistance and handcuffed Goliah when they got the soldier on deck. Regimental commander Col. Alfred S. Hartwell ordered the boat's captain to rope Goliah to the rigging for two hours unless Goliah ended his resistance (neither Hartwell nor Bean knew how to tie a man to ship's rigging). (35)
Ninety minutes later, more than a dozen men gathered on deck and announced that they intended to free Goliah because he "had been tied there long enough," and by a civilian no less. Bean ordered the single available guardsman to fix his bayonet and commanded the men to leave, but they taunted Bean and asked what one man could do when "there are five Companies of us." Goliah freed himself by untying the rope with his teeth, and when Bean drew a pistol, Goliah grabbed it with both hands and cocked it, while some of the crowd seized the officer. In the dark of night, a terrified Bean tussled with Goliah and the others until Goliah escaped below deck. Meanwhile, another soldier later found guilty of mutiny, Nelson Browning, told Hartwell that "other ways [existed] of punishing a man without having him tied up." When a company commander, Capt. William Crane, tried to convince Browning that it served no purpose to participate in the uprising, the aggrieved soldier replied, "I know that, Capt. Crane, but we have had enough of our men killed already"--a reference to Benjamin Hayes, shot at Readville, Massachusetts, for resisting an officer during training, and several others hanged at Jacksonville, Florida, for rape pursuant to the sentences of a military commission. Hartwell ordered three sergeants to retrieve Goliah and he was again handcuffed. (36)
On May 7, 1864--nearly a week after Wallace Baker's mutiny in the 55th Massachusetts--Goliah pleaded not guilty to seven specifications of mutiny. The judge advocate solicited Nutt's testimony that discontent existed in the regiment "because they they [sic] had not been paid according to the terms of their Enlistment." Asked a similar question, Colonel Hartwell reiterated the tension generated "because the Regiment had not been paid at all--nor offered pay according to terms of enlistment," before describing Goliah's outburst as "the first violent or mutinous expression of their feelings" and expressing that he had "reason to think that very few men sympathize with these proceedings." Within days after this testimony, a frustrated Hartwell wrote Massachusetts governor John A. Andrew, "For God's sake, how long is the injustice of the government to be continued toward these men?" asking if the government meant to "goad them into mutiny" only to "quench the mutiny with blood." Although Hartwell later wrote the Secretary of War to ask for the muster out of his 55th Massachusetts, he also tried to prevent further disciplinary outbreaks among his men. Despite the inequities suffered by their troops, the regimental officers determined to maintain the rule of law and proper military regulation as the only method for handling the situation. (37)
Goliah questioned his commanding officer, Hartwell, while several witnesses corroborated that Goliah verbally resisted Bean. Following his duty to bring out exculpatory evidence where it existed, Judge Advocate James M. Walton asked one witness if Goliah seemed willing to go up on deck if unmolested, to which the witness replied that he did. Goliah rested his defense on this point, stating in his final argument that he intended to go but that he would not suffer the indignity of being dragged or pulled. Goliah potentially faced death for his actions, but Walton made a powerful plea for his life. "Your oath to 'well and truly try and determine the matter now before you' calls upon you to declare whether the acts of the prisoner are of that aggravated nature called mutiny," Walton reminded. Arguing that "a grave offense has unquestionably been committed, and one to which heavy penalties should be affixed," Walton simultaneously questioned if it constituted "mutiny in the highest degree" such that "the extreme rigor of the law" need apply. Citing his duty as judge advocate to call the Court's attention to mitigating circumstances, Walton highlighted Hartwell's testimony about discontent in the regiment due to the pay issue and concluded, "It is for the Court to see that the dignity of the law is maintained as well as the rights of the prisoner secured." Fifteen minutes later, the court sentenced Goliah to hard labor for the remainder of his term of enlistment, forfeiture of all pay, and dishonorable discharge, but not death. (38)
A protest in Battery F, 2d USCA (Light) shows the resentment African American noncommissioned officers sometimes faced in trying to maintain military discipline. At the same time, this mutiny reveals the expectation that black noncommissioned officers would be treated the same as their white counterparts and enjoy the associated privileges of rank. Sgt. Horatio M. Price, a white sergeant detailed to act as the battery's lieutenant, ordered Corp. John Heskins tied spread eagle across the spare wheel of a caisson after Heskins drunkenly broke into a sutler's establishment. Sgt. Anderson Tolliver and others in the battery went to Price to discuss the punishment, but things grew heated and developed into a mutiny despite Capt. Francis Marion's efforts to calm the situation. Some African American soldiers resisted the mutineers, however. Tolliver struck black Sgt. John W. Chandler upon learning that Chandler had carried out Price's orders, telling him that he "had tied up that man for them damned white sons of Bitches." In reply, Chandler declared that he acted pursuant to orders and announced that, while restraining himself for the moment, he would shoot the next person to lay hands on him. Corporal of the guard James Paydon threatened to shoot the first man who tried to untie Heskins and ordered another member of his guard to "let no one touch that rope." Nonetheless, someone did untie Heskins in the pandemonium and it seemed for a moment that the party intended to overpower the provost guard sent to quell the rebellion. Once reinforcements arrived, however, Marion arrested Tolliver and others from the crowd. (39)
Eight soldiers faced trial together in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 30, 1864. Most offered statements after a vigorous defense conducted by counsel formerly assigned to the court-martial detail. Tolliver offered that it was customary in the company that noncommissioned officers would not be tied up. Another defendant, Sgt. J. Hall, did not expect acquittal but reiterated the custom and observed that, even worse, a fellow noncommissioned officer from outside the unit meted out the punishment, all at the instigation of a sutler. Hall argued that all noncommissioned officers stood as equals with certain privileges regardless of race and claimed that "it is not surprising that it should have caused a general excitement among the men, and that expressions should have been used and threats made, which under ordinary circumstances would deserve severe punishment." Four of the defendants received sentences of three years' imprisonment, while Tolliver received four. Meanwhile, the court exonerated two defendants based on their statement that no evidence existed against them other than their presence in a crowd that watched the disturbance. The court also returned Bugler Isaac Reeves to duty, even though he loudly proclaimed during the mutiny, "Fall in boys and let us clean them fellows out." An officer testified that Reeves did this for braggadocio's sake and Reeves asserted in his defense that he used "indiscreet expressions" in jest after the mutiny ended. (40)
