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Title: Barton, Rev. Thomas to , 1758
CollectionIrish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan. Letters and memoirs from colonial and revolutionary America (1675-1815) [K.A. Miller et al.]
SenderBarton, Rev. Thomas
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationreverend
Sender Religionunknown
OriginFort Bedford, Cumberland Co., Penn, USA
Recipient Genderunknown
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count674
TranscriptRev. Thomas Barton, Journal, Raystown Camp, Fort Bedford, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, 19– 26 September 1758

Tuesday September 19th.... A General Court Martial sat this Day to try a Number of Men for Desertion....
Sunday September 24th … Receiv’d Orders from Major Halket to attend John Hannah Soldier in the 1st Virginia Regt, Thomas Williams Soldier in the Maryland Companies, Benjamin Murphy, & Salathiel Mixon of the N. Carolina Companies, & John Doyle of the Pennsylvania Regiment, who are all adjudg’d to suffer Death by the general Court Martial, whereof Col. Mercer was President, & ordered by the General to be shot at O’Clock on Tuesday Morning next...

Monday September 25th At O’Clock this Morning visited & pray’d with the Prisoners, who have not yet receiv’d their Sentence....
Receiv’d an Invitation from Major Halket Aid du Camp, to dine this Day with the General, who was very facetious & in high Spirits at Table, tho’ extremely weak & in a low State of Health:—He enquir’d much into the Moral State of the Army; declar’d he was concern’d at not being able to attend Divine Service; & that he was sorry I had so disagreeable an Office upon my Hands at present, as that of attending Persons under Sentence of Death....
Visited the Prisoners in the Evening, who I found in Tears under terrible Apprehensions of approaching Death.— I pray’d with them; & examin’d into the State of their Souls, & their Preparations for Eternity;— but to my great Mortification found very little Sense of Religion in any of them. Before I left them an Officer came in with the General’s Pardon to John Hannah, Thomas Williams, Benjamin Murphy & Salathiel Mixon,—who seem’d more affected and more penitent at the Thoughts of Living than the Thoughts of dying; They were immediately discharg’d....
Tuesday September 26th. Very early this Morning visited & pray’d with John Doyle, O’Clock A.M.—  He told me he was brought up a who is to be shot to Death at Papist; & as his Conscience never supply’d him with sufficient Reasons to renounce that Profession, he was resolv’d to dye one— yet as he made no Doubt but the Prayers of good Men would avail much, he beg’d of me to stay with him the few Minutes he had to live, & attend him to the Place of Execution; to which I agreed.— In a little Time came in the Provost, & pin’d a Paper to his breast with these dreadful words— Viz—
“Camp at Rays Town September 26th 1758
“John Doyle, a Soldier in Captain Patterson’s Company in the Pennsylvania Regt, is to be shot to Death for Desertion.” --
I walk’d with him to the Place of Execution, surrounded by a strong Guard. He behav’d with uncommon Resolution;— exhorted his Brother-Soldiers to take Example

by his Misfortunes;— To live sober Lives;— to beware of bad Company;— to shun pretended Friends, & loose wicked Companions, “who, says, he, will treat you with Civility & great Kindness over a Bottle; but will deceive & ruin you behind your Backs:”— But above all he charg’d them never to deser t . When he saw the Six Men that were to shoot him, he enquir’d if they were good Marks-Men; and immediately strip’d off his Coat, open’d his Breast, kneel’d down, & said— “Come Fellow-Soldiers, advance near me,— do your Office well, point at my Heart,— for God’s Sake do not miss me, & take Care not to disfigure me.”— He would suffer no Handkerchief to be ty’d over his Face, but look’d at his Executioners to the last, who advanc’d so near him that the Muzzles of their Guns were within a Foot of his Body.— Upon a Signal from the Serjeant Major they fir’d, but shot so low that his Bowels fell out,— his Shirt & Breeches were all on Fire, & he tumbled upon his Side;— rais’d one Arm or Times, & soon expir’d. A shocking Spectakle to all around him; & a striking Example to his Fellow Soldiers—