A well-dressed and carefully coiffed man is poised on a plank in the middle of a bridge, surrounded by Union officers, all of them silent and stoic, mostly staring straight ahead. We hear birds chirping and water flowing in the river below, along with the clomp of soldiers’ boots and the rustling of ropes and ties as they move into position to bind the man hand and foot and neck in preparation for his hanging.
The atmosphere is solemn and silent, with but four words spoken (“First squad, stand fast!”).
The man casts his eyes about, fidgety, looking around himself and down to the water. He notes a piece of driftwood floating by and lingers with it for a moment. He tugs at the rope binding his hands behind him, gauging its give. Tears form in the corners of his eyes.
Nearly six minutes pass with this careful, excruciating preparation for an execution...Read More