An even more violent mutiny erupted at Fort Jackson on December 9, 1863, as members of the 76th USCI opposed the reprehensible actions of white officers there and asserted their role as the protector of other blacks. Lt. Col. Augustus W. Benedict earned his regiment's enmity by punching and kicking troops for unpolished boots and striking one improperly uniformed man in the face with a sergeant's sword. Once, Benedict tied a man spread eagle to stakes driven in the ground with molasses smeared on his feet and hands for two days. Additionally, the regiment had other troubled officers in it--several of them committed inappropriate acts toward black laundresses. When Benedict whipped two musicians in their late teens or early twenties, the regiment finally revolted before the fort commander, Col. Charles W. Drew, had a chance to reprimand Benedict privately. Half the regiment gathered on the parade ground, firing their guns and vowing to kill Benedict. Only with extreme effort did Drew and his other officers (he ordered Benedict to his quarters at the beginning of the disturbance) quell the riot. (41)
Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks immediately wrote his superiors to assure them that the government could continue to have confidence in black troops and that Benedict's whipping of the two drummers caused the mutiny after the men received repeated assurances that such "cruel and unusual punishments interdicted by the Constitution" would not happen. Moreover, Banks refused to accept Benedict's resignation, instead ordering a commission to investigate his conduct. Benedict did not face tough questioning by the commission, probably because the disgusted members found him so reprehensible. Benedict was dismissed from the service (the permanent disgrace attached to dismissal was generally considered adequate punishment for officers, even where they committed crimes that would have earned the death penalty if perpetrated by enlisted men), but a court-martial also tried thirteen enlisted men. The panel acquitted four and sentenced two to death, six to imprisonment at hard labor for terms of between one and twenty years, and one, convicted of insubordinate conduct, to hard labor for a month. Banks commuted the death sentences to imprisonment and rejected the one month's sentence for conflicting evidence. (42)
Similarly asserting their role as protectors of other blacks, soldiers of the 9th Louisiana Infantry of African Descent came close to execution after they protested the beating of a black civilian in camp near Memphis and orders that their families were going to be relocated out of easy reach. On January 28, 1864, Lt. William Striblen and another officer physically subdued the civilian, who had resisted arrest, leaving him bloodied from several bayonet wounds. Seven or eight armed soldiers left a fatigue detail without orders to confront what they perceived as two unacceptable violations of rights. They "looked very defiant and scowled as I came to them," Striblen later testified. As Striblen disarmed one, the men demanded to see their families and expressed their anger at the relocation policy. Then, while Striblen tried to disarm another man, Charles Davis, the soldier noticed that the officer had a partially concealed pistol. Davis called out that Striblen intended to shoot. One of his comrades, Sterling Bradley, stabbed Striblen below the right arm, penetrating his lung, before another soldier knocked the officer to the ground. Becoming weak from the loss of blood, Striblen staggered to his tent, indiscriminately turning and firing his pistol on the way. Striblen denied that he ever told the mutinous troops that he had nearly killed one black that day and intended to kill another before nightfall, though a black witness confirmed that Striblen often treated the men poorly and corroborated that he passed the troubling comment. (43)
Capt. J.A. Staley represented both Davis and Bradley in their individual proceedings and argued that the excited men armed themselves "to prevent some person, or persons from removing their families beyond their reach," which they saw as violating their original agreement to enlist. Furthermore, Staley argued, the men showed understandable anger after "one of their own blood is brought before them bleeding, and suffering from wounds unnecessarily severe (if indeed necessary at all) inflicted by two Officers, one of whom is their own commander. This real, or seeming cruelty (and I prefer to call it the former) tends still farther to increase 'their defiant and scowling looks.'" Both issues caused the outburst, Staley asserted, and he scorned Striblen's clumsy handling of the day's events (and the behavior of other USCT officers who acted similarly) in that, "like many others he was in attempting to do by force, what could be better accomplished by kindness." Yet, while arguing that blacks acted just as whites would have because "nothing so quickly and certainly arouses the belligerent feelings of men, who have a proper regard and affection for their wives and children, as indignity, insult, or injustice offered to them," defense counsel also argued differentiation between the races for which he held whites responsible. Staley blamed society for creating an "unfortunate, enslaved race, shut out from the enlightening influence of refining associations, the means of education, and the benign and elevating tendency of true religion," and found it "unreasonable to expect" that a black "could bring his passions in as complete control of his judgment as the man who has enjoyed a part or all of those blessings, nor can it be expected of him to have as correct an appreciation of his duties and responsibilities as a soldier, as others who have been more favorably situated." (44)
The courts-martial sentenced both Bradley and Davis to death and, upon review, Holt urged, "It is vitally important to the success of the great and promising experiment of employing negroes as soldiers that--while no unjust distinctions should be made between them and other troops--neither benevolence nor sympathy should deter us from the enforcement of a rigorous discipline, alike adapted to their training and to the necessities of the service. It is indispensable that such grave offences, as those committed by the prisoners, should be so dealt with as to prevent their repetition. The good of the whole sometimes requires the infliction of severe punishments in individual instances, where were the offenders the only ones to be affected, milder penalties might be mercifully awarded." Luckily for the condemned men, Lincoln disagreed and commuted both of their sentences to six months confinement at hard labor. (45)
Other mutiny cases resulted in actual execution, however. These frequently involved situations where mutineers threatened an officer or where authorities felt they needed to enforce stricter discipline as a deterrent to further unrest. Thus, shortly after not imposing a capital sentence in the Goliah and Browning court-martials, substantially the same panel sentenced Wallace Baker to death, perhaps troubled by what they perceived to be a growing outbreak of dissidence in the 55th Massachusetts. The mutiny trial of Henry Hamilton of the 2d USCI also involved the threat of violence against a superior officer. Several hundred soldiers of that unit resisted while a sergeant attempted to take a comrade to the guardhouse, and when an officer ordered Hamilton to return to quarters, the soldier fixed his bayonet and declared that he would run through the first person who touched him. After a sergeant from the regiment recounted a similar narrative and a defense witness offered little helpful testimony, Hamilton submitted a simple statement that he was cleaning his gun (with bayonet fixed), that he returned to quarters when ordered, and then begged the mercies of the court on account of his ignorance and inability to read or write. After the court sentenced Hamilton to be shot, the judge advocate and two members of the panel, both from the 2d USCI, recommended clemency based on Hamilton's "manifest ignorance," that "while his criminality was far from being the highest in degree of its kind, the extreme measure of punishment was affixed thereto by the sentence of the court," and claimed that two members of the panel wished to reconsider their vote. Nonetheless, the department commander ordered Hamilton shot in the hope that the "just" but "severe" penalty would deter others from similar behavior. (46)
