Yes, those were all punishments of the Military Justice System, again depending on the severity of the crime or complaint alleged and proven in a Military Court of Justice (brigade commander presiding). Officers were typically treated differently than the standard rank and file soldier, as they were looked upon as being "Gentlemen" first and foremost and every courtesy was taken to allow them their dignity. Some officers were allowed to just resign their commissions and relinquish their commands to the next highest ranking officer and simply go home. This happened to the first Regiment Commander of the 2nd Alabama Cavalry, Colonel Fountain Winston Hunter, who was dismissed as Commander of the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment after being charged with; “Conduct and Language unbecoming of an Officer and a Gentleman.” Colonel Hunter was placed on trial from April 2-4, 1863, while they were operating near Pensacola, Fl. and found guilty of said Charges, resulting in him being disciplined by due process of a Field Grade Military Court Marshal. He was removed as regiment commander, but was allowed to resign his commission and return home which he did. His crime was being commonly found drunk and disorderly while arguing and fighting with his men in a drunken stupor. Sometimes if either the regiment or brigade commander noticed that any officer was of poor quality and was not up to the standard to lead, that officer would be removed from command and given the option to resign his commission and return home or be reassigned. There were several regiment commanders that I know of who lost their commands due to unsatisfactory performances on the field of battle.Firing squad, lashing, bucking and many corporal punishments were also used.
Thanks, 2nd Alabama Cavalry! That's a great detailed answer I was looking for. What are your thoughts on the following? A northern newspaper runs a story containing the statement that a certain Confederate Colonel in Tennessee (Knoxville) "had been suspended for six months for crime and drunkenness." Could this colonel have, over a two day period, paid the Ordnance Officer and received a saddle, bridle, halter, haversack, 100 navy pistol cartridges, 100 caps, a shoulder strap, and navy holster, while he was under suspension? The colonel's receipts are found in his compiled service record.Most men in a specific regiment fell under the authority of the brigade commander and the brigade provost marshal and provost guards who were chosen and assigned the duty to enforce the laws and regulations. Akin to our Military Police today. If a complaint were made against someone of the rank and file or against one of the officers, then the brigade commander would issue orders to the provost marshal to arrest that person, if the crime or complaint were serious enough. That person would then be placed in the guard shack (makeshift jail) under armed guard until his hearing or court martial came before the brigade commander and provost marshal, who would hear and oversee the trial and then make a decision as to guilt or innocence. Then a verdict and sentence would be issued by the brigade commander if found guilty. Which could vary between losing rank or privileges and given an extra detail as punishment... to being hung depending on the severity of the crime or complaint filed or levied. Typically spying or treason resulted in a hanging where as insubordination, disorderly conduct or some other low-level complaint resulted in a loss of rank and privileges or being placed on extra detail in the rank and file, or the loss of command regarding officers. Typically when an officer was accused of some type of dereliction of duty or crime he would be temporarily suspended of his command and placed under arrest, if the charges were serious enough and were taken seriously, until he was either cleared and reinstated or found guilty and be further reprimanded. Every brigade had an appointed provost marshal and guards which were in charge and left to administer the sentence when given, to include public hangings if that specific sentence was issued. If a crime or complaint was filed against the brigade commander himself, then the matter would be taken up at the division level or corps level beyond that. Any Prisoners of War taken by a regiment or brigade would also be placed under armed guard of the brigade provost marshal and provost guards.
Thanks a bunch, 2nd Alabama Cavalry! That particular colonel was Lawrence M. Allen, 64th NC Infantry, who was involved in the "Shelton Laruel Massacre." Many things have been told and written about that event that have been documented as fact, but on the other hand, things have been written that are just not true. The newspaper I mentioned was the New York Times. That article contains many errors, and I think the "suspension for crime and drunkenness" part is one of them.Anything is possible... as the Colonel, even though suspended and temporarily relieved of his command, still may have had loyalty among his men. It sounds like he was found guilty of committing a low-level offense, most likely the same as I made reference to above regarding Col. Fountain Winston Hunter of the 2nd Alabama Cavalry Regiment. If it were thought that he would resume his command at some point then most Jr. officers and the rank and file soldiers would have made sure to stay on his good side while he was suspended. If he was a Colonel, he was most likely a regiment commander, however it is possible that he could have also been a brigade commander but less likely. Since he kept his rank and was only suspended or temporarily removed from his command, then the charges were not that serious, most likely "conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman," revolving around his abuse of alcohol.
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