Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dalton executions, part 3.

Well, I am in a dilemma. I’ll lay out my facts. According to an article, dated May 5, 1864, found in the Daily Constitutionalist, there were twenty-one men from the Army of Tennessee scheduled for execution.

Fact # 2: In a book, entitled Battles and Sketches of the Army of Tennessee, there is a description, a good detailed description, of the execution of "fifteen deserters from the army – two from Stewart’s division, eighth from Stevenson’s and five from other commands..." The author goes on, describing how "a detail from the provost guard marched to General Stewart’s headquarters, stacked their arms and left." These were the executioners. Staff officers loaded the stacked weapons, some with live rounds, some with blanks. When the detail returned, they did not know who had loaded weapons and who did not.

Fact # 3: Writing in his 1996 thesis on desertion and the 60th NCT, James Taylor states that the "executions were carried out by Lieutenant Robert C. Clayton of Company K, 60th North Carolina."

There are a couple of other sources, but none mention who was doing the execution. Was Lt. Clayton the provost officer for the day, and was it his company that did the firing? I do have in my notes that the 58th NCT, and probably the 60th NCT, served as provost guards in Dalton from January 22 to February 22, when they left to fight in the battle around Dalton. One member of the 58th NCT writes later that after the battle, they returned to their previous position. But, I’ve got no mention that they returned to provost after that.

So what do you think, based upon the above?

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