Head-Quarters, Morristown April 15th 1777.
Parole: RutledgeCountersign: Charlestown.
Serjt Keener of the 11th Pennsyl: Battn and Serjt Berns of the 10th tried at a General Court Martial, held at Samptown, of which Col. Shreve was president, on a charge of “Intending to desert” The Court find Serjt Keener guilty of the above Crime, and sentence him to be reduced to the ranks, and receive 100 Lashes on his bare back—The Court acquit Serjt Berns of the Charge against him.1
John Neal, Soldier in Capt. Coates’s Company, and the 11th Pennsyl: Regt tried at the same Court Martial, is found guilty of “Deserting his post, being drunk, and suffering others to desert to the enemy” The Court sentence him to suffer Death.2
Lieut: Ralwaggon, of the German Battalion, tried by the above Court Martial is found Guilty of “Making a great Noise among the Soldiers going to Trenton, contrary to General Orders”; and sentenced to be cashiered for the same.
The General approves the above sentences, and orders them to take place forthwith, except that against John Neal—the execution of which is to be suspended ’till further orders.
Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. Sergeant Keener of the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment may be Barnet Kenny (see Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 5th ser., 3:625). John and Thomas Burns were both sergeants in the 10th Pennsylvania Regiment at this time. John Burns was promoted to sergeant major of the regiment on this date. Samptown (now South Plainfield), N.J., was a village about eight miles north of New Brunswick.
2. John Coates (Coats; 1751–1810), a Philadelphia physician who had served as a regimental surgeon in the Canadian campaign of 1775–76, was appointed surgeon of Col. Lewis Duboys’s short-lived New York regiment on 26 June 1776, and on 30 Sept. 1776 he became a captain in the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment (see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:481, 656). Coates later raised a company of 65 men, of whom 22 men had deserted by June 1777 (see Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 5th ser., 3:599). Wounded in the attack on Piscataway, N.J., on 10 May 1777, Coates resigned his commission the following September. He was blocked from becoming an aide-de-camp to Gen. William Thompson in July 1778 by Congress’s requirement that aides be appointed from among the active regimental officers (see Thompson to GW, 19 July, and GW to Thompson, 23 July 1778, DLC:GW). In 1779 Coates moved to Easton, Md., to practice medicine.