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Augusta County: Thomas M. Smiley to William Smiley, September 9, [1863]

Discusses camp life and the military execution of 10 North Carolina soldiers for desertion.

Sept 9th

Camp Stonewall Brigade

Dear Father

I will endeavor this evening to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well & hope when this comes to hand it may find you well. I have not heard from you all for nearly a month. the last letter I received was dated August 17th There is hardly anybody in camp to day as there is a Genereal review of troops and they have all gone. From every appearance I think that the army will not remain stationary much longer it is rumored that some of the first Corps has already commenced moving but in what direction I cannot say.

There was a military execution took place in our division last Saturday (10) ten men of the third North Carolina regiment were shot for the crime of desertion. They marched around the division to the stakes with as much apparent firmness as they would into a battle they knelt down, their hands were tied eyes bandaged and then the command was given to the firing party, ready; aim, fire,

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when a hundred and twenty muskets belched forth their leaden storm and the poor fellows are dead. They had the privilege of any Chaplan they wished and they chose a Catholic priest

The division was then marched past their bodies which lay just as they had fallen.

But as I have nothing of interest to write I will close by asking you to write soon to your affectionate son

T. M. Smiley

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