George Washington Papers

Memorandum, 7 January 1756


[Winchester, 7 January 1756]

The Court of Enquiry upon Ensign Dekeyser’s misbehaviour, are of opinion, that he is guilty of the breach of the twenty-third article of War. See the proceedings of the Court.1


1The court of inquiry held at Winchester on 7 Jan. “to examine whether Ensign De Keyser of the Virginia Regiment is guilty of a Breach of the 23d Article (of the 15th Section) of War” was presided over by Adam Stephen and had as members eight captains of the regiment. The text of the court’s proceedings, a copy of which GW enclosed in his letter to Dinwiddie of 13 Jan. 1756, included the following testimony and verdict:

“Lieut. Bacon of the Maryland Independent Compa. who prosecuted says—That some Gentl. were playing a Game of Cards (at Brag) among which were Ensign Dekeyser & himself, & that in the Course of the Game he observed Ensign Dekeyser twice together had The 9 of Diamonds with the other red nine & an Ace, and upon his winning of Captain Bronaugh & John Mercer after the Pair Roy⟨al⟩ of the 9 of Diamonds 9 of Hearts & Ace of Hearts were shewn by Ensign Dekeyser, he observed that he shifted some cards & threw them down upon the Table, upon which he had some Suspicion & took up the three Cards which Ensign Dekeyser had thrown down—contrary to the Rule of the Game—and observed only the 9 & Ace of Hearts & that the 8 of Clubs was put in the Room of the 9 of Diamonds. Upon which he desired Leave of the Compa. to count over the Cards & missed the nine of Diamonds, and that he observed in the chair under Mr Dekeyser’s Thigh for several Deals the Corner of a Card, and for two Deals before saw it was a Diamond, and that he then told the Gentlemen that there was a Scoundrel in Compa. who acted under the Character of a Gent. but did not deserve the Name or to rank with them. He shoud not then name him, but woud acquaint Colo Washington & the rest of the Corps of it in the Morning, and upon their breaking up Ensign Dekeyser rose from his Chair & the 9 of Diamonds dropped down on the Floor—& that Ensign Dekeyser said he woud pay all the Losings.

“Mr James Roy Volunteer in the Virga Regt being called on to declare what he knew of the Affair says—That upon the Compa. breaking up & Mr Dekeyser rising from his Chair he took up the nine of Diamonds & Ace of Clubs (two good Cards at Brag) off the Floor—& was surprized that two so good Cards shoud happen to be there, but that he was suspicious before of some foul Play because Lieut. Bacon insisted to count the Cards, & winked at Him and that after the Company had broke up and gone into the next Room before Lieutt Bacon mentioned any particular Person, Ensign Dekeyser said he knew Mr Bacon meant him.

“Ensign Dekeyser says in his Defence that he does not know but he might drop those Cards under the Table as he dealt Them as he was very much in Liquor and called upon Mr Denis McCarty Volunteer in the aforesaid Regiment to prove what he said.

“Mr McCarty says that he remembers Mr Dekeyser did let the Pack fall twice as he was going to deal them, but that it was some Time before the Company broke up.

“Ensign Dekeyser farther says that he only said if it coud be prov⟨illegible⟩ he cheated he woud pay all the Losings.

“Some of the Members of the Court who were present at the Game say that they observed several Circumstances in the Behavior of Ensign Dekeyser which made them suspect his being guilty of foul Play and were sensible he was quite sober & absolutely refused Drinking in Turn as the rest of the Compa. did.

“Upon which and after hearing the Evidence for & against him & his own Defence The Court are unanimously of Opinion that Ensign Dekeyser of the Virga Regt is guilty of a Breach of the 23d Article of the 15 Section of War viz that he has behaved in a scandalous Manner such as is unbecoming the Character of an Officer & a Gentleman.

Adam Stephen”

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