Felix de la Baume
By far the most damaging testimony against Wirz was that of Felix de la Baume. De la Baume was the only witness who identified a victim by name who was alleged to have been directly killed by Wirz.
De la Baume, who claimed to be a Frenchman
and descendant of Lafayette, was discovered after the trial, to actually
be Felix Oeser. Oeser was born in Saxony, Prussia and lied in order to
help conceal that he was a former member of the 7th New York Volunteers
who had deserted during the war. He was a skilled orator and so impressed
the commission that he was given a written commendation signed by all of
the members regarding his testimony. He was also appointed to a position
in the Department of the Interior before Wirz's trial ended. Once his true
identify and status was discovered, only eleven days after Wirz had been
hung, he admitted being Oeser and to having perjured himself in the testimony
at Wirz's trial. Oeser subequently vanished into obscurity.
Text by Jon Rice.