I Am Condemned to Be Shot

Asey V. Ladd, Private, C.S.A

OCTOBER 29, 1864

          

Private Asey V Ladd, a Confederate soldier/POW held at Gratiot Street Prison, had served in Co A 4th Missouri  Cavalry. He served honorably for three years, enlisting March 10, 1861. The records of the Union Army state that he "died while prisoner of war", but the true story is he and five others were picked at random and  murdered by a Yankee firing squad.   These are the last letters Pvt. Ladd wrote his family:

        St. Louis, Mo, 
       Oct. 29, 1864

        Dear Wife and Children:


         I take my pen with trembling hand to inform you that I have to  be shot between 2 & 4 o'clock this evening. I have but few hours to     remain in this unfriendly world. There is 6 of us sentenced to die  in [retaliation] of 6 union soldiers that was shot by Reeves men. My  dear wife don't grieve after me. I want you to meet me in Heaven.   I want you to teach the children piety, so that they may meet me at the right hand of God. I can't tell you my feelings but YOU can form some idea of my feeling when you hear of my fate.

    I don't want you to let this bear on your mind anymore than you can help, for you are now left to take care of my dear children. Tell them to remember their dear father. I want you to go back to the old place and try to make a support for you and the children.  I want you to tell all my friends that I have gone home to rest. I  want you to go to Mr. Conner and tell him to assist you in winding up your business. If he is not there get Mr. Cleveland. If you don't get this letter before St. Francis River gets up you had better stay there until you can make a crop, and you can go in the dry season.  It is now half past 4 AM. I must bring my letter to a close, leaving you in the hands of God. I send you my best love and respect  in the hour of death. Kiss all the children for me. You need have no uneasiness about my future state, for my faith is well founded and I fear no evil. God is my refuge and hiding place.

   Good-by Amy. 

 Asey Ladd

 

Gratiot Street Prison

St. Louis, Mo.
Oct. 29th, 1864

 My Dear Father,

 I am condemned to be shot today between the hours of two and  four o'clock PM. in retaliation for some men shot by Reeves (Ma-  jor Wilson and six men). I am an innocent man and it is hard to die for anothers sins. You can imagine my feelings when I think of you, my wife and children. I want my family to come back to my
old place. If you live till peace is made I want you to settle up and pay off all my debts. You need have no uneasiness as to my future state for my faith is well founded and I fear no evil, God is my refuge and hiding place. Meet me in Haven.

Good bye,

Asey Ladd

 

For picture of Gratiot Street Prison and list of other prisoner's executed visit
our webpage on St. Louis Military Prisons.
The MIDI file, "Rebel in the Woods"  used in this webpage is from the "Borderland Collection",