Civil War soldiers’ attitudes toward capital punishment for desertion and the rituals of military execution, both conditioned by wartime necessity, influenced each other. Soldiers generally found the scene of executions impressive and distressing but did not explicitly opposed the executions. Rituals of execution were designed to maximize deterrence, and military officials customarily adjusted them to minimize their negative effects on morale. The rituals sometimes had unintended effects, depending on individual observers’ sensitivities. For most soldiers, however, perceived deterrent effects sufficiently justified the cruelty and humiliation involved in executions.
"Incident of War: Civil War Soldiers and Military Executions of Deserters,"
James Blair Historical Review: Vol. 9
, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wm.edu/jbhr/vol9/iss1/6