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General Court Martial of John Rouse & Samuel Hutton

[Extract of the General Court Martial whereof Lieut. Colonel Henry JOHNSON was President, held at Fort Knyphausen between 15 December and 17 December 1778.]


John ROUSE & Samuel HUTTON, Private Soldiers in the Provincial Troop of Bucks County Dragoons were brought Prisoners before the Court accused of having deserted from the said Troop and the following Witnesses were examined in Support of the Accusation, vizt.


Lieut. Walter WILLETT of the same Troop being duly Sworn, deposed that he enlisted the two Prisoners at Philadelphia had them attested and gave them their Bounty Money & Cloathing; that they were Orderleys at General TRYON's or Genl. KNYPHAUSEN's on the 19th Novr. last, when they together with another Dragoon deserted from thence.

        Q: Did they take their Horses & Arms with them?

        A. Yes he believes that they took every thing with them.


James DOBSON, private Soldier in the 57th Regt. of Foot, being duly Sworn, deposed that he was posted as an advanced Sentry beyond Fort Independence about the 19th of last month, together with one FULLERTON, a Soldier in the same Regt. that about 10 O'Clock at Night the Prisoner ROUSE came riding it up to them, upon which the Witness challenged him & demanded the Countersign, that he answered a friend, but said that he had no Countersign, that he (the Witness) then asked him if he was alone; and on his answering in the Affirmative, he bid him advance; that upon his going up, he said that he came thro' the British Lines and had had several Shots fired at him; that he had rode near seven miles; & that his Comrades who came off with him had left him; he now supposed that he had got within what they called the Rebel Lines & that he (the Witness) was one of the Sentries; that his firelock not being loaded & being apprehensive that the Prisoner had Pistols, he told him that it was so, & advised him to alight, which he consented to; that he (the Witness) then called to the Corporal of the Guard, who was just then going round with the relief, and upon his coming up, gave the Prisoner in Charge to him.


John CHAMPENOISE, Husband man, being duly sworn deposed that about four or five Weeks ago, he was sent for by Colonel DELANCY, who lives about two Miles & three Quarters beyond King's Bridge, in Order to bring in the Prisoner HUTTON, whom Colonel DELANCY had apprehended near his own House, and that he accordingly brought him & delivered him up to Col: EMMERICK; the prisoner told him that he had no Intention of deserting, but in his way to New York with a Letter from Genl. TRYON, he was met by two others, who persuaded him to go off with them.

        Q: Had he his Arms with him?

        A. He had his Horse & Sword, but he does not recollect his having any other Arms.


Daniel McNEALL, Serjt. in Col. EMERICK's Corps of Chasseurs, being duly Sworn, deposed that he conducted the two Prisoners from Col. EMERICK's post to the provost; that in the Way the Prisoner HUTTON took Some Letters out of his pocket, & tore the outside Cover off; that Seeing him begin to tear them, he desired him to give them to him (the Witness) and he would tear them for him, but instead of doing so, he preserved them & gave them afterwards to the Provost Martial; that HUTTON told him that the Letters were for Genl. CLINTON, but as he had torn the Cover, he (the Witness) did not see the Direction.


The Prisoners being put upon their defence, John ROUSE said the bad usage he had received from the Qr. Master of the Troop was the cause of his going off.

The Prisoner Samuel HUTTON Said in his Defence that the Night he was Ordered to New York with Letters, the Prisoner ROUSE and another Dragoon gave him Liquor, which got into his head, and they having before agreed to go off together, persuaded him to go with them; that in passing the out Sentries, they were fired upon, & ROUSEs Horse fell with him & they there left him; that the other man's Horse being better than his, he got off & (the prisoner) went to a farm house, where he Staid all night & intended to come back again in the Morng. when he met Colonel DELANCY, to whom he told his Intentions of coming in, but he could not believe him & therefore sent the Witness CHAMPENOISE with him.


The Prisoners having called upon Lieut. WILLETT already sworn, he deposed that ROUSE always did his Duty, as well as could be expected from a Young Soldier & was very willing; that as to the Prisoner HUTTON tho' he has had occasion to find fault with him on Account of his Dress, he always found him willing to do his Duty.


The Court having considered the Evidence for and against the Prisoners John ROUSE & Samuel HUTTON, together with what they had to offer in their Defence, is of Opinion that they are Guilty of the Crime laid to their Charge, in Breach of the 1st Article of War of the 6th Section, and doth therefore Sentence John ROUSE to receive one Thousand Lashes on his bare back with Cats of Nine Tails; but Samuel HUTTON having committed the Crime of which he is found Guilty, when he was intrusted with Dispatches, the Court doth Adjudge him the said Samuel HUTTON to Suffer Death.

                                       Henry JOHNSON
                                      Lt. Col. 17th Foot & Prest.

Step: P. ADYE
  D. Judge Advocate

                       Confirmed
                         H. CLINTON



Great Britain, Public Record Office, War Office, Class 71, Volume 88, Pages 9395.

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