In other cases, noncommissioned officers occasionally received a death penalty where they led even a nonviolent mutiny. Sergeants William Kease and Doctor Moore of the 116th USCI were arraigned before a court-martial for leading an armed portion of their company, more than forty men, to the quarters of Capt. Sumner H. Warren on May 11, 1865, to demand the release of a private under arrest. Both sergeants faced further charges because they failed to use their authority as noncommissioned officers to prevent the mutiny; the court-martial sentenced them to death after neither offered any evidence or made any statement. (47)
Arguably the most violent mutiny of African American soldiers erupted in the 3d USCI while stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, on October 29, 1865. Ordered to perform tedious occupation duty amid a hostile population, many of the soldiers resorted to alcohol and resented strict maintenance of discipline in the unit after the war had ended. White officers' treatment of black female camp followers generated further complaints, as one soldier deemed the officers "loathsome" because they "apparently think that their commissions are licenses to debauch and mingle with deluded freewomen under cover of darkness." Young Lt. Col. John L. Brower, assuming command of the unit a few weeks earlier, earned a reputation for strict discipline as he tried to combat the growing disobedience and drunkenness in his command. (48)
A harsh punishment administered to a pilferer two days before the regiment's scheduled muster out sparked the tinder. A lieutenant ordered the soldier, who had tried to steal some molasses, stripped to the waist and tied by the thumbs with his toes barely touching the ground. A crowd of soldiers, possibly unarmed, vowed to release the man, especially after others in the regiment goaded them by asking, "What kind of a company is yours, that let your men be tied up?" When Brower fired into the crowd with his revolver, wounding Pvt. Joseph Green, the situation exploded. Some soldiers got their muskets and engaged in a firefight with Brower, while others attacked or shot at officers. One soldier convinced a captain to take off his sword lest an enlisted soldier injure him and, once disarmed, tied up the captain. In contrast, some noncommissioned officers sought to restore order, and after Brower's finger was shot off, one of the original instigators, Richard Lee, rushed to his aid and took him to safety in the cookhouse. Only the arrival on the scene of Colonel Bardwell, the unit's former commander, restored order. (49)
By October 31, 1865, court-martial proceedings began with six officers of the 3d USCI and two from the 34th USCI comprising the panel. (It was legal for the panel to include officers from the unit that had mutinied.) Fourteen soldiers stood trial for mutiny, while one, Archibald Roberts, faced lesser charges. (Roberts did not participate in the mutiny but had been overheard saying, "Lt. Colonel Brower, the God-Damned Son of a Bitch, he shot my cousin. Where is he, let me see him.") Considering the gravity of the charges, the proceedings moved swiftly, with neither side putting on particularly strong or detailed cases and with only a few witnesses on each side answering but one or two questions. Nonetheless, while the judge advocate seemed to ignore his mandate to assist defendants not represented by counsel, the panel's president worked to ensure substantially full and fair trials. (50)
By November 13, the court convicted thirteen soldiers of mutiny and Roberts of conduct prejudicial to good order. Six received death sentences and of those, at least four shot or tried to shoot at officers, while one had been characterized as among the most active instigators of the incident. Yet, the court acquitted one, Theodore Waters, of mutiny despite testimony from the regimental surgeon that Waters drew nearer to the tied-up man than anyone else. One defense witness countered that Waters only went with the crowd to try to get permission to free the punished soldier, and another offered that Waters was in his tent when the mutiny ended. Furthermore, some of the major instigators--Privates Richard Lee, who aided Brower after helping start the riot, and Jonathan Miller, who shouted, "Let's take him down, we are not going to have any more of tying men up by the thumbs" and swore "like a mad man" during the disturbance--received only two years at hard labor. One soldier who struck a lieutenant received fifteen years at hard labor, two others received ten, and two more, including one who tried to cut down the punished man, received two years. In late 1866, the Bureau of Military Justice commuted the sentences of the surviving mutineers (the six executions had been carried out and one more died from typhoid fever) and by January 1867 had released them. (51)
In some ways, the trial of the first black executed for mutiny provides one of the most effective microcosms illuminating the tension generated with African American service, as blacks and whites wrestled with military discipline, the meaning of arming African Americans, and black calls for equality within the context of a changing social landscape. A history of disciplinary trouble marked the military record of Sgt. William Walker, a twenty-three-year-old in the 3d South Carolina Infantry (21st USCI). A court-martial convened at Hilton Head, South Carolina, not far from the Port Royal area where Walker formerly labored as a slave, on January 11,1864, to arraign Walker on multiple charges stemming from various instances in which Walker resisted authority regardless of his superior in rank's race: from threatening to shoot a lieutenant to refusing a captain's order to go into his tent under arrest, from defying a black sergeant's order to fall in to preventing an African American drum major from making an arrest, from helping release a prisoner being punished to leaving his tent while under arrest. (52)
A charge of mutiny based on other events on November 19, 1863, however, reveals the motivation behind Walker's resistance. Walker unlawfully took command of his company and marched it, along with other men from the regiment, to commanding officer Lt. Col. A. G. Bennett's tent. There, Walker ordered the men to stack arms in protest at unequal pay and explained that they "would not do duty any longer for seven dollars per month." The men's willingness to mutiny had been exacerbated by their resentment at the high proportion of inexperienced officers who led them, the racially-based disdain some openly displayed toward them, and the arduous fatigue duty they had endured. Bennett explained that the mutineers would be shot if they did not return to duty, but Walker moved among the men, telling them to leave their guns and go to their company street. The soldiers obeyed this command. (53)
