[Among the Illustrations of the civil war in America]The Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1126, p. 40.
January 11, 1862
Among the Illustrations of the civil war in America which, by means of our Special Artist in the Federal camp on the Potomac, we have been enabled to give in this Journal, some have been devoted to showing the queer punishments to which the rowdies of the camp are subjected; and our Number for the 28th of December last contained an Engraving of the drumming a loafing scamp out of the Federal army. These, however, are common incidents in camp life. The provost-marshal of the Alexandrian division has had to carry out a severer sentence. On Dec. 13 a private in the Lincoln Cavalry, named Johnson, was executed at Fairfax Seminary, near Washington, for desertion. The execution took place before a large body of troops. As the procession passed along, the doomed man was seated in a waggon, and by his side was a Roman Catholic priest, who was giving to him the last ministration of religion. He held open a prayer-book before the prisoner, who, with his head bowed down, was attentively reciting a prayer. When he had arrived at the place of execution he alighted from the waggon and seated himself on the coffin. Twelve men, detailed to execute the sentence, took their position about six paces in front. He addressed a few words to them, stating that as fellow-soldiers he hoped they would forgive him for having committed the offence he had, and that they would not do as he had done. A few parting words were given to his spiritual adviser and three or four officers, after which he prepared himself to have the sentence executed. He was seated on his coffin when the word was given to fire. Eight balls pierced various parts of his body, but as he only showed a slight tremor the reserve was ordered to fire, and four other shots were fired, one of which entered his eye, and another his mouth, and he fell dead.