Orrin L. Pierce to Richard Yates


Orrin L. Pierce to Richard Yates


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Alton Military Prison

Illinois Dec. 12th 1864

To His Excellency Richard Yates

Governor State of Illinois

I am constrained, as a soldier of the

State of Illinois; to appeal to you for an investigation of my

case, as I am falsely accused of the Charges, that were preferr

ed against me, in regard to a certain woman; I will give your

Excellency a full, and concise statement, of the proceedings of

the Court Martial, as far as was observant to me; also the Evedence

on both sides, impartially.

I was arrested in the morning of the 26th February, 1864

in camp, near Paint Rock bridge, Alabama, and taken to

the Guard House, where I remained untill the 3rd of March

at which time I was brought before the Provost Marshall

the woman being present, who accused me (Mrs Mary J Fry,

alias, Margret Fry) who made affidavit, to this effect; that

I went to her house the night of the 20th of Feby and, threatened

to break down her door, if she did not open it; that she opened

the door; and that I took her by the throat, and threw her

on the bed, and that she kicked, and got away from me,

and that I then went off saying, that she would suffer for

not complying with my wishes; and that if I was not the

man, that came there, I resembled him very much; but

that she was not sure, whether I was the man, or not.

After this examination at the Provost's Office I was reta

ken back to the Guard House, where I remained without

knowing anything in regard to the issue of the above,

untill the 15th of March when I recieved a Copy of Charges,

to wit:

Charge 1st Conduct prejudice to good order, and Military


Specification 1st the same as sworn in the P Marshal's

Office on the 3rd of March, by Mrs Mary J Fry.

Charge 2cd Absent without Leave - prejudicial to Military

dicipline and good Order

Specification 1st In this that the Private Orrin L. Pierce

did absent himself from Camp, without leave from his Com'g

Officer, Capt James G. Everts on the night of the 20th of Feby '64

or morning of the 21st.

On the 16th of March I was brought up for trial but they

had no witnefses against me, and was returned to the Guard House

untill the 12th of April, when I was brought up again for trial,

the witnefses for the prosecution, being present.

Mary J. Fry being sworn, testified to the same as in the Provost

Marshal's Office, with this exception, that it was on the night of

the 13th of Feb, instead of the 20th, and that I did not throw

her on the bed, but put my hand on her mouth; and that

this happened one hour before daylight, at her house.

Mrs Sarah Gleason was next sworn, whose testimony was

as follows; That she knew me, and my company, and Regt; and

that she seen me twice on the night that Mrs Fry said I was

at her house, (Fry's) that she thought it was on the night of the

13th; Crofs-examined That I was not in her house, (Gleasons) but

saw me about one hundred yards from it, at the edge of the woods

the first time, 9 O'Clock, the 2nd one hour before daylight; Did

not ever hear me mention Mrs Fry's Name; nor did not know

of me going to her house; untill Mrs Fry told her (Gleason)

of me going there on the night of the 13th. "Mrs Fry's house

is half mile distant from mine" (Gleason's) "Did not see him

the accused go to her house on the night; but Mrs Fry

told me he (Pierce) was there".

Mifs Mary Hynd was next sworn, and, who testified that I

went to her house the night Mrs Fry said, I went to hers

think it was on the night of the 20th Feb; and left her house

(Hynd's) at 10 O'Clock in a canoe, with another soldier for Camp, and

that we could not get to Mrs Fry's house, the river being so high

Did not know of Mrs Fry having a character, but knew that

if a man asked her to sit down; she would lay down; (here

the President of the Court, objected to her character being provin)

I (Hynd) have seen the accused (Pierce) several times; and I have

never heard him utter a word, or even make an action unbecoming

a soldier, and a gentleman.

The next two witnesses were Perry Atchlie, and his wife; whom

swore, that I came to his (Atchlie's) house, on the night of the 20th

of Feb (or at least the night it is alledged by Mrs Fry that he

(accused) was at hers,) at five or six hours before daylight, and staid

untill after daylight, as they (accused & another soldier) said they

did not like to go through the pickets; they came up the river

in a canoe from Hynd's, and, by they way the came they could

not get to Mrs Fry's house; that she (Fry) did not have

a good character & c -

The Evedence on the 2nd charge is as follows Capt James G. Evert

sworn, testified that I was absent from Camp, on the night of

the 20th of Feb, without leave from him; my Com'g Officer.

Crofs examined, was sure I was absent on that night from

camp; there was no roll call for three months - Did not know

that I was absent, but the the Orderly Sergt told him I was

Absent, and, some one that seen me leave Camp told him.

That my name was not all the roll book, being on detached

duty, as Corporal of the Regimental color guard.

Before I was tried, I had gave a list of witnefses

to the Judge Advocate, which he never furnished on trial

He also objected to me having the Major of my Regt; for

being my counsel. I asked the President of the court, if he

called this a court of justice he answered in the negative, that

it was a court of example. I empeached Mrs Fry's Evedence

on the grounds of her being a prostitute, but it was rejected

as also were my witnefses, from giving her character in full.

I was never at Mrs Fry's house, nor never knew her by

name, untill I seen her at the Provost Marshal's Office

I donot deny being away from camp on the night of

the 20th of Feb; but I deny being from camp without

leave, I being away from the company; and having a general

pafs at will untill further orders signed by the Col of the

Reg't, and I presented my pafs & detail on trial, but

the court did not reply to it.

On the 26th of April an Order came to me, from Brig Gen'l

Osterhouse to be released, and returned to my Regt, my

trial being over fourteen days. I reported to my Regt;

which was distant thirty six miles from the Guard House,

I was rearrested again, and sent back to Huntsville

from thence here.

I refer you to any of the Officers of my Regt, for my

conduct as a soldier; I have never been under arrest prior

to this; but have always done my duty faithfully, and

to the best of my ability, and shall always endeavor to do the

same if I am premitted the opportunity. Trusting your

Excellency will give my case your earnest consideration,

I am with High Respect & c

Your Obedt Serv't

Orrin L. Pierce Corp'l

[illegible] 13th Inf Regt Ills. Vols

Sworn to and Subscribed

before me this 11th day of

Dec. 1864

James F. Cooper

Lieut and Asst

Prison Inspector



Percent Completed




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“Orrin L. Pierce to Richard Yates,” Chronicling Illinois, accessed January 24, 2021, http://alplm-cdi.com/chroniclingillinois/items/show/19044.