General Court Martial of Ensign Garrison
At a General Court Martial held at Fort Kniphausen, on Monday the 8th of Septemr. 1777, By Virtue of a Warrant from His Excellency The Honble Sr. Wm. HOWE K.B. General and Commander in Chief of all His Majesty’s Forces within the Colonies laying on the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to West Florida inclusive &ca &ca &ca bearing date 17th July 1777.
The President and Members being met and duly sworn, the Deputy Judge Advocate being likewise sworn, proceed to trial.
Prisoner Ensign GARRISON of the Prince of Wales’s American Volunteers was brought before the Court, and charged with fighting upon the public Parade and behaving unbecoming the Character of an Officer and Gentleman.
Evidence Lieut. Isaac BUNNELL being duly sworn, deposeth, that some day last week, Ensign LEECH came to his Marquee, and said he must settle the dispute between him and Ensign GARRISON
that a short time after he went out of his Tent, and saw the Prisoner and Ensign LEECH fighting, between the Soldiers and Officer’s Tents,
the Prisoner asked Ensign LEECH if he was satisfied, who answered that he had got his recompence in some measure.
Q. from the Court— Whether in any other instance, than he has related, he knows any thing of the prisoners behaving unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman.
Q. from the Prisoner— Whether he saw Ensign LEECH come between the Tents of the Encampment & kick him?
Evidence. Lieutenant Josiah WHEELER being duly sworn deposeth, that about a Week ago he saw Ensign LEECH Kick the prisoner, upon which the prisoner having a Stick in his hand returned a Blow and several Blows passed between them with the Stick and fists.
Q. from the Prisoner— Whether he saw him strike Ensign LEECH with his fist, untill Ensign LEECH had closed with him, and had him by the Collar of his Shirt?
Q. from the Prisoner— Whether he heard any conversation between him, and Ensign LEECH previous to his kicking of him, and what was the purport of it?
The Prosecution being closed and the Prisoner put on his defence says, that about the fourth of this Month, Ensign LEECH came to him in the Street of the Encampment and told him he wanted satisfaction,
he answered he was willing to give him every Gentlemanlike satisfaction he could desire, but his being in company with two other Gentlemen, that was not the time to come to him for satisfaction.
Upon the Prisoners telling him, he would give him any Satisfaction, Ensign LEECH gave him a kick, and immediately after he (the Prisoner) gave him a Stroke with the Rattan,
Ensign LEECH closed with him, and seized him by the Shirt Collar and Jacket, upon which he was under the Necessity of striking him with his fist, in order to extricate himself, as he had no small Arms on.
The Prisoner calls on Lieut. Michael AMBROSE, who being duly sworn deposeth, that on the 3rd of this Month to the best of his Recollection, he was standing with the prisoner at the door of his Marquee, when Ensign LEECH came up to him, and demanded Satisfaction for some previous affront.
The Prisoner told Ensign LEECH that if he called upon him as a Gentleman, he would give him any satisfaction at any time or place he thought proper, that he looked upon it as a mark of his Cowardice to call on him in so public a place,
upon which Ensign LEECH kicked the prisoner who had no side Arms on, but struck Ensign LEECH with a small stick he had in his hand, Ensign LEECH then collared the prisoner, and tore his Shirt;
the Prisoner then dropped his Stick and Struck him with his fist, and as soon as the prisoner was disengaged from Ensign LEECH he did not offer to strike him again, and the Prisoner desired Ensign LEECH to keep at a distance or he should be obliged to give him a severe beating.
Q. from the Court— Whether in the course of the Transaction he was present at, he saw any thing unbecoming the Character of an Officer and a Gentleman in the behaviour of the Prisoner?
The Prisoner as a further Evidence calls on Ensign Patrick GARRETT who being duly sworn deposeth and corroborated nearly to the same purport of the above Evidence.
Lieut. Michael AMBROSE being called a Second time was asked by the Court, whether Ensign LEECH had his side Arms on?
Lieut. Col. PATTINSON being called upon by the Prisoner, and being duly sworn, being questioned by the Prisoner whether he ever knew him behave unbecoming the Character of an Officer and a Gentleman? deposeth that the prisoner has been on Actual Service with him, and did his Duty as an Obedient and gallant Officer.
Lieut. AMBROSE being called upon by the Court to explain what the previous Affront was that he alluded to in his Evidence further deposeth that he was with Ensign GARRISON in his Tent some day before the 3rd of this Month, who was then under an Arrest.
That Ensign LEECH came into Ensign GARRISON’s Tent to enquire for the Adjutant.
The Prisoner answered he was not there, and desired Ensign LEECH to leave his Tent, as his Company was not agreeable to him; upon which Ensign LEECH left the Tent.
And in a few minutes after Returned and told the prisoner he must have Resentment for his treatment of him. The Prisoner told him again to quit the Tent, and call on him another time, that he was then in arrest.
Ensign LEECH not going out, so soon as the Prisoner expected, he got up, and took Ensign LEECH by the arm and gave him a kick.
Q. from the prisoner to Lieut. AMBROSE— Did you conceive what I said to Ensign LEECH when he came first into the Tent to be meant as an Affront?
The Court after 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 Regiment.
But it appearing to the Court, that it was in his own Defence on being assaulted by Ensign LEECH, acquit him of that part of the Charge.
And the Court is further of Opinion, that he is not Guilty of behaving unbecoming the Character of an Officer and a Gentleman, therefore Acquit him of the whole Charges brought against him.
Great Britain, Public Record Office, War Office, Class 71, Volume 84, Pages 215–219.
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