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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 1864- "By the corruption and faithlessness of a sentinel"

Dispatch received from General Wistar:
                                                                              FORT MAGRUDER, February 5, 1864.
Major-General BUTLER: Private William Boyle, New York Mounted Rifles, under sentence of death for murder of Lieutenant Disosway, was allowed to escape by Private Abraham, of One hundred and thirty-ninth New York, the sentinel over him, four days previous to my movement. It is said he also told him that large numbers of cavalry and infantry were concentrated here to take Richmond. During my absence the commander here has learned that Boyle reached Richmond, and was arrested and placed in Castle Thunder. Boyle would have been hung long ago but for the President's order suspending till further orders the execution of capital sentences. Abrams is in close custody. Charges against him went forward a week ago.
                                                                                              I. J. WISTAR,
                                                                                         Brigadier-General.
                       
                                                                               BENJ. F. BUTLER,
                                                                  Major- General, Commanding.





                        HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
                                                                           Fort Monroe, February 12, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to forward to you with commendation the report of Brigadier-General Wistar of his brilliantly and  ably executed movement upon Richmond, which failed only from one of those fortuitous circumstances against which no foresight can provide and no execution can overcome.
By the corruption and faithlessness of a sentinel, who is now being tried for the offense, a man condemned to death, but reprieved by the President, was allowed to escape within the enemy's lines, and there gave them such information as enabled them to meet our advance. This fact is acknowledged in two of the Richmond papers, the Examiner and the Sentinel, published the day after the attack, and is fully confirmed by the testimony before the court-martial, before which is being tried the man who permitted the escape. I beg leave to call your attention to the suggestion of General Wistar in his report, that the effect of the raid will be to hereafter keep as many troops around Richmond for its defense from any future movement of the Army of the Potomac as we have in this neighborhood.
    I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
                                                                       BENJ. F. BUTLER,
                                                           Major-General, Commanding.

Major-General HALLECK,
    Commanding the Army

- The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.; Series 1 Volume 33



Much more to follow on the case of Disosway and Boyle . . . 


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