A Florida columnist has been writing articles drawn from an ancestor’s Civil War diaries. The pieces are too overdramatic for my tastes – shuddering to learn his horse had taken part in Sherman’s March, for instance – but if the details below are to be believed, Charlie Tinker was charged with the disposal of some very unusual items.
“At 12 p.m.,” Charlie recorded, “all was ready and at a special signal from the officer in command, the props were removed and the drops fell, launching all four into eternity with hardly a struggle. The closing scene was horrible, but it was an end of justice fully warranted. I was anxious to see this execution and am satisfied. I never want to witness another.”
It was perhaps Charlie’s obvious seriousness and complete devotion to Lincoln that brought to the 28-year-old an unexpected assignment. For reasons he doesn’t detail, and quite probably didn’t know, Charlie was given the nooses that strangled the co-conspirators and asked to dispose of them.
Imagine that? Perhaps no one in history has ever asked: What happened to the death-rending nooses? Yet, now we know. Charlie Tinker, in his matter-of-fact manner took them home, chopped them into tiny pieces and burned them for kindling in his fireplace.