Despite the fact that Walker later faced a court-martial, the protest gained the attention of the regiment's officers and had some larger effect. Within days, Bennett and twelve of his officers signed a petition protesting that unequal pay "plighted" the "honor" of the country and breached the government's promise of equal treatment to the men. On November 25, department commander Maj. Gen. Quincy Gillmore ordered that black troops were not a labor force for white use but, instead, should receive the same treatment and opportunity for drill. By the end of the month, Bennett requested that rations be furnished to his troops' families until the equalization of their pay. Although department headquarters denied the request, Bennett's act indicates both his consciousness of the men's situation as well as the dilemma he faced in maintaining discipline. Several months later, Governor John A. Andrew of Massachusetts called attention to Walker's execution in a scathing letter to Lincoln. Demanding equal pay for black soldiers, Andrew denounced that "the Government which found no law to pay him except as a nondescript or a contraband, nevertheless found law enough to shoot him as a soldier." While punishment had to be meted out to the vocal leader of the unforgivable act of mutiny, at least some white officers and officials took heed of the rationale behind the protest and argued that upholding one law in this case violated other principles of justice). (54)
Furthermore, no one else received serious punishment for participating in the mutiny. A report in June 1864 noted that the regiment had endured inferior equipment, officers, treatment, and pay, and that the men protested without realizing that they could not simply refuse to be soldiers. The report continued that once "good officers" explained that fact, "all at once entered willingly to their duties," and that the regiment had become "one of the best" under Bennett's direction. In successfully urging the return to duty of nine mutineers without stoppage of pay, the report also noted that the men faced partiality in their trials, with "irregularities of the records" that "rendered it impossible for these men to have Justice." While acknowledging that the discipline of black troops could sometimes be carried out in an arbitrary manner, this statement also serves as an example of white officers seeking uniform administration of justice. (55)
Nonetheless, the tempestuous sergeant who led the mutiny had to face trial. After introducing a lieutenant from the 47th New York Infantry as defense counsel, Walker pleaded not guilty to all charges. Bennett testified as to the events of November 19 and two lieutenants corroborated his narrative and offered testimony about other charges. Acting drum major William Smith related how Walker interfered when he tried to get Rauty Pope to attend fatigue call, testifying that he declined to discipline Pope because "I did not like the looks of Sergt. Walker," as he "eyed me sharply," and made Smith "afraid." Sergeant Sussex Brown also offered that he once found Walker playing cards instead of falling in for inspection. Walker wanted to "play on" and let forth a stream of curses and threatened to shoot Brown. (56)
Walker mounted a vigorous defense and tried to mitigate these damaging statements with testimony from three sergeants and three privates of the regiment, all African American. Walker then articulated a criticism of treatment in the army and his impatient expectations for equality. Conceding that there existed "many points" for which he was "justly blamable" and "cannot hope to escape without punishment," Walker also hoped that "an enlightened understanding" would realize that his action was more an error of judgment than a desire to violate the law. He then asserted his military service and the unequal treatment his unit and race had endured as defenses. Walker explained that he served as a pilot of the USS Wissahickon when he received a pass to visit his family ashore. Although exempt from conscription, Walker enlisted in reliance on the "promise solemnly made by some who are now officers in my regiment, that I should receive the same pay and allowances as were given to all soldiers in the U.S. Army." Claiming that nine-tenths of the men in his regiment would agree that their officers had been "tyrannical in the extreme" and "beneath the standard of gentlemanly conduct ... pertaining to officers wearing the uniform of a government that had declared 'freedom to all,'" despite the petition supporting equalization of pay signed by those same officers within hours of the mutiny, Walker stated that such treatment and unequal pay precipitated the incident. Walker further suggested that the officers had overblown the situation, informing that the assemblage "only contemplated a peaceful demand for the rights and benefits that had been guaranteed them." (57)
Walker concluded by asserting that a "spirit of persecution" existed toward him, that "every part of my military history has been ransacked to procure a conviction," and adding that he did not act alone on November 19, 1863. Claiming his ignorance of military law and denying that the troops had been instructed in it, Walker argued that he and his comrades had "been allowed to stumble along" and gain "knowledge of the services required of us as best we might." Walker vowed that "many things have occurred that might have been made entirely different had we known the responsibility of our position." With his mark, William Walker concluded with a request that the court give as favorable a consideration as the rules of the service would permit. (58)
The court sentenced Walker to death. When only one of eleven shots of the firing squad hit Walker, a reserve squad had to complete the execution. George E. Stephens criticized the "strange means" by which black soldiers were shot under military law, and felt that the government "required a victim to show the colored soldiers ... what they must expect if they don't take the money [the] government offers them, however paltry," while Col. Thomas W. Higginson condemned forcing officers to be "executioners for those soldiers who, like Sergeant Walker, refuse to fulfill their share of a contract where the Government has openly repudiated the other share." Massachusetts senator Henry Wilson potently cited Walker's case when he called on his fellow lawmakers to place black soldiers on equal footing with white troops in all respects, explaining that Walker had revolted out of "a burning sense of our injustice." (59)
Over four decades later, Norwood Hallowell lauded the black stance over unequal pay an example of "courage, combined with dignity, self-respect, and self-control." As the Massachusetts regiments refused supplemental pay from the state and stood firm that they would receive either equal pay from the federal government or none at all, Hallowell told how men received letters from their destitute families. He further acknowledged that the units were at times driven to mutiny, "not in an angry, tumultuous way, but in a sullen, desperate mood," though disaster was frequently diverted by the good sense of the men and the sympathy and firmness of their officers. Hallowell further deemed Walker's position that black soldiers had been released from duty because the government failed to fulfill its contract as "logical," but explained that because it was a time of war, Walker had to be tried and punished. (60)
Walker's case stands at the intersection of conflicting impulses generated by the army service of blacks during the Civil War. An ex-slave turned United States sergeant, Walker repeatedly bucked military authority but relied on the rule of law for his defense. A vocal opponent of the inequality he suffered in the army, he found himself afforded due process at trial and executed pursuant to the same law and procedure mandated for white defendants. Walker's hope upon donning the blue uniform melted into disenchantment because of unequal pay, and his protest against it led directly to his lawful execution, but in launching that protest Walker became symbolic of black demands for a new legal order embracing and enforcing total equality.
