Letter from Ro. Ould to LTC Ludlow asking that execution of John R. Lyle be postponed until more information can be sent
WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., May 22, 1863.
Lieutenant-Colonel LUDLOW, Agent of Exchange.
Sir: The President of the Confederate States has this day received the following dispatch:
Your interference in behalf of Sergt. John R. Lyle is earnestly invoked. He is sentenced by court-martial at Bowling Green, Ky., to be hung as a spy on Friday, the 27th of May, on Johnsons Island, near Sandusky, Ohio. He was not a spy, and if execution can be suspended until General John A. Logan* can be heard from he will prove that Mr. Lyle belongs to his command and was by him sent into Kentucky to notify some of his men who had been captured and paroled to report for exchange to avoid being treated as deserters, and whilst in the execution of that service he was captured in the dress he had worn all the time in service.
A. O. P. NICHOLSON.
I am entirely satisfied upon further inquiry that Mr. Nicholson's representation is correct. I implore you as an act of humanity to lose no time in notifying your authorities of the foregoing facts and securing at least a suspension of the sentence. Of course we cannot deny your military authority to execute spies. That right, however, must never be used as a cloak to other designs. If it ever is our right is clear when we are satisfied of the entire innocence of the party and when the true facts are brought to the attention of the adversary to resort to retaliation.
I say this in no spirit of threatening. I appeal as a man in behalf of one whom I know to be unjustly accused and convicted.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, June 3, 1863.
Respectfully referred to Major-General Burnside who will communicate with Maj. Gen. John A. Logan and report his opinion whether there are any good reasons for pardoning John H. Lyle or of commuting his sentence.
H. W. HALLECK,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Respectfully referred to Captain Cutts, judge-advocate, Department of the Ohio, who will retain proceedings in this case until General Logan can be heard from. Captain Cutts will forward this to General Logan with a statement of the facts as appear from the records and ask for General Logan's immediate answer.
By Order of Major-General Buruside:
W. P. ANDERSON,
*This is evidently an error on the part of the writer; he meant General John H. Morgan, of the Confederate service.
SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 5, pg. 692.
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