Friday, February 3, 2012

By Order Of Sheridan

William Barclay Napton

[December] 20.  An only son of a citizen of this place, Mr. Bredell, was shot by order of Sheridan, as one of Mosby's men, in retaliation.  Mr. Bredell, the father, is one of our wealthiest citizens.
-The Union on Trial: The Political Journals of Judge William Barclay Napton

Napton was a member of the Missouri Supreme Court from 1857 to 1861 and was a pro-southern slaveholder.  His account of the death of Ed Bredell, which comes from an 1863 journal entry, is interesting, if not likely accurate.  We have accounts of Bredell's death that comes from men who served with him and those accounts state that he was killed in battle, rather than executed on the orders of Phil Sheridan.

There is a note to this journal entry that states that "Despite Napton's characterization of the incident, the circumstances of Bredell's death are unclear."  I don't believe that the circumstances are unclear.  Bredell was killed in battle.  Napton's version of Bredell's death speaks to the problems of communication in 1863 and to his own pro-southern sympathies.

Napton, in his journal, also mentioned that Bredell was buried on January 17, 1864.  I can't say if this was the first or second of Bredell's burials.  Like something in a Faulkner novel, the remains of Ed Bredell kept getting buried, dug up and reburied.

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