Examining the courts-martial records of black mutineers illuminates the tension military authorities experienced in trying to maintain uniform military discipline while administering justice to African American troops. Despite the gravity of the mutineers' crime, many officers seem to have realized that they grounded their protests in legitimate grievances. Thus, generally only ringleaders or those who threatened violence to an officer received capital punishment. In many instances, authorities searched for mitigating factors and defendants frequently received lighter sentences than sanctioned by the Articles of War or commutation. Moreover, black soldiers enjoyed high standards of fairness and due process when facing general courts-martial. Generally, a confession, strong evidence of culpability, and/or the complete lack of a plausible defense resulted in conviction. In other cases, such as Samuel Green's vigorous self-defense resulting in his exoneration of a mutiny charge, a black soldier's questioning of African American witnesses trumped the testimony of a white officer.
Rather than sanction a different disciplinary scheme for African American troops, the federal government held black soldiers entitled to the same application of military justice and court-martial procedure that whites enjoyed. Too often, the federal military's policy on this matter has been neglected because it did not gain widespread application across the country in other contexts. The army's embrace of judicial due process regardless of color, a doctrine mandated by the War Department and affirmed in individual general courts-martial, stands as one paradigm that could have been employed as the nation reconstituted itself. Even though not accomplished on a larger level within either the army or civilian society, biracial interaction within general courts-martial emphasized the possibility that a pattern of fair and equal treatment of blacks could be promulgated more broadly.
Moreover, the proceedings reveal the especially impatient claims for equality that black soldiers made, whether protesting inequitable pay or treatment. Black soldiers began to ascertain how to operate within a rule of law previously denied to nearly all of them, but they also demanded its equal enforcement. Their experiences emphasized that a new overall legal regime--one more protective of blacks' rights--could emerge from the fluidity of war, and they loudly voiced their call, using extralegal means, for this revised constitutional and societal norm based on their equality. That this path proved more elusive than many of these African American soldiers, who comprised a new corps of leadership within their community, had hoped does not diminish the importance of the fact that it lay open at all in the federal army or that blacks demanded it not just with words hut also with action, which sometimes earned them imprisonment or death.
(1.) Wallace Baker court-martial, 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (LL 2112). Unless otherwise noted, all courts-martial cited are in Record Group 153, National Archives, Washington, D.C. The defendant's unit and the proceeding's file number are given at a court-martial's first citation. Charles B. Fox, Record of the Service of the Fifty-fifth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Cambridge, Mass.: Press of John Wilson and Son, 1868), 103, 139.
(2.) "Bay State," Palatka, Fla., Apr. 10, 1864 (Weekly Anglo-African, Apr. 30, 1864), in Noah Andre Trudeau, ed., Voices of the 55th: Letters from the 55th Massachusetts Volunteers, 1861-1865 (Dayton, Ohio: Morningside House, 1996), 86-88.
(3.) Sampson Goliah court-martial, 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (NN 2479). "War Letters of C. P. Bowditch," MHS Proceedings (0923-24), 469, in James M. McPherson, The Negro's Civil War: How American Negroes Felt and Acted During the War for the Union (New York: Pantheon, 1965), 200-20l. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 128 vols. (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1880-1901), ser. 1, vol. 35, 2:68-69 (hereafter OR; citations from series 1 unless otherwise indicated). Two days earlier a mutiny due to dissatisfaction at unequal pay erupted on a ship transporting the 54th Massachusetts. Donald Yacovone, ed., A Voice of Thunder: The Civil War Letters of George E. Stephens (Chicago: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1997), 73, 76-77, 274-75.
(4.) Goliah court-martial. Baker court-martial.
(5.) See below regarding the judge advocate's duties to an unrepresented defendant. According to one treatise, a defendant or his counsel was to frame questions in writing and hand them to the judge advocate on separate slips of paper; any legal objections were to be offered in the same way. It is unclear how strictly this procedure was enforced, though it appears that Baker questioned witnesses directly but through the judge advocate, who then asked additional questions pursuant to his charge to assist an unrepresented defendant. Stephen V. Benet, A Treatise on Military Law and the Practice of Courts-Martial (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1864), 65. Luis F. Emilio, A Brave Black Regiment: The History of the 54th Massachusetts, 1863-1865 (1894; repr. New York: Da Capo Press, 1995), 329. Baker court-martial. Fox, Record of the ... Fifty-fifth, 102.
