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RE: 1812 Deserter punishments

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  • peter monahan
    Can one survive 300 lashes with a cat? Good question! I recall reading the records of one of the regiments stationed here in Canada, just before 1812, I
    Message 1 of 40 , Feb 2, 2012
      Can one survive 300 lashes with a cat?
      Good question! I recall reading the records of one of the regiments stationed here in Canada, just before 1812, I believe, and there are records of multipe lashes being awarded - 100, 200, etc - but in many cases the sentence was either commuted to a smaller number or the actual flogging stopped, sometimes by the regimental surgeon, before completion. In the latter case the sentence could in theory have been completed at a later time, though my recollection is that there is little evidence of that happening. On the other hand, there were soldiers in regiments like the "Bloody Eleventh" and the "Steelbacks" [57th Reg't] who had soldiers with aggregate numbers of over 1,000 lashes, though obviously not all at one time. Doesn't answer the question, I know! My personal theory based on human nature rather than research, is that some offenders did receive and did survive 300 lashes, but I suspect that some others died under a similar sentence. Clearly, 'flogging round the fleet' posed a higher risk of killing the offender and, I would guess, was meant to do so. Simply a nastier way of executing a sailor, with the added advantage of being a stronger deterrent than a nice clean hanging. OTOH, many colonels probably felt that having the men witness 100, 150 or 200 lashes was as good a deterrent as witnessing 300, with a much reduced chance of killing the offender. A nice balancing act, admittedly, but unless the offender was deemed incorrigible, one reason for flogging, as opposed to a death penalty, was that one eventually got the use of the offender back! This gleaned from Wikipedia. I assume the quotation is based on accounts Oman read: Charles Oman, historian of the Peninsular War, noted that the maximum sentence was inflicted "nine or ten times by general court-martial during the whole six years of the war" and that 1,000 lashes were administered about 50 times.[6] Other sentences were for 900, 700, 500 and 300 lashes. One soldier was sentenced to 700 lashes for stealing a beehive.[7] Another man was let off after only 175 of 400 lashes, but spent three weeks in the hospital. [ Oman, Charles. Wellington's Army, 1809-1814. London: Greenhill, (1913) 1993.] On the other hand, several sources suggest that the official maxium was 200 lashes until 1841, at which time it was reduced to 50. I strongly suspect that the number 200 was a rough estimete of how many the average man could stand without too much danger of fatal infection of the wounds or his being hospitalized for such a time that he became a drain on unit resources rather than an asset as a soldier. So, was 300 lashes survivable? My guess is 'some of the time', but not often enough to count on. Peter Monahan

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    • Peter Catley
      When I asked my father about why he signed up in 1939 his answer was very simple, because you did a whole generation in the UK did because it was the right
      Message 40 of 40 , Feb 4, 2012
        When I asked my father about why he signed up in 1939 his answer was very simple, "because you did" a whole generation in the UK did because it was the right thing to do. Whether they still thought that in May 1945 (at least those who had survived) is perhaps a rather different question :)

        The Pensioner

        On 3 Feb 2012, at 22:28, Ron wrote:

        > When I asked my Grandad why he signed up for WW 1 and my Dad for WW II the answer was the same--for the adventure! Not KIng and country, not to oppose the godless Hun but simply for the adventure. Neiher wanted a job or signed up through economic necessity.
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: peter monahan <petemonahan@...>
        > To: warof1812 <warof1812@yahoogroups.com>
        > Sent: Fri, Feb 3, 2012 1:41 pm
        > Subject: RE: 1812 Re: Punishments
        >
        > Moderator says: [?]
        >
        > --------------------------
        > The Message:
        >
        > Squire wrotwe: "Was a good option if you were starving."
        >
        > Spot on, Squire! Certainly, not everyone who joined the Allied forces in 1939-40-41 did it solely because of a deep seated hatered for National Socialism. Three squares a day and a new brown or blue suit must have sounded pretty good to many of the men who hadn't worked [or eaten properly] in the Depression years. I also noted a few years ago one young lad who'd lost his job at Marks & Spencer and joined the British Army and died in Iraq. His pastor at homne referred tio him as 'an economic conscript', which I thought a very telling turn of phrase. Certainly a large number, of the grunts at least, who serve in the Canadian Foprces come from the less affluent parts of this great land.
        >
        > Peter Monahan
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >



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