Relatives of John T. Redman have researched the military career of Lt. Underhill at the National Archives, and their findings cast an interesting light on this incident. According to Redman family tradition, a drunken sergeant confronted Pvt. Redman in a barbershop and demanded that Redman salute him. Before Redman could respond, the story goes, the sergeant shot and killed him.
Here is what was uncovered at the Archives:
2. He was court martialed on April 21, 1864, for the charge of "violation of the 5th article of War" for an event that happened in October of 1863. Specifically, the charge was as follows "...the said Lt. Edward H. Underhill, Battery A, 1st New York Artillery, did use contemptuous and disrespectable words against the President of the United States and against the government of the United States using the following words: 'I hold no commission under this damned Lincoln-nigger government or administration. I hold my commission from Gov. Seymour (democrat, New York) who is a gentlemen.' This at Pottsville, Pa. on or about the 10th day of October 1863."
Underhill (whose home state was New York) was found guilty and the court sentenced him "to be dismissed from the service of the United States". "The proceedings...were approved by the Major General commanding and the record forwarded to Washington."..."The President directs that the sentence be commuted to 'loss of pay proper for six months' by the Order of the Secretary of War."
3. On January 11, 1865, Lt. Underhill was charged with "murder with malice aforethought" in connection with the shooting of John T. Redman. Court Martial dropped the "malice aforethought" part of the charge, but tried him for "murder". Underhill pled "not guilty". The court martial found Underhill not guilty of murder, but did find him guilty of man-slauqhter. His sentence was "to be dismissed from the service of the United States with loss of all pay and allowances since Dec. 3, 1864 (which was the date he shot John Redman); he was to be imprisoned for the period of two years...he was to pay a fine of $250 and stand committed (to prison) until the fine is paid in full."
"The proceedings findings and sentence of the Commission in the case of .Underhill were approved by the proper commander and the record forwarded for the action of the President of the United States. The findings and sentence are disapproved and Lt. Underhill will be restored to duty. By order of the Secretary of War."