December 11, 1863
Execution Of A Soldier. – A few days since Philip Raber, a private in Col. Duval’s 9th West Virginia Infantry, was executed at Fayette Court House. He had been tried by court martial and found guilty on two charges. “Desertion a second time” and “breaking guard.” The sentence was to have been carried out at 7 o’clock in the morning, but the interruption of well meaning but mistaken friends postponed the execution until afternoon on an irrelavant quibble about technecalities in the charge. His guilt was manifest, and with as little delay as possible the order was sternly repeated. At the appointed time, the brigade to which he belonged was drawn up on three sides of a hollow square, his own regiment obliquely flanked by the 12th and 91st Ohio, and in its rear, the 1st Ohio, and in its rear the 1st Ohio Battery and a cavalry company. Preceded by musicians playing a slow and solemn march, the prisoner passed to a central position fronting his regiment, and alighted from the wagon with a firm step. A fervent prayer was then offered up in his behalf, the doomed man mingling his own words with those of the Chaplain. His sentence was read before all the regiments, his hands were fastened, his eyes bandaged, and kneeling upon his coffin, he bowed his head to his fate. The low, firm words of command were given, a simultaneous volley fired, and the poor wretch leaped convulsively upward and fell back dead. Four of the balls pierced his heart, and there was not even a shudder. The regiments filed slowly by to look on his body, dispersed to their quarters, and the scene was ended.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: December 1863