Severity of Sentences: Confederate Court Martial Records 16th North Carolina

lelliott19

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bucked and gagged.JPG
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31772/old/files/relative.htm#linkimage-0034
Has anyone else encountered a Confederate regiment with as many Court Martials resulting in such severe sentences as the 16th North Carolina Infantry? Certainly doesn't seem like a good way to build morale to me. :nah disagree: Amazingly, most of these men served until the end - or almost the end.

These are just some from 1863 for the 16th NC ....from A&IGO Record of Courts Martial, 1862-1863, Record Group 109: War Department Collection of Confederate Records, 1825 - 1927, NARA.

Pvt. Thomas Ellwood, Co M, 16th NC Regt.
Thomas Ellwood, age 18, residence Gaston NC. Enlisted 1 May 1861 at Dallas for 12 months.
Court Martial 27 January 1863
"To forfeit one months pay and to wear a barrel jacket four hours each day for 5 consecutive days with the inscription 'The Celebrated Forager' inscribed thereon." <Apparently his charge was excessive foraging?>
ellwood-jpg.jpg


Pvt. J W Suttles, Co D, 16th NC Regt.

James W Suttles, age 22, residence Rutherford County. Enlisted 1 May 1861 at Rutherford for 12 months. Promoted to Corporal January 1864. Captured 2 April 1865 at Hatcher's Run and imprisoned at Point Lookout. Released 19 June 1865.
Court Martial 9 February 1863
"To forfeit six months pay and to receive 30 Lashes on his naked back in the presence of his Regiment" <No idea what his offense was?>
suttles-jpg.jpg


Pvt. W F Dover, Co F, 16th NC Regt.

William F Dover, age 18, residence Buncombe County. Enlisted 7 May 1861 at Asheville for 12 months, Promoted to 1st Corporal 16 March 1864. Deserted 26 March 1865, pledged the Oath and furnished transportation to Columbus, Ohio.
Court Martial 11 February 1863
"To be branded on the left hip with the letter 'D' three inches in length." <Apparently, his charge was desertion.>
dover-jpg.jpg


Pvt W A Hawkins, Co D, 16th NC Regt
William A Hawkins, age 28, residence Rutherford County, NC. Enlisted 1 May 1861 at Rutherford NC for 12 months. Wounded 1 June 1864 at the Battle of Cold Harbor and returned to regiment for July/Aug Company Muster Roll.
Court Martial 11 February 1863
"To forfeit six mo's pay, to be bucked and gagged two hours each day for 12 days, and to wear a barrel one time on dress parade, with the inscription 'French leave' marked thereon." <Apparently his offense was absent without leave>
hawkins-jpg.jpg


Pvts C. L. Luther, John T. Martin, and D. W. Green, Co F, 16th NC Regt.
Court Martial 10/12 February 1863

"To forfeit six months pay, to be bucked and gagged two hours each day for ten days, afterwards to carry a log of wood weighing 40 lbs. on his shoulders, three hours each day for ten days." <All three men received the same sentence>
luther-martin-green-jpg.jpg


Pvt. M A Wilson, Co F, 16th NC Regt,
And this one, discussed in a thread about Mias A Wilson, age 17, who deserted at Gettysburg during the period of his sentence. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/st...s-a-wilson-of-the-16th-north-carolina.144866/
Court Martial 6 March 1863
Sentenced. "To forfeit five months pay and to be made to march in front of a sentinel all night, every other night, of sixteen nights and do camp police duty every day during the time."

Judging by the sentence imposed on young Wilson, I am guessing he fell asleep on guard or picket duty? Since the sentence was imposed March 6, 1863, M A Wilson wasn't receiving pay at the time he deserted - probably hadn't since February and wasn't going to see his next pay until August.
m-a-wilson-jpg.jpg

Source: NARA, Record Group 109: War Department Collection of Confederate Records, 1825 - 1927, A&IGO Record of Courts Martial, 1862-1863, page 85.

I have only studied, in detail, the records of the 16th GA. There were very few Court Martials and their sentences were mostly stoppage of pay for a month or three. Perhaps the 16th GA was an atypical regiment? But I have looked at my share of Confederate records in other research, and have never seen another regiment that had so many Court Martials with such severe sentences. Has anyone else?
 
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Zella

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Thanks for posting these! Very interesting.

My research is entirely anecdotal (and is mostly focused on NC regiments), but those punishments seem really severe! (I did, however, get a get good chuckle out of "The Celebrated Forager" inscription.) @east tennessee roots might know if this is normal or not.

The punishment for "french leave" really stood out to me. I have numerous other relatives who had repeated AWOLs, and I never saw any consequences listed, except for maybe being docked pay or losing rank. Certainly no physical punishments were ever noted on their CSRs. In fact, I've seen "AWOL, expected to return" on their CSRs, which certainly seems like a fairly casual stance to take. (I suspect it's because they were going home to check on the folks when things got nasty on the homefront, and their officers were also locals and were sympathetic to that.)

