Tuesday, March 11, 2014

February 6, 1864 (Saturday): A Hanging In Missouri

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO., February 6, 1864.
General FISK,
While I think the hanging of Bolin just, I still regret that it was done by violence, without trial. Your telegram to me will be misunderstood as winking at it. I apprehend further violence. I will be obliged if you will give me a reprimand or a hint to allow no more violence, so I may the better be able to restrain my men.

      J. B. ROGERS,
     Colonel, Commanding.

Saint Louis, February 6, 1864.
Colonel J. B. ROGERS,
Cape Girardeau:
I much regret that you failed to restrain you men from the unlawful proceedings resulting in the hanging of Bolin. Such acts of violence demoralize both soldiers and citizens. Take prompt and decisive steps to restrain further violence toward the prisoners yet in custody. I would prefer that no such villains be taken prisoners, but after they have been captured and imprisoned within our lines, law and order and the well-being of the community imperatively demand that they receive a proper trial and be punished for their crimes in the manner prescribed by law.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 34, Part 2, Page 254.

The Bolin gang had terrorized civilians in Missouri throughout the war.  The leader of the gang, Alf Bolin, had been stabbed to death after being lured into a trap by civilians.  John Bolin, mentioned here, was pulled out of a jail cell by soldiers and civilians and hung.  Rogers military background made him frown on such disregard for regulations, even if he did understand the reasons behind it.   

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