During the Civil War, Confederate military courts sentenced to death more soldiers from North Carolina than from any other state. This study offers the first exploration of the service records of 450 of these wayward Confederates, most often deserters. Arranged by army, corps, division and brigade, it chronicles their military trials and frequent executions and offers explanations of how the lucky and the clever were able to avoid their fate. Focus on court activity by company allows for comparisons that emphasize the wide disparity in discipline within a regiment and brigade. By stressing the effectiveness of these deadly decisions as deterrents to others, this work maintains that an earlier and wider reliance on execution would have strengthened the Confederacy sufficiently to force a negotiated end to the war, thus saving many Confederate and Federal lives.