Incidentally, I do have some cousins/uncles who served in the 16th, but I have not had a chance to really study them in depth since no direct line of descent.
 

lelliott19

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I have numerous other relatives who had repeated AWOLs, and I never saw any consequences listed, except for maybe being docked pay or losing rank. Certainly no physical punishments were ever noted on their CSRs. In fact, I've seen "AWOL, expected to return" on their CSRs, which certainly seems like a fairly casual stance to take. (I suspect it's because they were going home to check on the folks when things got nasty on the homefront, and their officers were also locals and were sympathetic to that.)
Hi Zella. Thanks so much for your reply. Interesting the difference in the casual treatment of "absent without leave; expected to return" vs. this kind of physical punishment. None of these men are even marked AWOL on any of the CMR's so they must've returned relatively quickly.

@57th Indiana Infantry posted some info in the other thread (where I first brought this up) about what the 16th NC was doing when and it seems that a lot of it may have been simple straggling during treks through mountainous terrain. Since you had relations in the regiment, you might enjoy reading it. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/st...-the-16th-north-carolina.144866/#post-1890378 and then a few posts down.
 
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View attachment 203526 http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31772/old/files/relative.htm#linkimage-0034
Has anyone else encountered a Confederate regiment with as many Court Martials resulting in such severe sentences as the 16th North Carolina Infantry? Certainly doesn't seem like a good way to build morale to me. :nah disagree: Amazingly, most of these men served until the end - or almost the end.

These are just some for the 16th NC in 1863....from A&IGO Record of Courts Martial, 1862-1863, Record Group 109: War Department Collection of Confederate Records, 1825 - 1927, NARA.

Pvt. Thomas Ellwood, Co M, 16th NC Regt.
Thomas Ellwood, age 18, residence Gaston NC. Enlisted 1 May 1861 at Dallas for 12 months.
Court Martial 27 January 1863
"To forfeit one months pay and to wear a barrel jacket four hours each day for 5 consecutive days with the inscription 'The Celebrated Forager' inscribed thereon." <Apparently his charge was excessive foraging?>
ellwood-jpg.jpg


Pvt. J W Suttles, Co D, 16th NC Regt.

James W Suttles, age 22, residence Rutherford County. Enlisted 1 May 1861 at Rutherford for 12 months. Promoted to Corporal January 1864. Captured 2 April 1865 at Hatcher's Run and imprisoned at Point Lookout. Released 19 June 1865.
Court Martial 9 February 1863
"To forfeit six months pay and to receive 30 Lashes on his naked back in the presence of his Regiment" <No idea what his offense was?>
suttles-jpg.jpg


Pvt. W F Dover, Co F, 16th NC Regt.

William F Dover, age 18, residence Buncombe County. Enlisted 7 May 1861 at Asheville for 12 months, Promoted to 1st Corporal 16 March 1864. Deserted 26 March 1865, pledged the Oath and furnished transportation to Columbus, Ohio.
Court Martial 11 February 1863
"To be branded on the left hip with the letter 'D' three inches in length." <Apparently, his charge was desertion.>
dover-jpg.jpg


Pvt W A Hawkins, Co D, 16th NC Regt
William A Hawkins, age 28, residence Rutherford County, NC. Enlisted 1 May 1861 at Rutherford NC for 12 months. Wounded 1 June 1864 at the Battle of Cold Harbor and returned to regiment for July/Aug Company Muster Roll.
Court Martial 11 February 1863
"To forfeit six mo's pay, to be bucked and gagged two hours each day for 12 days, and to wear a barrel one time on dress parade, with the inscription 'French leave' marked thereon." <Apparently his offense was absent without leave>
hawkins-jpg.jpg


Pvts C. L. Luther, John T. Martin, and D. W. Green, Co F, 16th NC Regt.
Court Martial 10/12 February 1863

"To forfeit six months pay, to be bucked and gagged two hours each day for ten days, afterwards to carry a log of wood weighing 40 lbs. on his shoulders, three hours each day for ten days." <All three men received the same sentence>
luther-martin-green-jpg.jpg


Pvt. M A Wilson, Co F, 16th NC Regt,
And this one, discussed in a thread about Mias A Wilson, age 17, who deserted at Gettysburg during the period of his sentence. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/st...s-a-wilson-of-the-16th-north-carolina.144866/
Court Martial 6 March 1863
Sentenced. "To forfeit five months pay and to be made to march in front of a sentinel all night, every other night, of sixteen nights and do camp police duty every day during the time."

Judging by the sentence imposed on young Wilson, I am guessing he fell asleep on guard or picket duty? Since the sentence was imposed March 6, 1863, M A Wilson wasn't receiving pay at the time he deserted - probably hadn't since February and wasn't going to see his next pay until August.
m-a-wilson-jpg.jpg

Source: NARA, Record Group 109: War Department Collection of Confederate Records, 1825 - 1927, A&IGO Record of Courts Martial, 1862-1863, page 85.

