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Letter From W. T. Sherman to J. B. Hood about W. C. Glover's death sentence. September 21, 1864.

In the Field, Atlanta, Ga., September 21, 1864.

General J. B. Hood, Commanding Confederate Forces:
GENERAL: Yours of the 20th instant, asking me to treat as a prisoner of war W. C. Glover, Company H, Fourth Tennessee Cavalry, employed as a scout by your authority, and who is said to have been captured by me, and is about to be executed as a spy or bushwhacker.

I confess that I know nothing about the matter at all, but I will at once proceed to find out the facts and communicate them to you as early as possible, but I can relieve any undue anxiety on the part of the friends of Glover in assuring them that no one can be executed by us without a full and fair record trial, by a sworn tribunal at which the prisoner is always allowed to have his witnesses and counsel.

Since you left our service some few changes have been made in the laws of Congress and in the powers of reviewing officers of courts-martial.

The act of April 10, 1806, defining spies and their punishment, is materially modified by that of February 13, 1862. Also by an act of Congress approved December 24, 1861, the commanding general of a division, a separate (detached) brigade, can assemble a court-martial (general), but in case of the sentence of death the case must be reviewed and the necessary order given by the officer commanding the army in the field or department to which the division or brigade belongs.

General George H. Thomas commands the department in which Chattanooga lies and has the review of all such cases, and you must know that he would never order the execution of an innocent man.

I have no doubt that a scout regularly detailed may push his operations so as to make him a spy. If found looking around the fortifications, encampments, posts, quarters, or headquarters of the armies of the United States, or any of them, he would clearly fall within the meaning of the laws and be liable to the penalty of death.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,


SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 7, pg. 852

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