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Source: Faribault Journal
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Acted in Good Faith”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Faribault, Minnesota
Date of publication: 2 October 1901
Volume number: 4
Issue number: 48
Pagination: [7]

“Acted in Good Faith.” Faribault Journal 2 Oct. 1901 v4n48: p. [7].
full text
McKinley burial vault (attack upon); Chambers J. Deprend; William S. Biddle, Jr.; William S. Biddle, Jr. (public statements); Elwell S. Otis.
Named persons
William S. Biddle, Jr.; Chambers J. Deprend [misspelled once below]; William McKinley; Elwell S. Otis.


Acted in Good Faith


Thinks the Sentinel Deceived Himself on the Occurrence—Another Officer
Says It Was the Real Thing and Damage Was Intended to the Dead
President’s Resting Place—Matter Reported in Full to General Otis.

     Canton, O., Oct. 1.—The officers and men of Company C of the Fourteenth United States infantry [sic], on duty at West Lawn cemetery guarding the resting place of President McKinley, have worked diligently investigating the strange story in which Private Deprened, who was on duty at the top of the vault, figured so prominently. The same reticence imposed by military regulations which prevented the officers and men from making detailed statements concerning the incidents of the night was operative during the day. The representative of the Associated Press saw all of the commissioned officers and a number of privates and gleaned the following:
     All of the commissioned officers and the members of the company in general accepted fully the story related by Private Deprend and really believe that the prowlers were about the vault with no good purpose. Only one of the commissioned officers adhered to the belief that an attempt had been made upon the sentinel for ghoulish purposes. He said:
    “It was the real thing. It was prompted by the pure cussedness of some people who thought to bring reproach upon the nation by doing damage to the resting place of the dead president.”
     All the men who were seen expressed the belief that Private Deprend acted in good faith and that he related only what he believed to be the real circumstances. With the captain and others he

Went Over the Details

of the whole affair at least a dozen times and it is said never varied in a matter of importance. Particular inquiry was made as to his sobriety at the time and it is said that it is established beyond all reasonable doubt that he had not been drinking and that he was in his normal condition. The most common belief is that the sentinel was overwrought by the loneliness of his position, that his nerves were overtaxed and that imagination contributed some of the details related in good faith. The post was regarded by all as particularly isolated and depressing to the man guarding it at night and it is understood that more sentinel[s] will be stationed at the point in the future.
     Captain Biddle was at first fully convinced of the truth of the story as related, but after investigation entertained doubts, not as to the sincerity of the soldier, but as to the correctness of the conclusions. He authorized this statement:
     “I think the sentinel deceived himself on the occurrence. I do not think an actual attack as related by him occurred. When daylight came there was no evidence found of a struggle.”
     The matter has been reported in full to General Otis at Chicago, commanding the department to which the guard is attached. Whether there will be a formal inquiry into the matter remains for General Otis to determine.



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