Thursday, January 10, 2008

Captain Henry Wirz: ruthless villain of Andersonville, or innocent pawn? (part 3 of 5)

[Part 3 of 5 in a series of documents that suggest Wirz's innocence]

The following letter is from the Rev. Father F. E. Boyle, of Washington:

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 10, 1880


"DEAR SIR : . . . I know that, on the evening before the day of the execution of Major Wirz, a man visited me, on the part of a Cabinet officer, to inform me that Major Wirz would be pardoned if he would implicate Jefferson Davis in the cruelties of Andersonville. No names were given by this messenger, and, upon my refusal to take any action in the matter, he went to Mr. Louis Schade, counsel for Major Wirz, with the same purpose and with a like result.

When I visited Major Wirz the next morning, he told me that the same proposal had been made to him, and had been rejected with scorn. The Major was very indignant, and said that, while he was innocent of the cruel charges for which he was about to suffer death, he would not purchase his liberty by perjury and a crime, such as was made the condition of his freedom. I attended the Major to the scaffold, and he died in the peace of God, and praying for his enemies. I know he was indeed innocent of all the cruel charges on which his life was sworn away, and I was edified by the Christian spirit in which he submitted to his persecuters."

Yours very truly,


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