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June 20, 1864. Petersburg, Virginia (vicinity) "The execution of Sergeant William Johnson, Negro soldier, at Jordan's farm. Hanged for Desertion and an Attempt to Outrage the Person of a Young Lady at the New-Kent Courthouse." (Supposedly he insulted a white woman and was made an example of to other soldiers who might be considering desertion; the outcome was not what the Federal Army had hoped for.) Wet plate glass negative by Timothy H. O'Sullivan. View full size.
ca. 1861-65, “The Deserters Fate”, [Civil War-era carte de visite portrait of a Union soldier, killed for desertion, with a firing squad looming behind] Robert I. Alotta’s Civil War Justice-Union Army Executions under Lincoln (1989), cites 276 military executions during the Civil War, 186 by firing squad and 90 by hanging. Multiple desertion was the leading cause with 147 soldiers formally executed in the name of deterrence. via Cowan’s Auctions
Cathay Williams was born in 1844, in Independence Missouri. She was the first African American female to enlist, serving in the United States Army under the pseudonym William Cathay. Williams was one of the Buffalo Soldiers for three years, passing herself off as a man to all but her cousin and a friend, both of whom were fellow soldiers in her regiment. Williams lived through smallpox, and several other illnesses and hospital visits without her true identity being discovered. Only until she had