HE DIED FOR THE CRIMES OF ANOTHER
Acts 25:27, “For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.”
2 Cor. 5:15, “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
WILLIAM T. SHERMAN threatened to execute the mayor and burn the city of Cheraw, South Carolina in retaliation for the deaths of his men until he realized the incident was merely a repeat of what had occurred just a few days earlier in Columbia. Since leaving Savannah, Sherman had lost more men in self-induced explosions that had been lost to Confederate gunfire.
However, Cheraw was the scene of at least one act of Federal retaliation. Union soldiers found the dead body of one of their men with the message “Death to Foragers" pinned to his coat. Earlier Sherman had issued a standing order that one Confederate prisoner would be executed for every Federal soldier found executed. The major of the dead federal initially refused to pick a Confederate for execution. He thought the soldier, unpopular among his own mates, might have been murdered by another Federal. Sherman threatened the major with court-martial unless he followed the order.
An old prisoner, the father of nine girls and a Methodist minister, who claimed he had never even been in combat, drew the black slip of paper that marked him for execution. The major tried to tie his hands, but the pastor asked for no restraints. The major handed him a handkerchief and told the prisoner to drop it when he finished his prayer.
According to a Wisconsin soldier who watched the scene; “As the smoke floated away among the tall pines, our boys looked with sadness upon the bleeding corpse of a brave old man who had met death unflinchingly and heroically for the crime of another man. If the old man had bounded away into the forest, we’d never have run a step to catch him.”