• Mutinous Soldiers of Col. Pierson Tried, Dishonorably Discharged; Innocent Soldiers Threatened with Violence; Van Tuyl Asks They be Spared

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    COL. FRED PIERSON (later General) helped organize the 1st New York Infantry Regiment. He led the first in actions at the Seven Days Battles, Manassas and the Battle of Fredericksburg.

     

    PIERSON was badly wounded in the Battle of Glendale and was also shot through the chest at Chancellorsville. After returning to duty he was captured by the Confederates and confined in Libby Prison. At the end of the war, he was made a Brigadier General for gallant and meritorious service.

     

    At the end of 1863, his regiment was involved in a mutiny by a company of the 1st NY. The men refused to do duty on the grounds that their terms had expired. Dissatisfaction spread and almost all the companies commanded by Pierson laid down their arms and refused to do duty.

     

    GENERAL BIRNEY ordered the arrest of the ringleaders, stripped the men of their arms and confined them to their quarters. The men were allowed only bread and water for 24 hours. Later, some of the men showed a desire to return to duty and their arms were returned and their duty restored.

    ENEMZER VAN TUYL enrolled at Fort Monroe, VA, to serve there and mustered in as Captain, Co. G, in December 1861.  He was wounded and captured in action on May 2, 1863, at Chancellorsville, VA and paroled on May 13, 1863.

    Very fine pairing of General Orders No. 44 with the court martial charges and an ALS from Capt. Van Tuyl to Gen. Pierson seeking to absolve a group of innocent soldiers from the charges.

    3 pp, 8” x 12 ½”, Headquarters 1st Div., 3rd Corps, Camp Sickles, April 24th , 1863, General Orders No. 44.

    “Before a General Court Martial of which Col. A.A. McKnight-105th Regt. Penn. Vols. is president convened at the Headquarters of the 1st Division 3rd Corps pursuant to Special Orders No. 92 dated April 22nd 1863 from these Headquarters were arraigned and tried the following prisoners.

    “Private Thomas Nolan of Co. “F” 1st Regt New York Vols on the following charge and specification.

    “Charge Mutiny

    “Specification.  In this, that Private Thomas Nolan…when ordered by his commanding officers 2nd Lieut. John S. Brush of Co. “F” 1st Regt New York Vols and Col. J. Fred. Pierson commanding the Regiment to fall in for drill absolutely refused and again when ordered by Col. J. Fred Pierson personally to fall in for drill did again refuse asserting that his term of service had expired and that he would perform no further military duty.

    “All this at Camp Sickles, VA on the 22nd of April 1863.

    “To which… the prisoner pleaded as follows…Not Guilty.

    “After…deliberations…the Court does find the prisoner…Guilty and the Court does therefore sentence Private Thomas Nolan…to forfeit all pay, allowances and bounties…and to serve two years of hard labor at such place as the proper authorities shall determine.

    “Private Thomas Fahey…on the following charge and specification.

    “Charge Mutiny

    “Specification. In this, that Private Thomas Fahey…when ordered by his commanding officer 2nd Lieut. John S. Brush and Colonel J. Fred Pierson…to fall in for drill absolutely refused and when again ordered by Colonel J. Fred Pierson personally to fall in for drill, did again refuse, asserting that his term of service had expired and that he would perform no further military duty…

    “To which …the prisoner pleaded as follows…Not Guilty.

    “After…deliberations…the Court does find the prisoner…Guilty and the Court does therefore sentence Private Thomas Fahey…to forfeit all pay, allowances and bounties…and to serve two years at hard labor at such place as the proper authorities shall determine…

    “In consideration of the recommendation of a portion of the Court…that their term of service had expired on the 22nd day of April by their company officers, the sentence is mitigated so as to read ‘to forfeit all pay, allowances and bounties that are now due them or that may become due them and to be dishonorably discharged…

    “By command of Brig. Genl Birney…”

    One page 8” x 12 ½”, ALS from Capt. Tuyl to Col. Pierson, 1st Regt NY Vols. April 25th 1863.

    “The following enlisted men of my Co. (“G”) have refused from the outset to join in or countenance any of the late mutinous demonstrations. At one time after the Regt had stacked its arms and refused to do duty…a committee of the mutinous waited on them and gave them the alternative of stacking their arms and joining the movement in half an hour, or, they would be violently attacked by the mutinous, their quarters destroyed and themselves treated with personal violence if not the extreme consequence of death at the hands of a drunken mob. In spite of all this, they nobly stood to their duty and flatly refused in any way to countenance the mutiny, condemned it and did all in their power to prevent it.

    “I now beg to ask whether this highly praise worthy conduct on their part, cannot, ought not to be made subservient to their discharge with the Regt on the expiration of its term, a consummation which they have had so much reason to expect. [The names of 18 soldiers are listed.]

    “Respectfully your  obd Servt E. Van Tuyl, Capt. Co. G.”

    Nice docketing on verso.

    Both documents have folds, even toning, light soiling. A couple of fold tears reinforced on court martial order. Else very good condition, very readable and a wonderful pairing of Civil War documents dealing with several Civil War notables including,  Gen. Pierson, Capt. Van Tuyl.

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