A Chain Gang of Sixteen Mutineers of the New York Volunteer Engineers at the Provost Guard Prison Hilton Head, South Carolina

Object Number: 
15 December 1862
Graphite on paper
Overall: 6 1/2 x 10 in. ( 16.5 x 25.4 cm )
Signed at lower left in graphite: "Crane"; verso inscribed at center: "A Chain Gang of sixteen mutineers / of the New York Volunteer Engineers at the / Provost Guard Prison Hilton Head S.C. / See Manuscript of Dec 15th/62"
Civil War Drawings Collection. See also 1945.580.12 and 1945.580.35. The incident occured at Willett's Point, Monday December 9, 1862, near the encampment of the New York Rifles. Captain Cresto, of Company B, had a dispute with a lieutenant of his company and was about to leave the regiment with his men to join Colonel Fadella's regiment. Col. Legendre stationed a guard of twenty-five or thirty men, with loaded arms, to prevent the desertion. Intercepted, Captain Cresto demanded the privilege of passing, which the guard would not permit. The antagonistic parties were drawn up across the road when a pistol belonging to Sergeant Thompson, one of Captain Cresto's party, went off, as the Sergeant said, by accident. The guard returned fire and two of the deserters were killed and four wounded. Captain Cresto fled but was captured, eventually convicted with most of his men, and sent to a military prison on Hilton Head Island. Reproduced in Phillip Van Doren Stern, They were There: The Civil War in Action as Seen by its Combat Artists (New York: Crown, 1959), pg. 134, pl. 160.
Credit Line: 
James B. Wilbur Fund
John T. Kavanaugh Collection, Rutherford, New Jersey, 1945
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group