Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Trial Of David O. Dodd

My Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp (#619) is named in honor of David Owen Dodd.

From Online Little Rock:

The Trial of David O. Dodd

Civil War boy martyr of Arkansas, David O. Dodd


David O. Dodd's grave is located on the left side of Mount Holly Cemetery between Maple & Elm. David Owen Dodd - Boy Hero

"There was one sad incident that occurred that winter [1863-1864], in February I think, that I was eye witness to. That was the hanging of young David O. Dodd as a spy. He was a mere boy, though a smart one, and while he was amenable under military law to his fate, yet his heroic bearing at the scaffold won my sympathy. I have no doubt that, raised as he had been, he thought he was in the right".

-- Pvt. John R. Martin, Company E, First Iowa Cavalry (Union)

Source: History of the First Iowa Cavalry

Andrew Marion Dodd, May 29, 1823 Alabama – November 16, 1867 Jackson MS, married Lydia Echols Owen, 1828 – 1885, on April 27, 1843 in Collegeville, Saline County, AR. To them was born Sarah Lydia Senhora DODD b: 18 JAN 1845 in Collegeville, Saline Co, AR; David Owen DODD b: 10 NOV 1846 in Lavaca Co, TX; Leonora DODD b: 28 JAN 1850 in Longpoint, TX; Ann Eliza DODD b: 28 JUL 1852 -- Dodd family geneaolgy

December 31, 1863 - Military Commission appointed by Major General Frederick Steele meets in Little Rock with Brigadier General John M. Thayer presiding. Other commission members are: Colonel John A. Garrett, Major Phineus Graves, Major H. D. Gibson, Captain George Rockwell and Captain B. F. Rice as Judge Advocate.

The prisoner, David O. Dodd, was then arraigned upon the following Charges and Specifications, which were read to him by the Judge Advocate as follows:

"In this, that said David O. Dodd, an inhabitant of the State of Arkansas, did as a Spy of the so-called Confederate States of America, enter within the lines of the Army of the United States, stationed at Little Rock, Arkansas, and did there secretly possess himself of information regarding the number, the kind, and position of the troops of said Army of the United States, their commanders, and other military information valuable to the enemy now at war with the United States, and having thus obtained said information did obtain a pass from the Provost Marshal General's office, and endeavor to reach the lines of the enemy - therewith; when he was arrested at the cavalry outposts of said Army - and did otherwise lurk, and act as a spy of the Rebels now in arms against the United States - This at the Post of Little Rock, and the encampments of the Army of Arkansas, on or about the 29th and 30th of December, 1863."

David pled not guilty.

January 1, 1864 - The trial resumes with the youthful Arkansan represented by two attorneys: T. D. W. Yonley and William Fishback.

"The prisoner then offered to take the oath of allegiance, prescribed by the President of the United States, in his Proclamation accompanying his late message to Congress, and accept the Amnesty therein offered..."

The Judge Advocate objected to the defense offer stating the crime with which David was accused did not fall under the Amnesty provision. The courtroom was cleared while the commission deliberated the matter of amnesty. The commission ruled against the defense and court was adjourned till the following day.

January 2, 1864 - Witnesses are called:

Private Daniel Goldberg, Company E, 1st Missouri Cavalry, is called as a witness and asked when, where and under what circumstances he may have seen the prisoner. Goldberg testified, "I believe it was on the 28th of December, 1863. I was on picket on the Hot Spring road about eight miles from Little Rock. The prisoner came to where I was, and I halted him, and asked him for a pass. He gave his pass to me. It was from the Provost Marshal of Little Rock. I asked the prisoner where he wanted to go, and he said he wanted to go into the country fifteen miles to see some friends. I asked him which road he wanted to go, and he told me he wanted to go the Hot Springs road. I then told him he did not need a pass anymore, and I kept his pass; I tore up the pass on the post when I was relieved. I did not know he was arrested when I tore it up."

Sergeant Frederick Miehr, Company B, 1st Missouri Cavalry, is the prosecution's second witness. Asked the same question, he answers, "Either the 28th or 29th of last month I was on picket on the Benton road about twelve miles from Little Rock. I had been on picket only a short time when my inside vidette halted a man, and T looked up and saw the prisoner, that is I think it was him, coming into the main road. I went then to where the vidette was. I asked the prisoner if he had a pass, and he said he had not. He said he had had a pass for two days, and the picket on the Hot Spring road took it from him. I asked him where he lived, and he said at Little Rock. I asked him where he was going and he said he was going to a man's by the name of Davis. I asked him where Davis lived and he said he did not know whether it was the first or second house. I asked him where he was going from there, and he said he was going down on some creek to get him a horse. I forget the place. I then arrested him and sent one of the men into headquarters with him."

