General Court Martial of Rowland Lenox
[Extract of the General Court Martial of which Lt. Col. John GUNNING was President, held in New York City between 14 April 1781 and 8 June 1781.]
Thursday April 26th 1781.
The Court being Met pursuant to Adjournment.
Samuel NOYE Inhabitant of the City of New York, a Boy of the Age of 14 Years, being duly Sworn, deposed that about Seven o'Clock in the Evening of the 17th of March, he saw two Soldiers of the Queen's Rangers fighting, and a number of People round them; that after the Battle between these two was over, the Soldiers of the Queen's Rangers began to strike and drive away the People who were standing round them, and in the Crowd, he (the Witness) saw some Sailors; that he saw the Prisoner, who had a short Sword in his hand run after one Sailor, and the Queen's Rangers after another, one of which was afterwards killed, and he saw him first kick at one of them, and afterwards strike at him, with the fist of his right hand, having the Sword in his left hand, and he heard the Prisoner afterwards say that he missed his blow; that the Sword was not drawn out of the Scabbard at the time he saw it; that a Boy belonging to the same Ship with the Man that was killed, was washing the face of one of the Queen's Rangers who had been fighting, when the Sailors came up and desired him to come away, in consequence of which one of the Queen's Rangers struck the Sailors, and they (the Sailors) then run off, in order to bring the Guard; that he (the Witness) went into a house and saw no more of the matter.
Q: Had he ever known or seen the Prisoner before the Evening of the 17th March?
Q: Is he certain that the Prisoner is the Man he saw with a Sword in his hand?
Q: How was the Man he saw with a Sword in his hand dressed?
Q: Did he not see the Prisoner dancing in the course of the day of the 17th March, with a hanger or Sword in his hand?
Q: Does he recollect on a former examination, saying that the Man had green facings to his Coat?
Q: Can he describe what sort of a Sword he saw in the Man's hand?
Q: Is the Dagger laying before the Court, the one he saw in the Man's hand?
Q: Did he see one of the Sailors knocked down?
Q: Was there only one Man in Red cloaths in the Battle?
Q: Was the Man that he saw in the battle with a Dagger in his hand, the same Man that he saw dancing in the course of the day with a dagger in his hand?
Q: Was it the Prisoner?
Upon the Witness being again questioned whether he meant to depose that, as it appeared from the first part of his testimony, that the Prisoner was absolutely and positively the Man, who ran after the Sailors with a short Sword in his hand, he answered in the Negative, but from the Prisoner's having been apprehended and brought to Tryal he supposed him to be the Man.
Hugh DAVIS Private Soldier in the 3d Battalion of Brigr. General Delancey's Brigade, being duly Sworn deposed that he did not see the Prisoner later in the day of the 17th of March than 4 o'Clock in the Afternoon, nor again till one o'Clock the next Morning, when he (the Witness) went to the Barracks and then found the Prisoner laying in his Bed; that he had enlisted the Man who was killed, about an hour before the accident happened, but knows nothing of the manner of his death or by whose hand he fell; that there was a Dagger which was carried occasionally by Serjeant TOWNER, Serjeant ENSLIE and the Prisoner who acted as drill Serjeant, but to whom it belong'd he does not know.
Q: When these several People wore this Dagger, did they do it publickly or secretly?
Q: When he (the Witness) was apprehended on account of the Murder, and brought to the Barracks, what did Samuel NOYE say upon seeing him?
Q: What did he (the Witness) say upon that occasion?
Q: Did the Prisoner in consequence of the noise made about the Murder absent himself?
Q: Was he present when the Sword was found?
Q: How then does he know that it was found under Serjeant TOWNER's bed?
Q: Where did the Prisoner lay?
Q: How was the Prisoner dressed when he saw him at 4 o'Clock in the afternoon of the 17th March?
Q: Was he naked in bed at the time he saw him at one o'Clock the next Morning?
Q: Did he (the Witness) at the time that Samuel NOYE said that he was not the Man, Answer No Sir, I am not the Man, it was LENOX of our Regiment?
Q: When Lt. ORMOND taxed him (the Witness) with being concerned in the Murder, what was his reply?
Q: Did he see the Prisoner at 4 o'Clock the afternoon before with this Dirk?
Q: Was the Dirk or Dagger in the Prisoner's hand, or in a Belt at the time he saw him in possession of it at 4 o'Clock in the afternoon?
Q: What house was he (the Witness) in, during that Evening?
Q: Were either the Prisoner or the Deceased in Company with him at this time?
Serjeant Enoch TOWER of the 3d Battn. of Brigadier Genl. Delancey's Brigade of Provincials being duly Sworn, deposed that about 7 o'Clock in the Evening of the 17th March, the Prisoner together with two of the Queen's Rangers, one of which was STOKES came into the Barracks of Delancey's Recruiting Party, where he (the Witness) then was, and asked for something to drink, and he observed and was surprised to find that they were Sober, it being St. Patrick's Night; that Stokes said that the Prisoner had said that some Man had got the bloody flux; or that he had given him the bloody flux, he (the Witness) does not remember which; that upon going out soon after he heard from some of the Neighbours that a Man had been killed, and on mentioning it on his return to the Barracks, the Prisoner said, if he ever came to life again he would remember St. Patrick's day that when LENOX came into the Room he observed that he had the Dagger in his hand;
that the next Morning Hugh DAVIS was apprehended on account of the Murder, and carried before Lt. LAWLER of the Queen's Rangers, upon which Serjeant HAMERSLEY and the Witness also went up, he (the Witness) previously bidding the Prisoner to come up likewise, which he promised to do as soon as he could be dressed; that after going up, Lt. LAWLER asked him what sort of a Weapon the Prisoner had carried the day before and upon the Witness describing it, Lt. LAWLER said that that was the sort of Weapon the Man had been killed with, and ordered him to go and bring LENOX up; that Lt. ORMOND of the Queen's Rangers went with him to the Barracks of Delancey's Recruiting Party in search of LENOX; and upon not finding him there, Lt. ORMOND charged the Witness with knowing of his having gone away, and threatned to confine him, in case he did not find him; that they found the Dagger which the Prisoner had worn the day before, laying at the foot of the Bed, in which he (the Witness) usually lay, and gave it to Lt. ORMOND, and then he (the Witness) and Serjeant TULLY of the Queen's Rangers went in search of the Prisoner, whom they found near the Ship Yard; and he was then dressed in a Blanket Coat and brown Waistcoat.
