This week in 1865

February 26th, 2015 by admin

On the way to the gallows:
“How beautiful the sunlight is! I never knew what its splendor was till now, when I look upon it for the last time.”

— John Yates Beall, convicted of espionage, hanging, New York.
Executed February 24, 1865

In September 1864, Beall, a well-educated Acting Master of the Confederate navy, led a raid on the Great Lakes, in part to free rebel prisoners held at Johnson’s Island on Lake Erie. He and several other men boarded the steamer Philo Parsons, “took possession of the steamer, threw overboard part of the freight, and robbed the clerk of the money in his charge, putting all on board under duress.” Beall was branded a pirate and was hanged for spying and violations of the laws of war. He protested his innocence until his death.

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