General Court Martial of
Head Quarters Pensacola in the Province of West Florida 6th July 1780.
Proceedings of a General Court Martial held by Order of Major General John CAMPBELL commanding His Majestys Forces in West Florida; by Virtue of a Warrant from His Excellency Sir Henry CLINTON Knight of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath, General and Commander in Chief of all His Majestys Forces within the Colonies laying on the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to West Florida inclusive &c. &c. &c.
The President and Members being met and being duly Sworn, the Deputy Judge Advocate being also Sworn, and the President’s and Deputy Judge Advocate’s Warrants being read, the Court proceeded as follows.
Prisoners— Captains Thomas STEPHENS and Caleb JONES both of the United Corps of Pensylvania and Maryland Loyalists arrested by Lieut. Colonel William ALLEN Commandant of said Corps for Disobedience of Orders on the Parade in the Face of the Battalion when under Arms.
The Prisoners being Arraigned plead Not Guilty.
Evidence— Lieut. Colonel William ALLEN being duly Sworn deposeth that on Monday last the 3rd Instant, immediately after the General Orders were given for a Feu de Joy, on Account of the taking of Charles Town, to be fired in the Evening, he gave out a Battallion Order that all the Men off Duty should parade at Six o’Clock in the Evening, and that all Officers and Servants should attend.
As the Prisoners Captns. STEPHENS and JONES had had his Permission, before the General Orders came out, to leave Camp, and happening afterwards to meet them at about Two o’Clock, informed them of the General and Battallion Orders.
In the Evening while the Battallion was parading at about Six o’Clock Mr. STERLING Adjutant of the Regiment of Waldeck came to him with Colonel DEHANXLEDEN’s Orders to March up the Battallion as soon as possible, the Rest of the Troops having taken their Ground:
he (the Evidence) then desired Lieut. and Adjutant CURRIE of the Battalion to fall in the Men without attending to the different Companies, placing the best dressed Men in the Front; that the Battallion might make a good Appearance,
which being done, and Lieut. CURRIE having by his Directions told off the Battallion into Divisions he then Ordered Captn. KEARNEY as the Oldest Captain to take the Right of the Battallion, and Captain STEPHENS to take the Left, who replied he would not choose to do it, as he was a Light Infantry Officer:
as Col. DEHANXLEDEN had sent for the Battallion, and not choosing that any Altercation should delay the Marching of it, he told Captain STEPHENS if he did not choose it, he need not fall in.
He then desired Captain JONES to take the Left of the Battallion, he made no Answer, he then told the Adjutant to order Captain JONES to take the Left of the Battallion who informed him that Captain JONES said he would not;
he (the Evidence) then in a very cool, and in as polite a Manner as he was capable of, desired Captain JONES take the Left of the Battallion:
Captain JONES then came up nearer to him (the Evidence) having taken off his Sash, directly after Captain STEPHENS had made the aforementioned Answer, and told him he would not choose to do it:
with the same Coolness, with his Hat in his Hand he again desired Captain JONES to take the Left of the Battallion;
he replied he would not choose to do it, as he was a Light Infantry Officer; he told Captain JONES, whether he did or did not choose it was not the Point, that it was his positive Order that he should take the Left of the Battallion, and to tell him whether he would or not, he replied no, I do not choose to do it as I am a Light Infantry Officer.
He (the Evidence) then Ordered him immediately to his Hut into Arrest:
it then clearly appearing to him to have been a Measure concerted between Captain STEPHENS and Captain JONES, he immediately ordered Captn. STEPHENS to take the Left of the Battallion;
he replied that he would not choose to do it;
he (the Evidence) told him that whether he would choose it or not was not the Point, that it was his positive Orders that he should take the Left of the Battallion, and to tell him whether he would or not;
he answered no, I do not choose it;
on which he ordered him immediately into Arrest, which he reported to Colonel DEHANXLEDEN that Evening and to the General next Morning.
Evidence— Major John DELANEY of the United Corps of Pensylvania and Maryland Loyalists being duly Sworn deposeth that on the 3rd of July at about Six o’Clock in the Evening when the Regiment was fallen in and told off, the Adjutant of the Regiment of Waldeck came with Orders from Colonel DEHANXLEDEN to Lieut. Colonel ALLEN to march the Regiment up as soon as possible, as the Rest of the Line was formed.
Lieut. Colonel ALLEN then Ordered Captain KEARNEY to take the right of the Regiment, and Captain STEPHENS to take the Left.
Captain STEPHENS, as well as he can recollect made Answer, that he was a Light Infantry Officer and wished to be excused and asserted a claim to the Right of the Regiment;
Colonel ALLEN said he believed there were Officers enough without him, upon which Captain STEPHENS stepped back about three or four Paces;
Captain JONES then took off his Sash before Lieut. Colonel ALLEN spoke to him;
Colonel ALLEN turned about to Captain JONES and desired him to take the Left of the Regiment; he answered he desired to be excused;
upon which he (the Evidence) exclaimed, my God! Sir! can you suffer this on your Parade; on which Colonel ALLEN sent Lieut. CURRIE to Captain JONES,
the Evidence did not hear the Answer Lieut. CURRIE brought to him; but Colonel ALLEN said to Captain JONES, it is not a Matter of choice, I order you to fall in, Captain JONES refused and Colonel ALLEN ordered him to his Hut:
he (Colonel ALLEN) then turned to Captain STEVENS and ordered him to take the Left, who likewise refused and Colonel ALLEN ordered him to his Hut.
