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19458 CSA General Joseph Johnston Order Death By Hanging
the Day Before Lee’s Surrender
 Folio, 4pp, fine condition.
“Headquarters, near Smithfield, N. C. April 8, 1865” sent to
Major General D. H. Hill. The orders confirm the sentences of a
court martial which convicted 7 Confederate privates of various
charges.  All the soldiers were convicted of desertion, and
additionally one was charged with giving intelligence to the
enemy, and one for robbery.  Pvt. Joshua Orr was charged with
desertion and sentenced to “be hanged by the neck with a rope
between the heavens and the earth till he is dead.” Pvt.
Nathaniel Anderson was charged with three counts of desertion,
and sentenced to be “shot to death with musketry at such a time
and place as may be designated…”  All the other privates were
also sentenced to be shot.
Signed by Asst. Adj. Gen. J. W. Ratchford by order of General
Joseph E. Johnston.  A remarkable document and date.
Johnston’s army was presently in North Carolina and preparing
to fight Sherman.  The sentences were to be carried out on “the
second Friday following receipt of this order.” Whether the
sentences were ever carried out is unclear, given General Lee’s
surrender.  $550