Lepper Letter

Hi Carl,

I’ve finally managed to get back to the 78th OVI webpage, and I’m glad you chose to post all the documents pertaining to Arthur McCarty’s court-martial.  It shows you are not just presenting a white-washed version of history, but a gritty warts-and-all view of our ancestors.  However, in fairness, you should note that Gen. Blair ultimately set aside the verdict and sentence of the court-martial and restored Arthur to duty — with full rank.  No one really knows why.  (It might have something to do with the fact that Capt. Roberts [Arthur’s future brother-in-law] was on Blair’s staff at the time…)  But Arthur’s “exoneration” should be part of the record as well.

Best regards,



Bradley T. Lepper
Curator of Archaeology
Ohio Historical Society
1982 Velma Avenue
Columbus, OH 43211-2497
(614) 297-2642
FAX: (614) 297-2411


Special Orders No. 270
War Department
Adjutant General’s Office
Washington, May 31st 1865


7. The unexpired portion of the sentence of a General Court Martial, in the case of 1st Sergeant Arthur W. McCarty, Company “E,” 78th Ohio Veteran Volunteers, is remitted, and his dishonorable discharge revoked.  He will immediately rejoin his regiment for duty.  The Quartermaster’s Department will furnish the necessary transportation.

By order of the President of the United States
E. D. Townsend,
Assistant Adjutant General.

“There is no explanation of the grounds or reason for the decision,” says Lepper, who goes on to cite Joseph Glatthaar’s book The March to the Sea and Beyond:

“The corps commander, Maj. Gen. Frank P. Blair, then remitted the jail term, and President Andrew Johnson dismissed the entire sentence and restored McCarty to his previous rank and regiment when he received petitions from officers and men attesting to McCarty’s soldierly qualities, a letter from a soldier impugning the character of a witness, and a letter from McCarty that substantially contradicted his testimony at the trial” (pp. 73-74).  [Emphasis mine, CJD]