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General Court Martial of Anthony Allaire
Part 1 of 4

At a General Court Martial held at Charles Town in the Province of South Carolina on Wednesday the 28th day of March 1781 and continued by Adjournment, to Saturday the 31st day of March 1781, by Virtue of a Warrant bearing date the 24th day of March 1781 from His Excellency Sir Henry Clinton Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, General & Commander in Chief of All His Majesty's Forces within the Colonies laying upon the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to West Florida inclusive &c. &c. &c.

Major Archibald McARTHUR 1st Battn. 71st Regiment President
Major NEWMARSH 7th Foot
Major GRANT K. A. Regiment
Major CARDEN P. W. A. Regt.
Capt. McLEAN 2d Bn. 84th Regiment
Capt. McENTOSH 2d Battn. 71st Regt.
Capt. BAIN 1st Bn. 60th Regt.
Capt. STRONG 64th Regimt.
Capt. H. MUNRO 1st Bn. 71st Regt.
Capt. Hugh CAMPBELL 1st Bn. 71st Regt.
Capt. McLEOD 1st Bn. 71st Regt.
Capt. JAMES British Legion
Capt. McPHERSON British Legion

Captn. John BLUCKE of His Majesty's 23d Regt. of Foot Deputy
Judge Advocate.

The President Members & Deputy Judge Advocate being duly Sworn.

Lieutenant Anthony ALLAIRE of the Loyal American Regiment was brought Prisoner before the Court, and Accused of the Willfull Murder of Ensn. Robert KEATING of the Prince of Wales's American Regiment on the 24th day of March 1781.

The following Deposition of the Deceased was laid before the Court Vizt.

The Deposition of Ensign Robert KEATING of the Prince of Wales's American Regiment Charles Town 24th of March 1781.

Ensign Robert KEATING being duly Sworn upon the Holy Evangelists deposed that this day between the Hours of One and Two in the Afternoon nearly opposite to his own Door in Meeting Street he met Lieut. ALLAIRE of the Loyal Americans who demanded immediate satisfaction for the ill treatment he gave him at HICKS's Shop in Broad Street that he (the Deponent) informed him he had already acquainted the Commandant with the Nature of the Ouarrel between them, and had nothing farther to say to him upon the Matter-- Upon which Mr. ALAIR told him he was a damned Rascal-- That he (Dept.) lifted his Cane & made a Stroke at him & Mr. ALLAIR lifted up his Cane with one Hand, & with the other took a Pistol from his Pocket & shot him in the Body.-- He further adds the Pistol was close to his Body when fired, or about two foot from it.

Sworn before me at Charles Town this 24th day of March 1781.
(Signed) J BLUCKE
Depy. Judge Advocate

Witness our Hands
     (Signed) John McNamara HAYES
     (Signed) Robert MADGETT Lieut. Carolina Rangers South Carolina

Lieutenant Michael AMBROSE of the Prince of Wales's American Regiment being duly Sworn deposed, that on the 24th day of this instant Month March, about 2 o'Clock in the Afternoon he was Walking with the deceased from Major CARDEN's Quarters towards his own, when they met Lt. ALLAIRE with another Officer at a little distance from the Quarters of the Deceased in Meeting Street; that Lieut. ALLAIR stepped up and told the Deceased he was now convinced he was no longer a Prisoner of Warr, and demanded immediate satisfaction from him for his treatment to him in the Morning--

that the Deceased asked him if he would have it on that Spot, and Lt. ALLAIR answered "any where" that during the above Conversation they were Walking on, and when near the door of the Deceased's House, the Deceased told him he had already reported the matter to the Commandant, & had nothing farther to say to him upon it. That Lt. ALLAIRE then told him he was a Damned Rascal upon which the Deceased lifted his Cane and made a stroke at him, which Lieut. ALLAIRE opposed with his Cane, step't back, took a Pistol from his Pocket and shot him.

        Q.(By the Court) When he made the Blow did Lieut. ALLAIRE receive one from him?

        A. Both Canes were opposed to each other, but I cannot tell if the deceased struck Lieut. ALLAIRE.

        Q.(By the Court) Had the deceased a Sword on at the time?

