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. 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?>
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?>
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.>
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>
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>
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/story-of-the-bayly-family-and-private-mias-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.
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?