“We have no right to shoot them:” Military executions in the Union Army
History and Philosophy
Examines the history of and rationale behind the Union Army's public executions of its own soldiers during the Civil War. Records indicate the death penalty was exacted 276 times. Although in most cases commanders used the occasion to dissuade other soldiers from deserting, falling asleep on sentry duty, and other serious violations of regulations, letters, diaries, and other documents indicate that many, if not most, sympathized with the victim, opposed the process, or were so inured by the thought of death, they were left unimpressed by the spectacle.
Ramold, S. J. (2008). “We have no right to shoot them:” Military executions in the Union Army. Journal of America’s Military Past, 3(3), 42–66.