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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, August 6, 1864


Last evening, in the absence of Coroner Sheldon, Justice Tobin held an inquest at the office of the Coroner, to inquire into the facts connected with the death of James Fitzgerald, private in Company D, Third Artillery, who was killed by a fellow-soldier named Kennedy, at Black Point, early on the morning of Thursday, the 3d instant. Three witnesses were examined who were on the spot at the time. The facts were substantially as stated in yesterday's Call, except that not so much was said about his insanity. A simple statement of the facts adduced on the inquest would be about as follows: About half-past one o'clock on Thursday morning, Fitzgerald was placed in the guard-house, Kennedy having been there for some time previous. Fitzgerald being without his blankets, Kennedy told him to come and share his. Deceased, however, went and laid down on the floor. The room was almost perfectly dark. About two o'clock in the morning, Fitzgerald got up and went to where one Michael Condol (also under guard) was lying, and whispered in his ear, telling him to turn over, he wanted to feel him; at the same time, he drew his hand across Condol's throat. Condol told him to go to his own bunk. Kennedy then placed his hand on Condol's breast, and raised something over him which in the darkness Condol took to be a dagger; he seized it and discovered that it was a bayonet. A struggle commenced, in which Kennedy succeeded in planting a thrust into Condol's arm. He cried out that he was stabbed, and called for a light, but the inmates of the room had become panic-stricken and crowded off to the corners. In the struggle with Kennedy, Condol kicked him, forcing him over to wards the wall. He fell on Fitzgerald (deceased) and commenced stabbing him. Deceased cried out, "I'm murdered." The corporal outside hearing the noise, rushed to the guard-room, and as he opened the door, Kennedy and two other prisoners forced their way out, throwing him down on the ground. He went in with a light and saw deceased lying on the floor in a dying condition. He had twelve wounds on the body and four on the head. Of four of those on the body, penetrating the heart, lungs, liver, stomach, and large and small intestines, either one would have produced death; the rest were flesh wounds. One of the fatal wounds was made on the thigh, severing the femoral artery. Kennedy was generally considered a sensible and harmless man, though he seemed rather disposed to shun his comrades. On one occasion, about a month since, while at Alcatraz, he expressed an apprehension that he was going to be hanged. On one or two other occasions he made "curious remarks." The day prior to the killing he broke out of the guard-house and ran down to Captain Winder's quarters. He said he wanted to see a clergyman, and must go to town. He was not generally considered insane, though he had curious ways, and the Corporal said he did not think he was altogether right. It was about half past three o'clock in the morning when Fitzgerald died. Deceased was a native of Limerick, Ireland, and aged about thirty-six years.

The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the facts.

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