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General Court Martial of Charles Colbourn
Part 2 of 3

[Extract of the General Court Martial whereof Lieutenant Colonel McPHERSON was President, held at New York between 4 September and 4 October 1780.]

Capt. Wm. FOWLER of the Loyl. American Regimt. being duly Sworn deposed, that he was Ordered with Major BARCLAY and Ensign ROBINSON to inspect the Regimntl. Accounts and know what Quantity of Rum was in Store that had been stopp’d from the Sick, and to settle the Accounts of the Regiment with Lt. COLBOURN; that the Rum Account was settled;

and as there was a deficiency in the Account Lt. COLBOURN went away and said he would draw out another, and when he came back he said that he had left it at his own Room;

that he (the Witness) then asked Major BARCLAY if there was any occasion for his Waiting, and he answered No, that he would get it of Lt. COLBOURN;

The Witness further says that the next Morning or some short time after, Major BARCLAY showed him (the Witness) an Account signed by Lt. COLBOURN, by which he made the Regiment indebted to him £ 18. Odd.

        Q:(by the Court)— From the Account that he (the Witness) saw, did he suppose that the Regimt. was actually indebted to Lt. COLBOURN the £ 18. Odd?

        A. Yes; as Lt. COLBOURN told him the day before that the Regimt. was indebted to him.

        Q: Did he conceive that, that Account with the Regimt. was final?

        A. Yes.

        Q:(by Major BARCLAY)— In the Conversation that passed between him (the Witness) and Lt. COLBOURN relative to the paying for the Serjeants hats; did not Lt. COLBOURN tell him, that he had no Money of the Regimt. in his Hands to pay for them?

        A. Yes.

        Q: When did this Conversation happen?

        A. Just before the 15th August.

        Q: Does not he (the Witness) know that the Measure that the Rum was delivered out by was too small; and has not he had Complaints from the Soldiers on that Account?

        A. He had frequent Complaints from the Soldiers that the Measure was too small; and when he (the Witness) was Ordered to take an Inventory of the Stores, he found in the Quarter Master’s Store a quart Measure that was a full Jill too short.

        Q:(by the Court)— Does he (the Witness) know whether the Soldiers Rum was delivered out by that quart Measure?

        A. He does not know whether it was, or not.

        Q:(by Lt. COLBOURN)— Did not he (Lt. COLBOURN) tell him one day, some time before the 15th August last; that he should be very glad if Lt. Colonel ROBINSON would appoint some Officer to receive the Regimental Money of him, as he (the Witness) did not like to keep it, as he found that he lost by it?

        A. He recollects that some time about the 15th August Lt. COLBOURN told him that he wished Lt. Col. ROBINSON would appoint some Officer to take care of the Sick Mens Rum, but does not remember that he mentioned the Regiments Money.

        Q: Has not he (the Witness) often told Lt. COLBOURN that he never intended giving up any Contingent Money for the Use of the Regimt.; and hear other Officers declare the same, as they did not see that they got any thing by it?

        A. Yes—As they did not find that the Soldiers thank’d them for it, or did any better than the Soldiers of other Regiments who had not the Contingencies given to them.

        Q:(by Major BARCLAY)— Did he (the Witness) ever order Lt. COLBOURN (the Quarter Master) not to pay any such Contingent Monies to the Order of the Commanding Officer of the Regiment?

        A. No.

        Q: Did Lt. COLBOURN ever inform him (the Witness) of his having received the Money for the deficient Wood, before that he was put in Arrest?

        A. No.

The Court Adjourned till Thursday Morning 10 o’Clock the 14th Septr. 1780.

The Court being Met pursuant to Adjournment On Account of the Indisposition of one of the Members, The Court Adjourned till friday Morning 10 o’clock.

Friday the 15th Septembr. 1780

The Court being Met pursuant to Adjournment.

Theodore VALLEAU Quarter Master’s Serjeant to the Loyl. American Regimt. being duly Sworn was Examined.

        Q:(by Major BARCLAY)— Is the Measure that is produced in Court the One that the Rum was delivered out by to the Loyl. American Regimt. as a Quart Measure, during the time that Lt. COLBOURN was Quartr. Master?

        A. Yes—; A Quart Measure from the issuing Office being produced, and Upon the Measure being Examined it appears to the Court that there is a difference of three fourths of a Gill between the two Measures.

        Q: Was the Rum always delivered out by that Measure?

        A. Yes, ever since he has Acted as Qr. Master Serjt.

        Q: How long as he Acted?

        A. Since last September.

        Q:(by Lt. COLBOURN)— Did not Capt. FOWLER after purchasing that New Measure tell him (the Witness) it was too large, and directed him not to fill it?

        A. Yes.

        Q: Does he imagine that he issued to the Soldiers more Rum in the Old than in the New Measure?

        A. He cannot exactly say, but believes that it was nearly the same.

Captain William FOWLER already Sworn, was again called in and Examined.

        Q:(by Major BARCLAY)— What quantity did he (the Witness) desire the Quarter Master’s Serjeant to deduct from the New Measure?

        A. A Gill out of a Gallon.

        Q: At the time that Lt. COLBOURN paid him (the Witness) his Utensil Money, did he give him his proportion of the deficient Wood Money, or any information that he had received the same?

        A. No.

        Q: When did he (the Witness) receive his Utensil Money?

        A. On or about the 18th July.

        Q:(by the Court)— Did he know that Lt. COLBOURN had recd. the deficient Wood Money, previous to the Examining of his Accounts?

        A. He was informed the same day of the Examination, that he had received it; but does not remember whether it was before, or after.

        Q:(by Lt. COLBOURN)— At the time that he (Lt. COLBOURN) paid him the Utensil Money, did not he tell him (the Witness) that in a few days that he would pay him some Money that he did not expect?

        A. Not that he remembers.

Major BARCLAY begs leave to inform the Court before the Prosecution is closed that a few Moments before Lt. COLBOURN was put in Arrest he (the Witness) asked him if he had ever informed any Officer of the Regimt. of his having received the deficient Wood Money and desired him (Lt. COLBOURN) if he had, to Name who it was; & he (Lt. COLBOURN) Answered that he had never informed any Officer that he recollected.

The Court Adjourned till Saturday Morning 10 o’Clock.

Click here for ---> Colbourn Court Martial, Part 1

                               Colbourn Court Martial, Part 3

Great Britain, Public Record Office, War Office, Class 71, Volume 92, Pages 343–356.

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