Richmond Dispatch, 7/22/1862

Home
Written Accounts
Photographs
Maps
Hospitals
Prisons
Other Sites
Events
Search
Links

Back • Next

 

From the Richmond Dispatch, 7/22/1862, p. 1, c. 6

Murder of a Soldier by a Self-Constituted member of the Provost Guard. A private soldier, named James M. Armour, belonging to company A. 29th Georgia regiment, was carried to the City Hall yesterday, and arraigned before the Head of Police on the charge of having, about 4 o'clock on Saturday, deliberately murdered Edward Dunn, a member of Whittington's Artillery, by shooting him through the body, after assuming, of his own motion, to take upon himself to discharge the duties of the Provost guard in arresting deceased. The evidence given before the Coroner's jury on Sunday, will show that it was a causeless and brutal murder. The same evidence was repeated substantially yesterday before the Head of Police. The only additional facts shown were, that the deceased was endeavoring to get out of his pocket his permit of absence at the time, when, under the pretence that he was laying hold of a pistol, he was so unceremoniously sent out of the world; that the party who gave him authority to act as a Provost guard had none to confer, and lastly, that the ball that killed Dunn; after passing through his body, came within an ace of killing another person. The sitting magistrate said that, in his opinion, the deed was a deliberate murder, and that though he could not conjecture what would be the result of his action, he should commit the accused for examination on that charge before a called Court of Hustings next Monday. The following is the evidence elicited in the case:

Catherine Doyle, having been duly sworn deposed After 4 o'clock, some time on yesterday evening, I heard a picket call out, immediately under my window, "Hail, you man with the pistol" The deceased turned around and was in the act of putting his hand in his pocket, when the guard again commanded him to halt, and immediately thereafter fired upon the deceased, who fell instantly. Saw nothing more of it. Withdrew from the window and fell upon the floor, very much excited at seeing a man shot.

John Watte, sworn, deposed James Clifford, the deceased, and myself, were sitting down in my house about 3 o'clock yesterday evening. Deceased was speaking to my wife about the city of Dublin and the old country. James Clifford and deceased left my house, and I thought that they had gone home. After a while they returned. The deceased went into Mrs. Noland's, and Clifford came into my house. Soon after I saw a man come out of Mrs. Noland's house with a pistol, and soon after Edward Dunn came out, also with a pistol, followed by Mrs. Noland's daughter, who was going in quest of a guard. I knew nothing of the quarrel at Mrs. Noland's house. The deceased, I think, was sober. He had not taken more than a glass of whiskey. He was shot about half an hour after he left my house.

Wm. S. Hutchings, sworn, deposed Was sitting at my boarding-house. Heard a man halt another; this drew my attention to the street. Looking out, I saw the deceased and the guard. The deceased had a pistol in his hand and was in the act of presenting it at the guard. The guard commanded him twice to put his pistol up, and he failing to do it, the guard levelled his gun at him and fired, when he instantly fell. I was nearly opposite the men, distant about thirty yards. Knew neither of them before. Do not know whether they were under the influence of liquor or not.

Catherine Summers, sworn, deposed Was in my house; heard an alarm in the street, went to the door and saw Mr. Walker coming out of Mrs. Noland's cellar, looking quite excited. Mr. Clifford came out of the cellar and asked where the man was who cocked the pistol at them. Dunn came out into the street and asked also where the man was who cocked the pistol at him. He then walked across the street with a pistol at his side. Mrs. Noland's daughter went down the street and said something to the guard. The guard then commanded the deceased to halt. The deceased stopped and went back towards the guard, without drawing a pistol, or taking it from his side. When he had gotten about half way to the guard, the guard fired upon him and he fell.

Lieut. Booker, Assistant Provost Marshal of the Western District, sworn, deposed That it was customary with all military guards to hail at least three times before firing, and in the city firing is the last resort. My orders to my men are, to use the bayonet in preference to firing. No guard has a right to arrest a man without the consent of one of the Provosts, which consent is always given in writing. There are a great many imposters going about the city, claiming to be Provost's guards. I always send an officer with my guards to make an arrest. I had no guard out yesterday afternoon.

Capt. Geo. T. Whittington, of the Whittington artillery, sworn, deposed The deceased belongs to my company, and enlisted in Alexandria, about the 25th of April, 1861. Before he entered the company he bore a good character in Alexandria, and as a soldier he was the best, the most faithful and obedient I had in my company in fact, he was as good a soldier as any in the Southern Confederacy. The deceased left camp with permission.

The Jury rendered a verdict - "That the deceased came to his death by a gun-shot wound, fired by a man supposed to be acting as a Provost guard without authority, on Byrd street, near its intersection with Seventh street, about four o'clock on Saturday evening, the 19th day of July, 1862."

Page last updated on 01/15/2008