(6.) Baker court-martial. George E. Stephens, Folly Island, S.C., June 18,1864 ( Weekly Anglo-African, July 9, 1864), in Yacovone, Voice of Thunder, 317-18. Fox, Record of the ... Fifty-fifth, 29. Sgt. John F. Shorter et al. to the president, Folly Island, S.C., July 16,1864, in Ira Berlin et al., eds., Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867, Series 11, The Black Military Experience (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1982), 401-2.
(7.) Donald Yacovone likewise found that Baker's trial moved with procedural fairness, though his attack on an officer ultimately resulted in the death penalty pursuant to regulation, while B. Kevin Bennett deemed the hearings afforded defendants from the Jacksonville mutiny of the 3d USCT as "full and fair:' Berlin, Black Military Experience, 434-35. Joseph T. Glatthaar, Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers (New York: The Free Press, 1990), 117-18. Yacovone, Voice of Thunder, 75. B. Kevin Bennett, "The Jacksonville Mutiny," Civil War History 38 (Mar. 1992): 39-50: 47.
(8.) Ramold cites William Walker's execution and Lt. Col. Augustus W. Benedict's cruel punishments of his men to support his assertion that a "sharp contrast" existed between naval and army discipline of blacks. Yet, as shown below, William Walker received a fair trial and appropriately faced death according to the Articles of War, while Benedict was dismissed from the service for his depravity. Ramold's overall analysis helps support my argument that the federal government tried to impose an equal justice system regarding blacks in the armed services. A sharp contrast between black soldiers and sailors comes in the navy's lack of executions. (Lincoln commuted the few condemnations issued.) For a partial explanation of why officers in black army units could be more arbitrary than their counterparts in the navy, see note 14. Steven J. Ramold, Slaves, Sailors, Citizens: African Americans in the Union Navy (DeKalb: Northern Illinois Univ. Press, 2002), 5,149,151-52,165. For a much more critical view of overall racial relations in the navy, see Michael J. Bennett, Union lacks: Yankee Sailors in the Civil War (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2004).
(9.) John Lewis court-martial, 13th USCHA (OO 933).
(10.) I am influenced here by Wayne D. Moore's Constitutional Rights and Powers of the People (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1996).
(11.) Appendix to the Congressional Globe, 37th Cong., 2d sess. (July 17,1862), 415. S. 511, 37th Cong., 3d sess. Revised United States Army Regulations of 1861, with an Appendix Containing the Changes and Laws Affecting Army Regulations and Articles of War to June 25,1863 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1863), 125-26, 491, 495-96,497, 498-99. W. Winthrop, ed., Digest of Opinions of the Judge Advocate General of the Army ... Between September, 1862, and July, 1868 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1868), 12,15, 21-23, 26, 2S, 33, 37, 49, 129, 173-78, 222-23,232. Henry Wager Halleck, "Military Tribunals and Their Jurisdiction," American Journal of International Law 5 (Oct. 1911 ): 958-67: 966. OR, ser. 3, 5:1007-12. Benet, A Treatise on Military Law, 17. Joseph C. Fitzharris, "Field Officer Courts and U.S Civil War Military Justice," Journal of Military History 68 (Jan. 2004): 47-72: 58, 71.
(12.) The official record of soldiers executed during the Civil War lists drumhead courts-martial of but one white and six black soldiers that resulted in execution, though this number is likely too low. List of U.S. Soldiers Executed by United States Military Authorities during the Late War (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1885), 2-11. OR, 26, pt. 1:262-73; 34, pt. 1:171; 41, pt. 2:743.
(13.) For an example of a sympathetic officer driven to consider violent action, see C. M. Duren to Father, Jacksonville, Fla., Mar. 23,1864, in C. M. Duren, "The Occupation of Jacksonville, February 1864 and the Battle of Olustee: Letters of Lt. C. M. Duren, 54th Massachusetts Regiment, U.S.A.," Florida Historical Quarterly 32 (1954): 262-87: 280-81. George E. Stephens, near Jacksonville, Fla., Mar. 6, 1864 (Weekly Anglo-African, Mar. 26, 1864), in Yacovone, Voice of Thunder, 298-99. Thomas W. Higginson Journal, July 7, 1863, in Christopher Looby, ed., The Complete Civil War Journal and Selected Letters of Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2000), 158-59. Emilio, Brave Black Regiment, 329. Fox, Record of the ... Fifty-fifth, 5. Thomas M. Chester, Deep Bottom, Va., Sept. 1, 1864, in R. J. M. Blackett, ed., Thomas Morris Chester: Black Civil War Correspondent (New York: De Capo Press, 1989), 115.
(14.) To eliminate arbitrariness in captain's mast proceedings, the naval equivalent of regimental courts-martial, the navy Articles of War adopted in July 1862 promulgated a codified system that imposed specific punishments for particular crimes. No such system regulated regimental courts-martial. While Steven J. Ramold observes that army
officers could impose a variety of punishments outside courts-martial proceedings, he also notes that where naval judicial abuses occurred, they usually did so at the shipboard level. While the codified offense classifications restricted disproportionate punishment for certain violations, ship commanders remained free to punish ship rules within their discretion. Ramold, Slaves, Sailors, Citizens, 145, 148, 164-65. Berlin, Black Military Experience, 437-38. Glatthaar, Forged in Battle, 119. Keith P. Wilson, Campfires of Freedom: The Camp Life of Black Soldiers During the Civil War (Kent, Ohio: Kent State Univ. Press, 2002), 3, 12.