        A. No.

        Q.(By Do.) Do you recollect if any Offer was made by Lieut. ALLAIRE of a Pistol, or was any Pistol shewn prior to it's being fired?

        A. I do not.

        Q.(By Do.) Did you see any Stroke made or blow given to the deceased by Lieut. ALLAIR?

        A. I believe he made Strokes at him, as it appeared to me he returned the Blow.

        Q.(By the Court) At what distance was Lieut. ALLAIR from the deceased when he fired the Pistol?

        A. He step't back one pace, & stooped forwards, and I think the Muzzle of the Pistol was not above two feet from his Body when fired.

        Q.(By the Prisr.) Did you & the Deceased not come out in the Morning with a view of meeting me, or what were your intentions?

        A. Yes, & the deceased's intentions were to Cane you for the insult he had received on the 17th March from you.

        Q.(By Do.) Did you hear the Deceased give Orders to a Soldier to follow him with a Sword?

        A. I did.

        Q.(By the Court) Was the Soldier with you and the Deceased when you met Lieut. ALLAIR?

        A. Yes, in the Morning, but not at the time the Deceased was Shot.

        Q.(By do.) How early did you first go out in the Morning?

        A. About Eleven o'Clock.

        Q.(By do.) And did the deceased at that time go to the Commandants?

        A. I believe he went to the Town Majors to Complain and not to the Commandants, and from that he went to look for Lieut. ALLAIR at Mr. HICKS's, being informed he was there.

        Q.(By the Court) Was you present at all the Conversation that happened at HICKS's between the Deceased & Lieut. ALLAIR?

        A. I was.

        Q.(By the Court) Will you inform the Court of the Conversation that passed at HICKS's between the Prisoner & the Deceased?

        A. I don't recollect any conversation passed prior to the Deceased's striking Lieut. ALLAIR in the Shop, (which was done on his going in) they had some Scuffle in the Street with their Sticks, & the Deceased told the Soldier to give him the Sword, which was done drawn, the deceased then presented it towards Lieut. ALLAIR, and desired him to draw, saying at the same time "You would not fight me because I was a Prisoner of War, hey! " That Lieut. ALLAIR did not draw his Sword, and the Deceased returned his Sword to the Soldier and went home.

        Q.(By the Court) What kind of Sword was it that the Soldier had? and also Lieut. ALLAIR?

        A. The Soldier had a small Sword, and I think Lieut. ALLAIR a Hanger but am not certain.

        Q.(By the Prisr.) Did you hear the Deceased give the Soldier any directions respecting the Sword previous to your going out to meet me, and what were they?

        A. I did, and he told the Soldier should he perceive there was any necessity for it, he should draw it and hand it to him.

        Q.(By the Court) Did you see the Deceased make Lunges at Lieut. ALLAIR?

        A. I saw him pursue him some distance with his Sword extended near HICKS's.

Mr. BRAMARE Inhabitant of Charles Town was called before the Court, and being duly Sworn, deposed that on Saturday last between One and two o'Clock in the Afternoon he saw Ensign KEATING, Lieut. AMBROSE, the Prisoner and Another Officer walking towards his house at the Door of which he was standing--

that having heard Mr. KEATING and the Prisoner had had a fracas that Morning, he was very particular in observing them. That the Party came near to where he was standing, when he heard the Prisoner say, "Then you are a Damned Rascal" Upon which the Deceased raised his Cane and struck the Prisoner on his Head. That the Prisoner then opposed him with his Cane, stept back, drew a Pistol from his Pocket, and shot the Deceased in the lower part of the Belly.

        Q.(By the Court) Had Lieut. ALLAIR a Sword on?

        A. I think he had a Couteau on.

        Q.(By do.) Had the deceased a Sword on or any other Weapon than his Cane upon him to your knowledge?

        A. No, not to my knowledge.

        Q.(By do.) Did Lieut. ALLAIR speak to the deceased after he had Shot him?

        A. No, not a Syllable as I heard.

        Q.(By do.) Did you see two Pistols about Lieut. ALLAIR, and was there any Offer of one made to the deceased?

