The Execution Place

 

In the north-western corner of the citadel we’ll find a bastion, which look of very little – it’s just ramparts in a pentagonal shape with noting within, and yet this bastion also has a history.

In the old days this was the site where execution by shooting took place – even in two different ways.

If the victim was to be shot “honorably” he was placed in the bottom of the bastion facing the firing squad. This was the punishment for a lot of crimes according to the harsh military discipline of the day such as desertion in peacetime, sleeping on guard etc. But if you were to be shot for cowardice, or desertion in wartime, then you would suffer “arkebusion” which meant being shot from behind. By this you would also lose your honor besides your life, and could not be buried in a Christian way.

But firing also took place here without execution. When the convicts (called slaves) were to be guarded with loaded arms, it presented a special problem in the age of muzzleloaded guns: They were difficult to unload.

Those prisoners, who were jailed “temporarily” for 30 years in the two powder magazines, were taken to the church once a week to listen to the word of God, and the good preaching by the Vicar. When this took place they were escorted two and two by 1 subcommisoned officer and 3 soldiers in front, one guardian and 6 soldiers on each side, and 1 subcommisioned officer  and 3 soldiers behind them, i.e. 15 guards for each two prisoners. All of these guards were to carry loaded muskets, and after the service they went to Prinsens Bastion (the Prince’s Bastion) to fire their loaded guns. It is strange, that no one ever got the idea to set up some targets and use this forced use of ammunition for training – something the soldiers did not get too often due to economy.

On the ramparts top you’ll find 3 beautiful mortars, two Danish iron mortars M/1834 and a Bronze mortar of 1850 that was taken as war booty from the Insurgents of Schleswig-Holstein.

 
Dansk morter M/1834  
 

Kastellets Venner & Historiske Samling had the gun carriages remade after exact drawings, paid by a generous donation from the foundation ”A.P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til almene Formål”.  All three mortars were inaugurated 2008 with a black powder salute as seen here.

 
 

A Slesvig-Holstein mortar from the 3-year-war 1848-50 

 

In recent time some pavement was laid in the bottom of the bastion, whereupon the Army Quartermaster Corps ran a cooking school for use of field kitchens. This pavement (now no longer there) may be seen in the picture below from an outdoor service due to the celebration of the Quartermaster Corps IKTS 100 year birthday.
 

 
In most recent time the bastion has been the place for theatric performance for children, so even if it does not like much, it has seen its share of history.