Evidence— Captain KEY of the United Corps of Pensylvania and Maryland Loyalists being duly Sworn deposeth that on the 3rd of July in Consequence of Battallion Orders all Officers off Duty, were Ordered to attend the Parade at Six o’Clock in the Evening;
the Evidence attended, and standing within about a Yard of Lieutenant Coll. ALLEN he heard him order Lieut. and Adjutant CURRIE in falling in of the Men to pay particular Attention that the Men who were best dressed and appeared to most Advantage under Arms, should be upon the Right and in Front.
After Lieut. CURRIE went to the Colonel, he (the Evidence) saw Captn. KEARNEY with his Sash and Side Arms advance and speak to the Colonel;
he did not hear the Words, but saw Captain KEARNEY turn round, draw his Sword and take his Post on the Right of the Battallion;
the Colonel then called to Captain STEPHENS and taking off his Hat, very politely told him to take his Post on the Left of the Battallion;
Captain STEPHENS made Answer he would not choose it, that he was a Light Infantry Captain and thought he should be on the Right.
The Colonel then spoke to Captn. STEPHENS, but the Evidence does not know what he said, but Captain STEPHENS fell back a few Paces.
The Colonel then called to Captain JONES, who when he was coming to the Colonel pulled off his Sash and put it in his Pocket;
the Colonel then told him to take his Post on the Left; Captn. JONES told him he begged to be excused; that he was a Light Infantry Captain, and that he would not choose to take the Left:
the Colonel told him it was not a matter of choice that he ordered him to take his Post on the Left, Captain JONES told him no and begged he would excuse him, the Coll. immediately ordered him into Arrest and turning to Captain Stephens ordered him to take the Left;
Captain STEPHENS replied no I had rather not, I cannot think of doing it, on which the Colonel ordered him into Arrest, and told them both to go to their Huts.
Evidence— Ensign and Adjutant STIERLING of the Regiment of Waldeck being duly sworn deposeth, that on the 3rd July in the Evening he was sent by Colonel DEHANXLEDEN to Lieut. Colonel ALLEN to march his Battallion to join the other Troops on the Hill:
he heard Colonel ALLEN alternately order Captains STEPHENS and JONES to take Post on the Left: did not hear their Answers, but observed that the Orders were not complied with, and that Colonel ALLEN had ordered them into Arrest.
Lieut. Coll. ALLEN desires this Evidence may be asked what Answer Captains JONES and STEPHENS made to him, when he asked them whether they were to be out with the Battn in the Evening.
Evidence— Lieutenant and Adjutant CURRIE of the United Corps of Pensylvania and Maryland Loyalists being duly Sworn deposeth that on the 3rd of July there was an Order given that all Officers off Duty should attend the Regimental Parade at Six o’Clock in the Evening, that Officers commanding Companies should see that their Men were well dressed with their new Cloaths on.
At the Hour appointed he fell in the Battallion, was Ordered by the Colonel to put the best Men on the Right and in the Front: the Rear was composed chiefly of the three Battallion Companies; the Battallion was told off into six Divisions; the Coll. then Ordered him to desire the Officers to take their Posts:
the Colonel himself had ordered Captain KEARNEY to take the Right, he then turned to Captain STEPHENS and asked him if he would be so obliging as to take Post on the Left, he answered he would rather not:
the Colonel then told him there were other Captains enough without him, and ordered him (the Evidence) to tell Captain JONES to fall in on the Left, which he did,
Captain JONES answered he did not choose to do it; and walked up towards the Colonel with his Sash in his Hand, the Colonel then told him to fall in on the Left, he answered he did not choose to do it; the Colonel ordered him to his Room into Arrest.
The Colonel then Asked Captain STEPHENS if he would fall in on the Left, he answered no, he was a Light Infantry Captain
the Colo. then told him to go to his Room.
Evidence— Ensign Cortland TODD of the United Corps of Pensylvania and Maryland Loyalists being duly Sworn deposeth that in Consequence of the Battallion Orders of the 3rd of July for all Officers off Duty to attend the Parade he was there, and when the Battallion was told off the Colonel desired Captain KEARNEY to take the Right which he immediately did,
he then desired, Captain STEPHENS to take the Left, Captain STEPHENS said he would rather not, that he was a Light Infantry Officer and ought to be on the Right and would be glad the Colonel would excuse his going out,
the Colonel then said there were other Officers and Called Captain JONES who was on the Left of the Parade:
When the Colonel called Captain JONES he immediately took off his Sash and came to the Colonel with it either in his Pocket or behind his Back does not know which;
the Colonel then politely desired him to take the Left of the Battallion; Captn. JONES said he did not choose to do it; the Colonel then said it is not your choice I order you immediately to take your Post on the Left of the Battallion;
Captain JONES then said, no Sir, I do not choose to do it;
the Colonel then Ordered him into Arrest and desired Captain STEPHENS to take his Post on the Left:
Captn. STEPHENS said he did not choose to take the Left;
the Colonel then Ordered him to take his Post on the Left of the Battallion immediately Captain STEPHENS said No, I will not choose to do it; the Colonel then Ordered him into Arrest.
Q: From Lieut. Coll. ALLEN to Ensign TODD— Did Captain JONES make a Plea of his being a Light Infantry Officer?
The Court adjourned till Saturday Morning at ten o’Clock.
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