Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/81

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John Yates Beall, Martyr. 77

never beheld to the same degree before. He introduced the sub- ject ofhis approaching end himself, saying that while he did not pretend to be indifferent to life the mode in which he was to depart had no terror or ignominy for him; he could go to heaven, through the grace of Christ, as well from the gallows as from the battle-field; he died in defence for what he believed to be right; and so far as the particular charges for which he was to be executed were concerned, he had no confession to make, or repentance to exercise. He calmly declared he was to be executed contrary to the laws of civil- ized warfare."


His mother visited him several days preceding the execution, and as soon as he saw her expression, he said: " I knew mother would endure the terrible sacrifice^with courage." Captain Beall was betrothed to an accomplished lady in the South.

In the last letter to his brother, William Beall, who belonged to the "Stonewall Brigade," he said: "Be kind to prisoners they are helpless. Vengence is mine saith the Lord. I will repay." Captain Beall, illegally executed, and in defiance of, civilized war- fare, was one of the most heroic characters of the South. He was inspired to serve his State, Virginia, by the God-given right of self- defence and the preservation of home, and his record as a soldier is without stain or reproach. After the war his remains were taken to his old home, Walnut Grove, Jefferson County, W. Va., and bur- ied in accordance with the rites of the Episcopal Church. He re- quested to be engraved on his tomb: " Died in Defence of My Country."


The next ranking officer to Captain Beall was B. H. Burley, who was associated with him in all his daring adventures, hence guilty of the same "offense." Yet Lieutenant Burley was allowed to go unpunished by the Federal government. Burley was arrested by Canadian authority and surrendered on extradition papers, de- manded by Mr. Henry B. Brown, then assistant United States at- torney for the Detroit District, now one of the associated justices of the Supreme Court. Burley's chief defense was his commission as an acting master in the Confederate navy, signed at Richmond, Va. , September n, 1863, on which was an endorsement, dated Richmond, December 22, 1864, in the form of a proclamation by