(15.) Ramold also noted the paradoxical relationship between freedom and equality generated by military service in Slaves, Sailors, Citizens, 81-83. Wilson similarly recognized that discipline was part of a meaningful social reconstruction that took place within the black regiments. Wilson, Campfires of Freedom, xii, 21-22, 24, 185. Berlin, Black Military Experience, 434-35, 437-38, 441, 475. Glatthaar, Forged in Battle, 108-15, 120.
(16.) Endorsement by Judge Advocate General J. Holt, Mar. 6, 1866, on Peter Birts et al. to Gen. Lorenzo Thomas, Dec. 4,1865; Simon Prisby to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, near Brownsville, Tex., Jul. 20, 1865; Prince Albert to Andrew Johnson, Fort Livingston, La., Jan. 28, 1866; G.O. No. 36, Hd. Qrs. 1st Division, USCT, Aug. 28, 1864; G.O. No. 36, Hd Qrs. 6zd USCI, Nov. 9,1864; G.O. No. 3, Hd. Qrs. 100th USCI, Jan. 30, 1865, all in Berlin, Black Military Experience, 424-25, 428-29, 440,452, 454, 457-58. Higginson Journal, ca. Feb. 23--27, 1863, in Looby, Higginson, 106. Baker court-martial. Berlin, Black Military Experience, 434-35, 437-38,441,475. Wilson, Campfires of Freedom, 21-22, 24,185. Glatthaar, Forged in Battle, 108-15.
(17.) Samuel Green court-martial, 109th USCI (MM 3244). For an example of black resentment, see Sgt. J. Hall, Sgt. Anderson Tolliver et al., court-martial, 2d USCA (Light) (MM 2179), and Sgt. William Walker court-martial, 3d South Carolina Volunteer Infantry (MM 1320); for an example of additional charges, see Henry M. Way court-martial, 55th Massachusetts (NN2479), and Doctor Moore court-martial and Sergeant William Kease court-martial, 116th USCI (MM 2394). Donald Yacovone, "The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, the Pay Crisis, and the 'Lincoln Despotism;" in Martin H. Blatt et al., eds., Hope and Glory: Essays on the Legacy of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment (Amherst: Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 2001), 38-39, 41-43. Wilson, Campfires of Freedom, 33, 35. Winthrop, Digest, 333.
(18.) Revised United States Army Regulations, 496-97. Winthrop, Digest, 29, 31, 37, 127, 135, 205.
(19.) Higginson Journal, Sept. 5, 1863, Dec. 28, 1863, in Looby, ed., Higginson, 165, 182.
(20.) Winthrop, Digest, 391. Simms court-martial; Baker court-martial; Goliah court-martial; Moore court-martial; Kease court-martial; Samuel Mapp court-martial, 10th USCI (MM 1847); Aaron Collins court-martial, 6th USCC (MM 2571); John Mitchell court-martial, 53d USCI (LL 2350).
(21.) Collins court-martial. Berlin, Black Military Experience, 436
(22.) For examples of confessions, see Simon Grant court-martial, 21st USCI (MM 2139), and William H. Harrison court-martial, 69th USCI (OO 911). Giles Simms court-martial, 49th USCI (LL 2492). For other examples of a court-martial considering mitigating factors, see the Sampson Goliah court-martial and the Sergeant J. Hall et al. court-martial.
(23.) Thomas Four court-martial, 52d USCI (MM 2079). William Jackson court-martial, 14th USCI (00 786).
(24.) Nine men received sentences for participating in or not attempting to suppress this mutiny. Green court-martial. Samuel Green pension file, National Archives, Washington, D.C. Sheldon Penock court-martial, 109th USCI (MM 3244); for a clemency plea from Penock's former master, see B.W. Penick to Andrew Johnson, Greensburg, Ky., Apr. 16, 1866, in Berlin, Black Military Experience, 471-73.
(25.) John McMurray, Recollections of a Colored Troop (n.p: 1916), 18-20.
(26.) George Douglas court-martial, 38th USCI (MM 3064).
(27.) The National Archives cannot find John Shaw's court-martial file, though some relevant papers are in his pension file in the National Archives. Winthrop, Digest, 318-23, 370-71. Fox, Record of the ... Fifty-fifth, 77. Endorsement of Joseph Holt, May 10, 1864, in Emanuel Davis court-martial, 48th USCI (NN 1707). Benjamin McCloud court-martial, 37th USCI (MM 3243). Section 21 of "An Act for enrolling and calling out the national Forces, and for other Purposes," enacted Mar. 3, 1863, S. 511, 37th Cong. 3d sess.
(28.) Winthrop, Digest, 243.
(29.) Irving Charles court-martial, 9th United States Cavalry (OO 230l); see also Charles Wood court-martial, 9th United States Cavalry (OO 2488).
(30.) Berlin, Black Military Experience, 441-42.
(31.) For relevant remarks by Massachusetts governor John A. Andrew and Senator Henry Wilson, see discussion below.
(32.) Revised United States Army Regulations, 486. Benet, Military Law, 205-6.
(33.) Glatthaar, Forged in Battle, 115.
(34.) The number of black soldiers who faced mutiny charges is derived from a search run through The Index Project. Almost all of the African American soldiers listed were executed in either 1864 or 1865. List of U.S. Soldiers Executed, 2-11. David Washington court-martial, 3d USCC (LL 2783). For Washington's request to President Lincoln for clemency, pleading his lack of education and ignorance about the law, see David Washington to Lincoln, Nov. 26, 1864, in Berlin, Black Military Experience, 455. Wilson, Campfires of Freedom, 51-52. Glatthaar, Forged in Battle, 115-17.
(35.) In a similar case, Pvt. John Higgins of the 5th USCHA resisted his lieutenant and declared, "God damn any nigger that will stand by and see another tied up for nothing.... We have been run over by our officers long enough; if we don't take our own part, nobody else will take it for us. The niggers are all a set of damned cowards, or they would not be imposed upon so." See General Court Martial Orders No. 12, Headquarters Dept. of Mississippi, Nov. 11, 1865, in Berlin, Black Military Experience, 474-76. Goliah court-martial.
