General Court Martial of John Bayard
Proceedings of a General Court Martial held at New York, on Monday March 23d 1778, By Warrant from his Excellency the Honorable Sir William Howe Commander in Chief &c &c &c
Robert BOOTH private Soldier in the same Regt. Duly Sworn deposeth. That on March the 10th in the Evening between 8 & 9 o’Clock, one Mr. RALL hearing a noise ordered the Deponent to go out, on which he went out, and saw Col. BAYARD, Capt: COFFIN and Lieut: BIRD quarreling; and making a terrible noise, that he heard Lieut: BIRD call Col: BAYARD several times Rascal, and saw him strike Col. BAYARD with a Stick several times very violently. Col. BAYARD Stept back as the deponent thought, to skreen another blow, when he heard Lieut: BIRD call out, he was hurt very much, and Capt. COFFIN took him by the Arm and led him to the Doctor’s room and further deposeth not.
Q. from the Court— Did you hear any thing else that passed, besides the words made use of by Lieut: BIRD?
Q. Did you see Lieut. Col. BAYARD strike Lieut: BIRD?
Q. If Lieut. Col. BAYARD had struck Lieut: BIRD cou’d you have seen it?
Q. Did you observe whether Lieut: BIRD had a Sword by his Side or in his hand?
Had Capt: COFFIN a Sword on?
Did Capt: COFFIN endeavor to seperate Lieut. Col. BAYARD and Lieut: BIRD, or what part he appeared to Act?
What sort of Light was it at that time?
Did you suppose from the conversations you heard pass, that Lieut. Col. BAYARD had struck Lieut: BIRD before you came up to the parties?
Captain James BRACE of the same Regt. Duly Sworn deposeth.
Do you know the Evidence Robert BOOTH, what is his general Character?
Captain BURGES already Sworn.
Was you in the Coffee house with the Prisoner when he ordered Lieut. BIRD to join the Regt.
What past at the Coffee house in consequence of Prisoner’s giving said Order?
Lt. Colonel Alexander INNIS Inspector General of the Provincial Forces duly Sworn, deposeth. That he did not know Mr. BIRD personally, tho’ he knew him to be an Officer in Col. Bayard’s Corps, and always understood he was brought into the Corps by Col. BAYARD, who seem’d to be very urgent always to further him in said Corps, and took a very active part for his promotion and Interest, Recommending him for a Lieutenancy in the last promotions which were sent to Sir William HOWE.
Mr. Nathaniel THOMAS duly Sworn Deposeth. That Mr. BIRD came one Evening to the Deponent’s Lodgings, and appeared to be very angry, being ask’d the cause by a Mr. WHITE who was also there, he reply’d, he had quarreled with Col. BAYARD, and that Col. BAYARD was a damn’d Rascal and had treated him very ill, for that he had the Surgeon’s Certificate in his Pocket, which he produced to Col: BAYARD, but he still insisted on his joining the Regt., which he refused, that he would not join it for Col. BAYARD nor any man. He also said the next time Col. BAYARD insulted him, he would take a Cane in one hand and his Sword in the other, and Cane Col. BAYARD at the point of his Sword and then he would be forced to fight him.
Did you know of any Cause of dispute between the partys, prior to this conversation.
Captain BURGESS called in again.
Did Mr. BIRD produce or shew any Certificate to Col. BAYARD in the Coffee house, when he ordered him to join the Regt.?
Frederick PHILIPSE Esqr. Duly Sworn.
What did Lieut. BIRD relate at your house to the prejudice of the Prisoner, and what reasons did he assign for it?
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Court,
The Court Adjourned to Saturday at 12 o’Clock.
The Court met according to Adjournment & having compared the fair Proceedings with the foul Copy, and considered the Evidences, the following Questions were put by the Judge Advocate.
First Question on the fact.
To be revised
The Court met according to Order to revise their Proceedings—Adjourn’d at three o’Clock to the following day.
The Court met according to Adjournment and having duly revised the Sentence they had given, are of opinion that according to Circumstances, the distinction of the Law being thoroughly considered, they could not have acted otherwise. Yet laying those distinctions aside, and acting entirely as a Military Court; they are of opinion the Prisoner Lieut. Col. BAYARD, is Guilty of wounding Lieut. Col. BIRD, of which wound He died. And do therefore Sentence him to be Cashier’d as Lieut. Colonel of the Orange Rangers.
Click here for ---> Bayard Court Martial, Part 1
Bayard Court Martial, Part 2
Click here for ---> More On-Line Courts Martial