Mini Posting #2: William Coxshall’s Missing Digit

May 11, 2009: Barry Cauchon

For those of you who follow this blog, you’ll know that I have focused much of my research on the events and people involved in the executions of the four condemned Lincoln assassination conspirators. One of the four men who stood below the scaffold to help spring the traps on July 7, 1865 was a soldier named William Coxshall.

Alexander Gardner's photograph "Arrival at Scaffold" with William Coxshall beneath the gallows on the front left side.

Alexander Gardner's photograph "Arrival at Scaffold" with William Coxshall standing beneath the gallows on the front left side.

Did you know that Coxshall served with Company K, 37th Volunteer Infantry, Wisconsin and during the Battle of Petersburg was wounded, losing part of his left index finger?

It’s true. After recuperating from his injury, he was transferred to Company F, 14th Regiment Veterans Corp and  assigned to the Old Arsenal Penitentiary in Washington DC. Coxshall was one of four soldiers assigned to spring the traps of the gallows. Alexander Gardner’s photo “Arrival at Scaffold” captured Coxshall’s injury.  

Coxshall beneath the scaffold.

Coxshall beneath the scaffold.

William Coxshall's missing digit

William Coxshall and his missing digit

Best

Barry