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16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Where was the regiment on
Sunday, September 21, 1862

On this day and before the treacherous journey to Ohio began, military justice was carried out. A soldier from the 3rd Kentucky Volunteers was executed by firing squad for murdering a fellow soldier the night before. As told by Pvt. Frank H. Mason, Company A, 42nd Ohio Volunteers:

A private named [Lewis] Stivers had the evening before [September 20], while intoxicated, quarreled with a comrade [Pvt. James Cundiff], and shot him with his musket. A Court Martial was convened at nine the next morning [September 21]; at ten the murderer was sentenced to be shot at five in the afternoon. The Division was to start at six in the evening, and at the hour appointed for the execution, De Courcy's Brigade, on drill as usual, formed the sides of a hollow square. Just outside the center of the enclosed space was a shallow grave, and to this there came a detachment with the prisoner, followed by an open farm wagon, containing a plain wooden box rudely stained with lampblack. This was placed beside the grave, the death warrant read, and the eyes of the prisoner blindfolded with his handkerchief. He then knelt upon his coffin; the firing squad - a detail of twelve men from the Sixteenth and Forty-Second Ohio took their places, and the Lieutenant in command [Lt. William M. Ross, Company G, 16th OVI] drew his sword.

Ready! - the twelve rifles were raised and cocked;

Aim! - they were leveled;


There was a report as from one musket, and the poor fellow, pierced through the breast and neck by every bullet, sprang into the air and fell dead! The band struck up a march, the regiments filed past the open grave, and the Brigade, without halting, took the road toward the North as rear guard of the Division.

* Italicized text, above, taken from The Forty-Second Ohio Infantry - A History of the Organization and Services of That Regiment In the War of the Rebellion, 1876 - F. H. Mason, late Private of Company A - Cobb, Andrews & Co., Publishers

Different accounts of September 21, 1862, by 16th OVI soldiers indicate DeCourcey's brigade may not have left their Manchester camp until about midnight. This would agree with other accounts and align with DeCourcey's brigade following Morgan's main force and acting as the rear guard. Pvt. William Reed states the roads were very rough as they began their march at midnight.

Pvt. Newt Gorsuch of Company B tells us the bridge over the river at Manchester was burned as the troops left the city.

* Information and quotations from Civil War Diaries and Selected Letters of Robert Newton Gorsuch, recently published in book form by Newt Gorsuch's great grandson, Everett Gorsuch Smith, Jr. The book is available for purchase from various Internet sources.

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