General Court Martial of Ensign Leech
[Extract of the General Court Martial whereof Lieutenant Colonel Alured CLARKE was President, held at Fort Knyphausen on September 8th & 9th, 1777.]
Prisoner— Ensign LEECH of the Prince of Wales’s American Volunteers was brought before the Court and Charged with fighting on the public Parade and behaving unbecoming the Character of an Officer and a Gentleman.
Evidence— Lieut. Michael AMBROSE, being duly sworn deposeth that on the third of this Month to the best of his recollection, he was standing with Ensign GARRISON near his Marquee, the Prisoner came up to Ensign GARRISON, and demanded satisfaction from him for some previous Offence.
Ensign GARRISON told him, if he called upon him as a Gentleman, he would give him satisfaction at any time or place he thought proper, the prisoner then gave Ensign GARRISON a kick.
Ensign GARRISON had no side arms, but gave him some Strokes with a Stick the prisoner collared him and tore his Shirt upon which Ensign GARRISON dropt the Stick & struck the prisoner with his fist, as soon as Ensign GARRISON had disengaged himself from the Prisoner, he did not offer to strike him more but told the Prisoner several times to keep off from him, or he should be under the Necessity of beating him severely.
Q. from the Court— The Evidence having mentioned a previous affront the Court desires to be informed what that affront was.
The Evidence says he was with Ensign GARRISON in his Tent some day before the 3rd of this Month who was then under an Arrest, the prisoner came into his Tent to enquire for the Adjutant, Ensign GARRISON answered he was not there, and desired the prisoner to leave his Tent as his Company was not agreeable to him, upon which the prisoner left the Tent, and in a few minutes after returned and told Ensign GARRISON he must have Resentment for his treatment of him;
Ensign GARRISON told him again to quit the tent, to call upon him another time, that he was then in Arrest, the prisoner not going out so soon as Ensign GARRISON wished he got up and took the prisoner by the arm, and gave him a kick.
Evidence— Ensign Patrick GARRETT being duly sworn deposeth that last Sunday sen’night the Prisoner came into Lieut. CONROY’s tent, where Ensign GARRISON and some Officers were under an Arrest and asked for the Adjutant, Ensign GARRISON told the prisoner, he was not there, on which the prisoner stood a few minutes to hear the fiddle play; on which Ensign GARRISON desired the prisoner to leave the Tent;
the prisoner staid a little, when Ensign GARRISON told him that was not a place to be in with prisoners when he had his side Arms on, when the prisoner turned about, and went out of the Marquee, some time after the prisoner returned and demanded resentment for the usage the Gentleman had given him before, they told him to go out,
not doing it, Ensign GARRISON took him by the arm and gave the Prisoner a Kick and told him that was not a time to ask for satisfaction when Gentlemen were under an Arrest, and said they would give him any satisfaction he pleased when they were released.
That a few days after the Evidence was standing with Ensign GARRISSON & Lt. AMBROSE at Ensign GARRISSON’s Marquee when the prisoner came up and told Ensign GARRISON he wanted satisfaction for the usage that was give him some days before.
Ensign GARRISON told him he would give him any Satisfaction, but it was not a place to ask for Satisfaction where so many Gentlemen were present, after the prisoner had asked for satisfaction several times and received the same answer from Ensign GARRISON, he gave Ensign GARRISON a Kick and told him that was all the satisfaction he wanted and confirmed the latter part of Lieut. AMBROSE’s Evidence respecting the fight.
Q. from the prisoner to the Evidence— What time he remained in the tent, after being desired by the Officers to go out, before Ensign GARRISON Kicked him?
The Prosecution being closed and the prisoner being put on his defence says that last Sunday seven night a Man of the Company he belongs to was confined and to remain in the quarter Guard till he was sober, that he went to the tent where Ensign GARRISON was, and some other Officers, (not knowing they were under an Arrest) to enquire for the Adjutant & was desired by Ensign GARRISON to quit the Tent,
that upon his going out he did not think the usage he had received there was proper, upon which he returned and asked the Gentlemen in a very civil manner, what was the reason of their having treated him in the manner they had done, on which Ensign GARRISON rose up and took him by the arm, and gave him a kick,
that Ensign GARRISON being then under an Arrest, he waited till he was enlarged when he walked up to Ensign GARRISON’s Marquee, and desired him to give him satisfaction for the abuse he had given him when he was under an Arrest, that Ensign GARRISON asked him what satisfaction he wanted, he told him no more than a reasonable satisfaction,
he asked the Prisoner what that was, he said only a reasonable acknowledgement, Ensign GARRISON answered he would not give it to him, and said what now do you want, then the Prisoner gave Ensign GARRISON a kick and what happened afterwards is just what has been related by the Evidences
and the Prisoner calls upon Lieut. William CONROY who being duly sworn corroborates that part of his Defence relative to the Prisoners going to the Tent to ask for the Adjutant, and further says he knows nothing of the Prisoners fighting on the parade.
The Prisoner desires the Evidence to declare what he knew of his Character; who says he knew him as a Neighbour that he bore the Character in the Country of being a very good honest farmer.
The Evidence:— Lieut. Munson HAYT being duly sworn deposeth, that he has known the Prisoner for two years and upwards and that he always bore the Character of a very honest good man in the Country, and never heard any thing to his disadvantage since he has been in the Regiment ‘till this matter was told him when he went to Camp.
Evidence— Lieut. Isaac BUNNELL being duly sworn deposeth, that he has lived with the prisoner since they came to the Camp at Kingsbridge and never saw him behave unbecoming the Character of a Gentleman.
The Court Adjourned till ten o’Clock to morrow morning and being met according to Adjournment at the hour appointed 9th Septr. 1777.
The Court having maturely considered the Evidences for and against the Prisoner is of Opinion that he is Guilty of fighting in the Encampment but not on the public Parade of the Regt. and of behaving unbecoming the Character of an Officer and a Gentleman, in breach of the 23rd Article of the 15th Section of the Articlesof War, therefore Sentence him to be cashiered.
Alured CLARKE Lt. Col.
Great Britain, Public Record Office, War Office, Class 71, Volume 84, Pages 219–223.
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