2021-10 Raynors HCA Live
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 10/15/2021
A striking eye-witness account of the execution of Rebel spy, Joseph Smith, a farmer who lived "within four miles" of Carthage, Tennessee. Smith briefly served in the Confederate army earlier in the war. But after returning home he immediately started spying for the Confederacy. Besides gathering and disclosing critical Union military information to the Confederacy he was charged being involved in several murders of Union POWs captured in the region. Dressed as Rebel soldiers Union scouts tricked Smith into revealing his true allegiance. Conviction by a military court martial followed with Union commander William Rosecrans ordering Smith to be hanged at a joint public/military style execution. At three o'clock on the afternoon of May 12, 1863 the gruesome act was carried out at Carthage, Tennessee. His body swung in the air for over ten minutes before he was pronounced dead and cut down and placed in a coffin. Then regional commander of Union forces, Col. William B. Stokes of the 5th Tennessee (Union) Cavalry, ordered that the body be sent back to his wife and children for burial. Many Union soldiers who witnessed the execution recalled the event in letters home. This account comes was written by Pvt. John Bennett, Co. I, 89th Ohio Vols., 4pp. 8vo., Carthage, Tenn., May 16, 1863, reading, in part: "-all is quite here except a rumor circulating that our brigade is ordered back to Virginia-news from Virginia is not very encouraging, but we have become accustomed to defeat & don't look for anything else from that quarter-last Tuesday [May 12, 1863] I witnessed the execution of a rebel spy [Joseph Smith] upon the gallows. He was caught on the other side of the river by a Kentuckian disguised in Butternut uniform. Taking the Kentuckian for a friend he disclosed his true character giving him a complete list of our forces & position of our fortifications. Probably he deserved hanging but I desire not to witness such scenes very often-Your friend, John Bennett. One thing I forgot to mention. Col. [Joseph D.] Hatfield after promotion from major became very cross & overbearing. Got to swearing & cursing his men a great deal. He is now under arrest & his trial in progress. The charges against him are incompetency & using profane language toward his officers. Another is said to be uttering-". Expected spotting and toning, else VG.
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Rebel Spy Joseph Smith Is Executed At Carthage, Tennessee in 1863

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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $250.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $875.00
Estimate: $500 - $750
Auction closed on Saturday, October 16, 2021.
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