Posthumous punishment–an oddity

From John Hennessy:

Going through some Rhode Island newspapers tonight, I came across this, written from the camps on the Rappahannock near what is today Remington in November 1863. The letter, from a man in the 2d RI (a regiment that had some excellent soldier correspondents among its number, second perhaps only to some of the Rochester NY regiments), offered up some chatty observations about discipline in the army, taking the reader on a virtual tour of the guard house and describing the typical punishments we know well from the historical record. But passing beyond the guard house, he described unusual–the only posthumous humiliation I have ever seen recorded. He wrote:

Near by is a grave fresh dug and rounded up, with a head sticking out at one end. At his head stood a board prepared and marked in large letters:

Here Lies the body of GEORGE MARS, who fell DEAD (DRUNK) Nov. 17th, 1863.

Doubtless the good friends at home would think this severe, but it is deemed necessary for the discipline of the army, by military commanders at least.

The article appears in the November 23 issue of the Providence Evening Press.

2 thoughts on “Posthumous punishment–an oddity

  1. What makes you think he was dead? With head sticking out the ‘grave’ necessarily must have been shallow. I suspect he was passed out and his fellows (or officers) decided to make an example of him and covered him up (al la being buried in the sand at the beach) to await his “resurection.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s