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.

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Text by Jon Rice.

These materials were prepared as part of a class assignment for The Seminar in Famous Trials course at the University of Missouri-K.C. School of Law. The use of any sound or images in the trials sites is in furtherance of the educational mission of the Seminar.