Q: When the Prisoner came into the Room about 7 o'Clock in the Evening, did he appear to be ruffled or particularly agitated?
Q: Did he go out again that Evening?
Q: How long has the Prisoner been in the Regiment and is his temper and disposition inclinable to be quarrelsome?
Q: As the Prisoner was suspected of the Murder, were his Cloaths examined the next day?
Q: Were there any appearance of Blood about him?
Q: Is the Prisoner right handed or left handed?
Q: Was the Dagger examined and found to be bloody?
Q: Was the Shirt that the Prisoner wore on that Evening the same that he had on the next Morning?
Q: Was the Shirt sleeves particularly the two Wristbands examined and any blood found upon them?
Q: Were all his Shirts and Cloaths examined?
Q: Had he any Marks of having been struck, or did his knuckles appear as if he had struck some other person?
Q: Was the Prisoner any length of time away when he went from the Barracks, and was afterwards apprehended on the Morning of the 18th of March?
Q: What did the Boy say when the Prisoner was shewn to him?
Q: Did any other Person wear the Dagger on the 17th March besides the Prisoner?
Q: Did he ever hear the Boy say that he saw the Man who gave the blow to the deceased?
Q: When the Prisoner came into the Room where he (the Witness) was, was the Dagger in his hand or hanging in the belt?
The Court Adjourned till next Morning at 10 o'Clock.
The Court being Met pursuant to Adjournment and,--
The Prisoner being put upon his Defence, said that on the 17th March he Inlisted a Recruit, who soon after got much intoxicated and went off, and he (the Prisoner) finding others of the Recruiting Party of Genl. Delancey's Corps in Liquor, he made a point of keeping himself Sober; that in the afternoon, there was a great Riot before the Barracks of the Queen's Rangers and two of them were fighting, and STOKES asked him if he would not go and see the Battle; that he went with him, rather in hopes of finding his Recruit than to see the battle, and did not go into the front of the Ring that was formed round the Combatants, but stood behind;
that the confusion encreased, and not only a great many of the Queen's Rangers became engaged with each other, but they began to strike and attack those who were standing round; that he (the Prisoner) who was standing quietly as a Spectator, said to Doctor FARRINGTON, who was standing near him, that they had better go home, as from the behaviour of the Soldiers of the Queen's Rangers, they seemed as ready to strike them as any body else; that one of the Queen's Rangers wanted to take the Dagger from him, but he would not let him have it, but retired to his Barracks early and knew nothing of the further transactions of the Evening; and calls upon Doctr. FARRINGTON to prove his peaceable behaviour during the disturbance; that he does not recollect wiping the Dagger against STOKES's hand, nor was it drawn out of the Scabbard during that day as far as he remembers.
The Court Adjourned 'till Monday Morning at 10 o'Clock.
Captain Bartholomew DOUGHARTY of the third Battn. of Brigr. General Delancey's Brigade, called upon by the Prisoner, was duly Sworn and deposed that the Prisoner was employed by him for five Months together on the Recruiting Service, and that during that time he never saw him intoxicated with Liquor or the least inclinable to be quarrelsome; that he saw the Prisoner before Sun sett on the afternoon of the 17th March last, and he was then apparently perfectly sober and remarkably clean and orderly, at the same time he saw several of the Queen's Rangers very drunk and riotous, and when he heard of the Prisoner afterwards charged with having killed a Man, he could not but be surprised and doubt the probability of it from his general peaceable deportment, and the sober condition in which he found him that Evening;
The Witness being desired to relate what he knew relative to a Weapon that has occasionally been mentioned to the Court, under the different denominations of Dagger, Couteaur de chase, and Short Sword, he deposed that this Weapon was one that he (the Witness) himself had occasionally worn publickly; that it had a green handle tipt with Silver, and the blade was about a foot long, but he has reason to believe been longer and part of it broke off; that this Weapon whatever denomination it may come under, was sent by him (the Witness) to New York, by one John HAMMERSLEY a Soldier of his Recruiting Party to get repaired; how far the Recruiting Party may have worn it, he does not know.
The Prisoner also called upon a Doctor FARRINGTON, who he said could prove the peaceableness of his behaviour on the evening of the 17th March, And the Court accordingly delayed the closing of his Tryal for several days from the probability of finding this Witness, but it being discovered that it was not to be effected, from certain information of Doctor FARRINGTON having gone to Sea, the Court closed their proceedings on this Tryal.
The Court having considered the Evidence for and against the Prisoner Rowland LENOX together with what he had to offer in his Defence, is of Opinion that he is Not Guilty of the Crime laid to his Charge, and do therefore Acquit him.
J. GUNNING Lt. Col.
Step. P. ADYE
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