(36.) Goliah court-martial. Nelson Browning court-martial, 55th Massachusetts (NN 2479).
(37.) See above regarding a petition sent to President Lincoln in July 1864 by soldiers of the regiment. Goliah court-martial. Col. Alfred S. Hartwell to John A. Andrew, May 10, 1864, quoted in Yacovone, "Fifty-fourth Massachusetts," 47. Col. Alfred S. Hartwell to Edwin M. Stanton, Folly Island, S.C., June 13, 1864; Lt. Col. Charles B. Fox to Col. A.S. Hartwell, [Folly Island, S.C.], June 14, 1864; Circular of Col. A.S. Hartwell, Folly Island, S.C., June 14, 1864, all in Berlin, Black Military Experience, 398-401. Fox, Record of the ... Fifty-fifth, 33.
(38.) Goliah court-martial.
(39.) Hall, Tolliver, et al. court-martial.
(41.) OR, 1, 26, pt. 1:460-62, 467, 468, 473. Glatthaar, Forged in Battle, 91-92.
(42.) OR, 1, 26, pt. 1:456, 458, 474-79. Berlin, Black Military Experience, 438-40.
(43.) Sterling Bradley and Charles Davis courts-martial, 9th Louisiana Infantry of African Descent (MM 1442).
(44.) Bradley and Davis courts-martial. See also the debate between Brig. Gen. Brisbin and Lt. Col. Coyl in the Lewis court-martial, discussed above.
(45.) Bradley and Davis courts-martial.
(46.) Henry Hamilton court-martial, 2d USCI (LL 2628). For another mutiny in which a soldier suggested that perceived grievances justified a threat against an officer, see that of Samuel Mapp.
(47.) Kease court-martial; Moore court-martial.
(48.) Bennett, "Jacksonville Mutiny," 39-50, 40-41. R.H.B. to the editor, The Christian Recorder, Aug. 6, 1864.
(49.) Brower claimed Green was about to shoot him. Joseph Grien (Green) court-martial; Richard Lee court-martial; Joseph Nathaniel court-martial; James Thomas court-martial; Calvin Dowrey court-martial; James Allen court-martial, all from 3d USCI and all individual proceedings in file number OO 1477. Bennett, "Jacksonville Mutiny," 42-44.
(50.) Bennett, "Jacksonville Mutiny," 45, 47.
(51.) The proceedings for David Craig cannot be located. Grien court-martial; Richard Lee court-martial; Nathaniel court-martial; Thomas court-martial; Dowrey court-martial; Mien court-martial; Thomas Howard court-martial; Jacob Plowden court-martial; John Miller court-martial; Theodore Waters court-martial, all from 3d USCI and all individual proceedings in file number OO 1477. Bennett, "Jacksonville Mutiny," 42, 43, 48, 49.
(52.) Walker court-martial. Howard C. Westwood, "The Cause and Consequence of a Union Black Soldier's Mutiny and Execution," Civil War History 31 (Sept. 1985): 222-36: 222.
(53.) Walker court-martial. OR, 44:667. Westwood, "Cause and Consequence," 224, 226.
(54.) Col. A. G. Bennett et al. to Brig. Gen. Lorenzo Thomas, Hilton Head, S.C., Nov. 21, 1863; Col. A. G. Bennett to Capt. William L. M. Burger, Hilton Head, S.C., Nov. 30, 1863, endorsement by Maj. Gen. Q. A. Gillmore by A. A. Gen. Edward W. Smith, Folly Island, S.C., Dec. 2, 1863; Col. William B. Barton to Brig. Gen. Rufus Saxton, Hilton Head, S.C., Dec. 5, 1863, endorsement by Brig. Gen. Rufus Saxton through A.A. Gen. Capt. E. W. Hooper, Beaufort, S.C., Dec. 11, 1863, all in Berlin, Black Military Experience, 388-91. John A. Andrew to Abraham Lincoln, Boston, May 13, 1864, at <http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/P?mal:1:./temp/~ammem_Ls4j::>.
(55.) Col. M.S. Littlefield to Col. P. P. Brown Jr., Hilton Head, S.C., June 3, 1864, in Berlin, Black Military Experience, 394-95. Westwood, "Cause and Consequence," 231.
(56.) Walker court-martial.
(57.) Walker vigorously addressed the other allegations in this statement. Walker court-martial.
(58.) For a similar argument that "one breack of enlissment was quite sufficient to justify another particularly when it was transacted on the part of the gov." and that if a general's promise could be broken, what could one expect of a "poor solider (pri.)?" see Warren Hamilton's petition for release after confinement for desertion from the 73d USCI. Warren Hamilton to E. M. Stanton, Fort Jefferson, Tortugas, Fla., May 1865, in Berlin, Black Military Experience, 384. Warren Hamilton court-martial 73d USCI (LL 3106). Walker court-martial. Winthrop, Digest, 81.
(59.) Walker court-martial. George E. Stephens, near Jacksonville, Fla., Mar. 6, 1864 (Weekly Anglo-African, Mar. 26, 1864), in Yacovone, Voice of Thunder, 298-99, 3o3n23. Thomas W. Higginson to the editor of the New York Tribune, Aug. 12, 1864, in Thomas W. Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment (1870; repr. East Lansing: Michigan State Univ. Press, 1960), 226. Cong. Globe, 38th Cong., 1st sess., Apr. 22, 1864, 1805.
(60.) Norwood P. Hallowell, An Address by N. P. Hallowell, '61. Delivered on Memorial Day, May 30, 1896, at a Meeting Called by the Graduating Class of Harvard University (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1896), 8-9.
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|Author:||Samito, Christian G.|
|Publication:||Civil War History|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2007|
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