        A. I only saw one Pistol at the time which was the one that was fired, and I saw no Offer made of any to the Deceased.

Surgeon George CARTER Inhabitant of Charles Town was called before the Court and being duly Sworn deposed that on the 17th day of this instant Month of March, he dined at Yorks Tavern in Company with the deceased Ensign KEATING, Lieut. ALLAIR and other People, that in the Evening he with part of the Company retired to another Room-- That a Person came in and called out that there were two Gentlemen murdering each other at the Door--

That he immediately with the other part of the Company went out, and in the Street he found Lieut. ALLAIR and the Deceased on the Ground & scuffling and Mr. ALLAIR rather above the Deceased-- That he (the Witness) immediately threw himself forwards towards the Deceased in Order to prevent any Blows being made, That he then raised the deceased from the Ground and carried him into the House.

That as he was going to the House, the Deceased asked him for his Sword which he refused not knowing the nature of their dispute and (having seen no Sword) he believed Lieut. ALLAIRE was unarmed.

That the Deceased wrested the Sword from him, drew it, and shaking it, call'd out to Lieut. ALLAIR, saying "Now come in and shew yourself like a Gentleman" or Words to that effect. That Lieut. ALLAIR made no Answer to the Deceased, but went off down an Alley.--

That he (the Witness) then advised the Deceased to go into a Room, where he examined some Wounds upon him given either by a Stick or Fist, as he thought, but they were of a slight Nature.

        Q.(By the Court) Do you think the Prisoner had a Sword on?

        A. I did not perceive he had.

Lieut. Peter DUNWORTH of the South Carolina Royalists was called before the Court and being duly Sworn deposed that in Consequence of a dispute between the Deceased and Lieut. ALLAIR on the 17th March, some Gentlemen who dined in their Company that day and himself one of the Number, were called together at Ensign KEATINGS Quarters,-- as it appeared the Deceased and Lieut. ALLAIR had agreed that those Gentlemen and himself should meet to settle the dispute between him and Lieutenant ALLAIR, and that whatever they proposed was to be done by either party.--

That in Consequence of the Meeting, the deceased and Lieut. ALLAIR were desired to tell what each had done on the Night of the 17th and the Cause of the dispute, which they did--

That himself and the above Gentlemen found that Lieut. ALLAIR had behaved ill to the Deceased, and therefore he (the Dept.) was Ordered to go and inform Lieutenant ALLAIR it was thought right that he should make Concession to and beg the Deceased's Pardon for what he had done.

That Lieut. ALLAIR said he would acknowledge his fault to Mr. KEATING, but would not beg his Pardon as it happened at a Drunken Frolick in consequence of which he (the Dept.) delivered Lieut. ALLAIR's proposal to the Gentlemen which was not accepted of.--

That on the same Evening the Deceased sent for Lieut. ALLAIRE and drank a Glass of Wine or two with him up Stairs. That Lieut. ALLAIR expressed his Sorrow that the matter could not be settled, but that he said he was a Gentleman and lived at No. 64 Tradd Street to the best of his recollection.

        Q.(By the Court) Was you present at that last part of the Conversation and when they drank Wine together?

        A. Yes.

        Q.(By the Prisr.) Did you hear any Gentleman in the Room ask me whether I would abide by the Opinion of the Gentlemen then present?

        A. No, not to my knowledge.

        Q.(By Do.) Do you recollect at the time that you delivered me the Message that I told you I did not conceive those Gentlemen to be a Legal Court of Enquiry, and that I did not suppose I was obliged to do any thing contrary to my own feelings, and that I also thought Mr. KEATING equall in fault with myself and did not I say this I will agree to I will ask Mr. KEATING's Pardon Reciprocally?

        A. You did not mention the legallity of the Court at the time you said what is contained in the last part of your Question.

The Court Adjourned 'till next Morning at 10 o'Clock.

Click here for ---> Allaire Court Martial, Part 2

                               Allaire Court Martial, Part 3

                               Allaire Court Martial, Part 4

Great Britain, Public Record Office, War Office, Class 71, Volume 93, pages 287-311.

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