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Lot Number: 195
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1864-Dated President Lincoln Commutes the Death Sentences for Two Soldiers Civil War “General Orders, No. 180”

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April 25, 1864-Dated Civil War, Scarce Content “General Order No. 180.”, where President Abraham Lincoln Commutes Death Sentences for 2 Soldiers, Very Fine.

Original Civil War “General Orders, No. 180.”, Printed from the War Department, Adjutant General's Office, Washington DC, April 25, 1865, measuring 5” x 7.5”, 8 pages, giving the details of 4 Court Martial trials held in Tennessee (at McMinnville, Decherd and Chattanooga) in Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. 1863. Light damp staining and smudge at the top of the pages.

In two of the trials, the soldiers were sentenced, "to be shot to death" and "to suffer death by shooting". One, Private George W. Snyder, Co. D, 99th Ohio Infantry, was found guilty of striking his superior officer when ordered to get back in line after straggling on the march from Woodbury, Tenn. to McMinnville, Tenn. The other, Private Henry Stackhorn, Co. D, 1st Ohio Artillery, was found guilty of striking his superior officer. Since these were death sentences, the proceedings were sent to President Lincoln, who granted executive clemency and directed:

"... that the sentence in each case be commuted, To confinement at hard labor in a military prison for the remainder of his term of enlistment, and that he forfeit all pay and allowances now due or that hereafter may become due him."

The other two cases involved, first, a Chaplain of the 78th PA Infantry, found guilty of being absent without leave, and sentenced to be dismissed from the the service of the United States. President Lincoln ordered that the sentence be remitted and the Chaplain released from arrest and restored to duty.

The other case involved Private William C. Conklin, Co. H, 10th Ohio Volunteers found guilty of stealing money from the pocket of his Lt. and from "the black boy Henry, colored servant of Capt. Thomas J. Kelly of the 10th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was sentenced to forfeit all pay and "to be drummed out of the camp of the 10th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry with the word, 'Thief' placed, in large letters, upon his back, and afterwards be imprisoned in the Penitentiary at hard labor for the period of three years.

President Lincoln approved this sentence and "directs that it be duly executed". Obviously Lincoln had no sympathy for a pickpocket thief. The sentence of death in this case is hereby commuted to imprisonment for during the war, in one of the military prisons to be designated by the Secretary of War. With, “A. LINCOLN”. Pen notation at the bottom left corner of the first page: "Rec'd June 5/ 64".
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Lot Number: 195
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