A Civil war story of the murder of a young boy, Casper Prisler, thought to be a Union Spy by Henry Kuhl and others on Butchers Run, Braxton County, Western Virginian, 1861.
The only recorded Civil War beheading, the Civil War Military trial and subsequent sentencing and hanging of Henry Kuhl and Hamilton Windon
"The Beheading of Casper Prisler, an innocent boy or Civil War Spy"
The Beheading of Casper Prisler, An Innocent Boy or Civil War Spy is a true account of the untimely death of a young lad caused by the anger and frenzy of a Civil War that divided our nation and set ordinarily good citizens against one another and raised suspicions against any stranger visiting a community. Along this irregular border that vaguely separated a divided nation and in a portion of a Southern State invaded and controlled by an enemy army, neighbor turned against neighbor, friend against friend, father against son, and brother against brother. Thus the scene was set and vividly painted wherein an ordinary citizen would take such heinous action against another human being on the basis of political and philosophical differences, anger or fear or simple lawlessness that prevailed in this part of United States of America, Butchers Run, Braxton County, Virginia in 1861.
Among the thousands of isolated incidents that occurred during the Civil War, and accounted for in all the books and articles that have been written since, one would think that all stories would have been uncovered and presented to the reader, that there would be no new facts or stories of this period to write about. So, just imagine how excited I was to uncover the official transcript of the Military Trial of Henry Kuhl and others for the murder or the young lad, and for the first time read the actual truth about a story that I have heard about all my life.
In 1861 near the beginning of the Civil War a teenage boy, either lost from the Union Army or attempting to return to his home in Ohio, wandered into a farm home in Braxton County, Virginia in search of food. There, assumed to be a Union soldier and spy, he met an untimely death at the hands of hostile Southern Sympathizers who cut off his head with an ordinary mowing scythe. The eventual discovery of this heinous crime and the subsequent arrest, military trial, and sentencing of the murderers by the United States Army are disclosed herein.
This is a sad but fascinating story of a true Western Virginia Civil War event that occurred within two miles of my home, Cedarville, WV and one that has been handed down by relatives and residents of the area since its occurrence. Of course, various versions have been told in stores and homes of the surrounding community. Now it can no longer be placed in the category of folklore. The truth and facts are known. It is a contribution to the Civil War History of central West Virginia.