General Court Martial of Samuel Richard Wilson
[Extract of the General Court Martial whereof Major Edmund EYRE was President, held at Bedford, Long Island between 4 April 1780 -- 5 May 1780.]
Lieut. Samuel Richard WILSON of the 2nd Battalion of New Jersey Volunteers came Prisoner before the Court, accused of Disobedience of Orders and disrespectful behaviour on the Parade, to the Officer Commanding.
2nd Major John COLDEN of the 2nd Battalion of New Jersey Volunteers, being duly Sworn deposed that some time in November or December, that a requisition was sent from the Adjutant General's Office to the Commanding Officer of the Regiment, that Ensign and Adjutant LEGRANGE of the said Regiment might have leave of absence to attend the Theatre at New York;
that after the leave was granted the Duty of Adjutant was done alternately by the Subalterns of the Regiment, and Lieut. WILSON was very discontent with that duty, and endeavored to make the other Subaltern Officers so;
that upon the Regiment being ordered to Jerico, a Piquet was ordered; and Lieut. WILSON conceiving that the duty of Adjutant was easier than taking his turn of Duty, he applied to Major ANTILL (Commanding the 2d Battn. New Jersey Volunteers) to do the duty of Adjutant constantly, in consequence of which he was appointed to do that duty, untill further Orders;
that Lieut. WILSON continued doing duty as Adjutant till the 8th March, when on that day as the regiment was under arms on the Parade, Lieut. WILSON complained to him (the Witness) that a Soldier in the ranks had turned up his nose at him, and he (the Witness) told him that he was very sorry for it, and desired him to point out the man, as he would have him punished; upon which Lieut. WILSON pointed out a man, and whilst he (the Witness) was speaking to the man, Lieut. WILSON hit him a violent blow with the but end of a Bayonet that he had in his hand;
upon which he (the Witness) told Lieut. WILSON of the impropriety of striking him in that way, and especially as he (the Witness) was speaking to him; after which Lieut. WILSON went a little distance from him and came back to him (the Witness) and told him, that he resigned the appointment of Adjutant, and would do it no more; and he (the Witness) told him to do his duty to which he replied that he would not, upon which he (the Witness) was obliged to put him in Arrest.
The Witness further says that at the time that Lieut. WILSON struck the man there was not the least provocation, or cause.
Q.(By the Court)-- Does he know what was the reason of Lieut. WILSONs discontent, and endeavoring to make the other Subaltem Officers so?
Q. Was it before or after Lt. WILSONs appointment to do the duty of Adjutant?
Q.(by Lt. WILSON)-- On the 8th March when he (the Witness) Ordered him to do his duty, did not he say that he would do it then, but no longer?
Q. When the Subaltern Officers went to Major ANTILL in a Body; did not he (the Witness who being down Stairs in the same house) say that he would carry up any message to Major ANTILL; and what was the purport of it?
Q. Did not the Captain of the day on Sunday the 5th March tell him (the Witness) that the Subalterns of the Regiment had been to his Quarters and desired that he the Witness would order up the Adjutant of the Regiment, as they were tired of doing this duty?
Q.(by Lt. WILSON)-- Did not he (Lt. WILSON) desire thro Major ANTILL that the affair might be made up, and that Major COLDEN should appoint three Officers to settle it, as he would do any thing they thought proper?
Q. Did not Lt. LAMBERT or some other Officers inform him (the Witness) that the Brigade Major had said that some Officers of the Regiment, went sometimes for orders that could neither read or write?
Q. What is the Character of the Soldier that he (Lt. WILSON) struck on the Parade?
Capt. Lt. John DeMENERES being duly Sworn was examined.
Q.(by Major COLDEN)-- Does not he know that Ensign and Adjutant LEGRANGE, was absent from the Regiment by a requisition from the Commander in Chief?
Q. Does not he know that Lt. WILSON was very discontent at doing the duty of Adjutant, at the latter end of November or beginning of December; and from his conversation endeavor to make the rest of the Subaltern Officers so?
Q. Has not he heard Lt. WILSON say that it was a grievance that the duty of Adjutant should be imposed upon the Subalterns of the Regiment; whilst Ensign LEGRANGE (the Adjutant) was amusing himself at New York; and say that that [sic] they or he would Memorial the Commander in Chief?
Q. Was not he (the Witness) on the Parade on the 8th March last and what passed that day?
Q. when Lt. WILSON said "then I beg leave to resign my appointment" did not he further say, that he would do the duty no more?
Q. Did not he (the Witness) see Lt. WILSON Strike the man, whilst Major COLDEN was Speaking to him?
Q. Did he observe any provocation from the man at that time, to cause Lt. WILSON to strike him?
Q. since Lt. WILSON has been in Arrest, has not he the Witness heard him boast of his hardiness and fortitude; and that if it was any other Subaltern Officer in the Regiment they would have made some concession, and pass over the affair; or words to that purpose?
Q.(by Lt. WILSON)-- At the time that the threatening Letter was read at the Mess room, did not he Lt. WILSON say that he thought he had better resign the appointment of Adjutant?
Q.(by Major COLDEN)-- Did Lt. WILSON resign in consequence of what Major COLDEN said?
Q.(by Lt. WILSON)-- What was the Sentence passed on the three people who were tried by a Regimental Court Martial, of which he (the Witness) was President, for theft?
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Wilson Court Martial, Part 3
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