I have only studied, in detail, the records of the 16th GA. There were very few Court Martials and their sentences were mostly stoppage of pay for a month or three. Perhaps the 16th GA was an atypical regiment? But I have looked at my share of Confederate records in other research, and have never seen another regiment that had so many Court Martials with such severe sentences. Has anyone else?
On 9/5/1863 the 3rd NC Infantry executed 10 men for desertion. They had also shot and killed the commander of the troops sent to arrest them.
 

lelliott19

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On 9/5/1863 the 3rd NC Infantry executed 10 men for desertion. They had also shot and killed the commander of the troops sent to arrest them.
Well, yeah.... there's that.....seemingly more appropriate since they killed the people sent out to round them up. :nah disagree:

Most of these guys in the 16th seem to have been cases of much less serious offences?
 

Zella

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Hi Zella. Thanks so much for your reply. Interesting the difference in the casual treatment of "absent without leave; expected to return" vs. this kind of physical punishment. None of these men are even marked AWOL on any of the CMR's so they must've returned relatively quickly.

@57th Indiana Infantry posted some info in the other thread (where I first brought this up) about what the 16th NC was doing when and it seems that a lot of it may have been simple straggling during treks through mountainous terrain. Since you had relations in the regiment, you might enjoy reading it. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/st...-the-16th-north-carolina.144866/#post-1890378 and then a few posts down.
Thanks so much! I had missed that thread and am looking forward to reading it!
 

Zella

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Well this is awkward. LOL

I checked my Excel chart of Civil War ancestors--too many regiments to keep up with otherwise--and saw one of the relatives was a Lt. Col. in the 16th. He's a first cousin six times removed. @lelliott19, did you ever see a Lt. Col. Robert Love mixed up in doling out any of these crazy punishments? His brothers were also apparently in the 16th.

My only other 16th relative is from a different side of the family and was a humble private. I hope for his sake a well-behaved one!
 
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lelliott19

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Well this is awkward. LOL

I checked my Excel chart of Civil War ancestors--too many regiments to keep up with otherwise--and saw one of the relatives was a Lt. Col. in the 16th. He's a first cousin six times removed. @lelliott19, did you ever see a Lt. Col. Robert Love mixed up in doling out any of this crazy punishments?
I would think that the Colonel would have preferred charges? But maybe someone else who knows more about the rules of Courts Martial will weigh in. Let's hope Lt Col Love had nothing to do with it. :nah disagree:
My only other 16th relative is from a different side of the family and was a humble private. I hope for his sake a well-behaved one!
Me too! :D What's the name of your relative who was a Private and Ill check his file.
 

Zella

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Looking at his CSR now on Fold3, and I think he probably wasn't present. Seems like he was not re-elected as Lt. Col in 1862, so he wouldn't have been a factor for these men who got in trouble in 1863. My curiosity is piqued, though, about the rest of the family and their involvement.
 

Zella

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I would think that the Colonel would have preferred charges? But maybe someone else who knows more about the rules of Courts Martial will weigh in. Let's hope Lt Col Love had nothing to do with it. :nah disagree:


Me too! :D What's the name of your relative who was a Private and Ill check his file.
Thank you! His name was William Albert Fox.

He confuses me, truthfully. The rest of his family (several brothers) all served in the 58th. Not sure why he was the non-conformist and joined a different regiment!
 

lelliott19

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Thank you! His name was William Albert Fox.

He confuses me, truthfully. The rest of his family (several brothers) all served in the 58th. Not sure why he was the non-conformist and joined a different regiment!
Sure enough......he was Court Martialled too! CMR for Jan/Feb 1863 note "absent without leave from 18 of Feby '63"
Wm A Fox Court Martial.JPG
 

Zella

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Sure enough......he was Court Martialled too!
View attachment 203529
Very interesting! Is there any info for what he got in trouble for?

Ah I see what you said about the AWOL listing. That makes sense. Does seem like he was allowed to come back? I was just looking at his CSR, and he is listed as wounded the following year.

Wow--I might have to get to the 16th NC a lot quicker in my genealogical research than I had anticipated. Thank you so much, @lelliott19!
 

Zella

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Interestingly enough, I'm pretty sure William's brothers were the ones with the "Absent without Leave, expected back" notations in their 58th NC CSRs. Wonder if he ever regretted signing up with a different outfit!
 

lelliott19

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Interestingly enough, I'm pretty sure William's brothers were the ones with the "Absent without Leave, expected back" notations in their 58th NC CSRs. Wonder if he ever regretted signing up with a different outfit!
I'm looking - trying to locate the record of his sentence for you. It may take a while. The books are in chronological order of the date of the trial, not the date charges were preferred. https://catalog.archives.gov/id/7349263
 

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Geesh! I'm with you @lelliott19 , men serving, giving up home, family, jobs and risking their lives only to be tormented as a result? ' French Leave ' could have been anything- not desertion, but some officer's idea of where a soldier should have been at a given time. It just means kinda playing hooky although given how singular this regiment's treatment was, who knows if it was even true? Note there's nothing about being on guard duty, or picket, and not being there. Heck, probably be shot for that.

How are men supposed to fight for anything when fighting to survive themselves? Amazed Milas made it to Gettysburg. You just know that boy became the kind of man who never allowed anything to bother him, ever. Probably Gettysburg's most even tempered, kindest citizen.
 

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