June18, 1862.— Letter
from Survivors to Jefferson Davis
ATLANTA, June 18, 1862.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate States of
SIR: We are the survivors(*) of the party that took the engine at Big
Shanty on the 12th of April last. Our commander, Andrews, and seven of our
comrades have been executed. We all (with the exception of Andrews) were
regularly detailed from our regiments in perfect ignorance of where we were
going and what we were to do. We were ordered to obey Andrews, and everything we
did was done by his orders, he only telling his plans when he wished us to
execute them. In this we are no more to blame than any Northern soldier, for any
one of them in our circumstances would have been obliged to do just as we did.
For fuller details we refer to the evidence in the cases that have been tried.
No real harm was done, and as far as thought and intention is concerned we are
perfectly innocent. Oh, it is hard to die a disgraceful and ignominious death;
to leave our wives, our children, our brothers and sisters and parents without
any consolation. Give this matter your most kind and merciful consideration.
Give us that mercy you yourself hope to receive from the Judge of all. We will
all take an oath not to fight or do anything against the Confederacy. If this
cannot be done at least spare our lives until the war is closed, if we have to
remain in prison until that time.
Wilson [W.] Brown, Company F, Twenty-first Ohio Volunteers; William Bensinger,
Company G, Twenty-first Ohio Volunteers; Elihu H. Mason, Company K, Twenty-first
Ohio Volunteers; John A. Wilson, Company C, Twenty-first Ohio Volunteers; John
R. Porter, Company G, Twenty-first Ohio Volunteers; Mark Wood, Company C,
Twenty-first Ohio Volunteers; Robert Buffum, Company H, Twenty-first Ohio
Volunteers; William Knight, Company E, Twenty-first Ohio Volunteers; William
Pittenger, Company G, Second Ohio Volunteers; Daniel A. Dorsey, Company H,
Thirty-third Ohio Volunteers; Jacob Parrott, Company K, Thirty-third Ohio
Volunteers; William [H.] Reddick, Company B, Thirty-third Ohio Volunteers; M. J.
Hawkins, Company A, Thirty-third Ohio Volunteers.
The war of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records
of the Union and Confederate Armies; Series 2 - Volume 4, 1899, U.S. Government