1st Lieutenant C. F. Stopral, Acting Adjutant of the 1st Missouri Cavalry, is called to testify and states, "On the evening of the 29th of last month I was in my office. The prisoner was brought before me by one of our pickets. I asked the prisoner if he had any pass, and he said not. I asked him if he had any papers whatever to be identified, and he said not. I told him he certainly must have something with him either books or papers, and he then produced a memoranda book, the one here shown me, marked "A", on the first page, is the one he showed me. Upon having the book examined I sent him to the guard house."

When asked about the memoranda book, Stopral said, "I translated some of the telegraphic writing at the time. That which I translated read, "the 3rd Ohio Battery has four guns. Brass. 11th Ohio Battery has six guns". The rest of it I could not make out, but I think it is eighteen pounder. The other telegraphic writing I did not translate for want of time." He said he gave the book to Captain George Hanna.

Captain George Hanna, Regiment Commander of the 1st Missouri Cavalry, was called to testify. He stated, "On the evening of the 29th of Dec. last about a half hour after dark he was brought to my headquarters. I was not in at the time, but came in soon after. When I came in the prisoner was standing by the table. Lieutenant Stopral had this memoranda book in his hand, and said he had taken it from the prisoner. I took the book and looked at it, and saw the characters there, and remarked that that looked suspicious, and commenced questioning the prisoner. I asked him his name. He said it was David O. Dodd.

"I asked him what he was doing out there. He said he was going out to see some man in that neighborhood. I forget the man's name. I said you had no pass when you were taken and he said "I had a pass when I came into your lines, and the pickets took it from me. I asked him if he should know the man that got his pass if he should see him again. He said he would. I sent him under guard out there, but the pickets had been relieved and the man was not here, but had come into camp. The prisoner wanted to go to a brick house nearby to get his supper and said he was acquainted there. I then sent for the sergeant of the guard and he took him down to my company and gave him his supper. I instructed the sergeant of the guard after he gave him his supper to take him to the guard house and not allow him to have any communication with any of the soldiers.

"I then asked Lieut. Stopral if he had searched the prisoner. He said he had got nothing from him but this book. I had the memoranda book examined and then went and searched the prisoner, and found one pocketbook the one here shown me in court, one postal currency holder, the same here shown, one Derringer pistol, loaded, the one here shown, and a package between his shirts. When I went down, he denied having anything of the kind, but in examining him I felt it and asked him about it, and he acknowledged having letters in them. He took them out and handed them to me, and these before the court, in pencil mark are the same he gave me.In the pocket book there was Louisiana money, Confederate money, ten dollars in green backs, and some Confederate postage stamps. How much I do not know. I did not examine the pocket book and papers minutely, but rolled them all up in one package sent them and the prisoner by Captain Baird, next morning into Little Rock to Genl. Davidson or the Provost Marshal. The prisoner said the pickets had taken up his pass in the morning."

Captain John Baird, Company E, 1st Missouri Cavalry, is called before the commission. He testifies, "Captain Hanna placed him in my charge and directed me to turn him over to Genl. Davidson. He also gave me a package of papers to turn over to Genl. Davidson with the prisoner. The memoranda book and other books here shown me are the same Captain Hanna sent by me; I had examined them since; before he sent them and after I delivered them to Genl. Davidson. I saw him examine them, and saw him take a pass out of the memoranda book before spoken of. The General read the pass, the one here shown me dated December 22d, 1863, at headquarters near Princeton and signed by W.A. Crawford, Lt. Col. Comdg. out post; looks like the same and the contents is the same.

"There was in the pocket book before spoken of a certificate signed by A.M. Dodd in regard to the age of David 0. Dodd, and also that he was not connected with the army. The certificate here shown me is the one that was taken out of the prisoner's pocket book. I delivered to General Davidson precisely the same papers that Capt. Hanna delivered to me, and General Davidson proceeded immediately in my presence to examine them."

Captain Robert C. Clowery, Assistant Superintendant of the United States Military Telegraph, is sworn before the commission to interpret the telegraphic code found in the memoranda book.

"3rd Ohio Battery has 4 guns - brass. 11th Ohio Battery has 6 guns - brass." That on the second page reads as follows: "Three brigades of cavalry in a division. Three regiments in a brigade, brigade commanded by Davidson. Infantry: 1st Brigade has 3 regiments. 2nd Brigade has 3 regiments, one on detached service - 1 battery 4 pieces Parrott guns. Brig. Genl. Soloman commands a division, two brigades in a division; three regiments in one brigade, two in the other. Two batteries in the division."

First Lieutenant George O. Sokalski, Assistant Adjutant General of General Steele, testifies about the actual Union troop strength and weaponry. It's virtually a match of Dodd's coded message.

Other papers found on the prisoner were introduced into evidence. With so much evidence and testimony against him, the defense attorneys could only call character witnesses.

David O. Dodd gravestone

Source: United States vs. David Owen Dodd, National Archives and Records Administration

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