Assignment 6

After reading through the case I believe that John Y. Beall should have not have been convicted as civilian. He was simply acting under confederate military orders. As the case progressed we continued to learn more about the spy accounts that Beall committed. He was accused of spying at Kelley’s Island, at Middle Bass Lake, all while aboard a seized vessel. Beall was also charged with attempting to destroy a train traveling between buffalo and Dunkirk. He was also charged with spying at the suspension bridge in New York. In both of these instances Beall was trying to free other Confederate soldiers that were imprisoned. These charges were brought up on Beall by witness accounts and were never supported with real evidence. He was positively identified by multiple witnesses.

As a solder, I believe that Beall was just carrying out his orders. If he was acting as solo civilian committing these crimes, I would agree with the conviction and execution. The outcome of this trial would have never happened if the war would have swung in the favor of the confederates. This reminds me of people getting convicted of war crimes far after World War II was over. Nazi Germans continued to be sought out and imprisoned for following military orders during their service time. They may have been committing the worst human crimes the world has seen, but it was their life on the line. These weren’t acts of terror; these were acts of war.


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