Many thanks to Cousin Jim Thomson
Franklin Missouri Intelligencer, September 24, 1822, Page 3
We lament to notice the death of Capt. John Thomson,
who was shot by a sentinel at the encamping ground in Richmond,
on Wednesday night last. The circumstances, as we understand,
were as follows: Several persons were at a short distance from
the line of sentinels actively employed in making much noise and
tumult. Capt. Thomson was the officer of the night, and was ordered
to take a detachment of men and bring these disorderly persons
into camp. He started for this purpose, and in passing the guard
advanced, as he was ordered, to give the countersign. When he
came to the guard, the sentinel instead of presenting his gun
at his breast, passed it by his hip--Capt. Thomson then instructed
him in his duty by having the gun placed against his breast; and
while in this situation it accidentally discharged its contents
into his breast; and although it was loaded only with powder and
wadding, he survivied but a short time. By this fatality the military
are deprived of a correct disciplinarian and a prompt officer;
and society of a valueable citizen, and an upright man.
Capt. Thomson commanded the independent company of Riflemen attached to the 10 regiment 1st battalion Missouri Militia.
That such accidents may be in future avoided, we think it might not be unworthy of consideration by the commanding officers, whether it would not be as well to have no man stand as sentinel with his gun loaded. Would it not be better than even no sentinels should be posted, than that one man should lose his life, his children a father, and his wife the partner of her bosom.
(Transcription by J. E. Thomson)