Head-Quarters Frederick’sburgh Tuesday Octr 13th 1778.
Parole Wyoming—C. Signs Woodbury. Water-bury.
The General Court Martial whereof Coll Patten was appointed President will sit tomorrow morning nine ôClock at General St Clair’s quarters.
At a General Court Martial held at West-Point September 28th 1778—Lieutt Coll Burr President Elisha Painter Major of Artificers was tried for absenting himself from the Garrison & neglect of duty found guilty of the charges exhibited against him and sentenced to be dismissed the service.1
At the same Court Captn Pendleton of Artificers was tried for neglect of duty—found guilty—but some palliating Circumstances induced the Court only to mulct him half a Month’s pay to be appropriated to the use of such Prisoners in the Garrison as do fatigue and draw no Pay.2
His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the foregoing sentences and orders them to take place.
Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. Painter appealed this verdict in a petition of 14 Oct. sent from West Point, in which he cites his past services to the American cause and says: “This Day is the first of my knowing the Sentence of a late Court Marshal held at this Post for my Trial On a Complaint made by Mr [Francis] Chandenite [Chandonet] A. D. Q. M. Genl, which Sentence of being discharged the Service in a maner Degrading, Is very mortifying to me who have ben a faithfull Servent and Friend to it, Especially as I am Conscious of my Innocence in the Afair, And that I am not guilty of the matters whereof I am Charged, which I think I am now able to prove if I may be alowed another hearing & Trial of the matter, Therefore beg your Excellencys patience while I Relate Some facts Relative to my Conduct, And also some proceeding against me which I Consider as Illegal: My men being in a Suffering Condition for want of money, Blankets & Cloathing, I Stated their Case to Colo. Malcom, and Repeatedly applyed to him for liberty to go on Said buseness. And finaly Obtained his liberty & Pass for that purpose, and not a word was Say’d by him, by me, or by any other person to my Knowledge, that I was to Return the Same day, or at any particular time, but Realy expected to tarry as long as the buseness I went on Concerning my Corps Required, and verily thought Colo. Malcom Considered it in the Same light also; The pass was wrote Permiting me to go, & Return, but nothing wrote or Say’d how long I Should tarry or when I Should Return; Passes of the Same Tenor have ben frequently given the Officers of this Garison Since Colo. Malcom Commanded the Same, who was absent as long or longer then I was, and never was blamed or Called to any account About it; I was from this Post about a week dureing which Time I was very attentive to my duty in transacting the buseness of my Corps, two third of which are at other Posts, and but About one third of my men at this Post; After I Returned Mr Chandenite A. D. Q. M. Genl Complains that I Absented myself from the Garison without leave & Neglected my duty, On which Complaint Lieut. [Jonathan] Lawrence of Colo. Malcoms Regt (who doth Ast Adjutants Genls duty in this Garison), Sent me an Arrestment Signed by Order of no Authority but his own, And he haveing no Rank that I know of higher then a Subulterns, And I haveing the Commission & Rank of a Major, Renders that part of the proceedings (in my Opinion) very different from that Resolve of Congress that forbids an Inferior Officer Arresting one of a Superior Rank; When I Receiv’d my Arrestment I went to Colo. Malcom and Informed him of the necessary buseness of my Corps that I had ben doing, with which he Appeared to me to be Satisfied, and told me he would See Mr Chandenite about withdrawing the Arrestment and that I might Call on him at Evening which I did, but he then told me had not Spok with mr Chandenite on the Subject, but that he would do it, and I might Call on him in the Morning which I did accordingly, and All this time Expected the arrestment would be withdrawn, As Colo. Malcom told me he was Satisfied and willing it Should be if Mr Chandenite (who Complained) would agree to do it, I was farther led to Conclud I Should not be Called to trial, by Reason no mention was made in Orders of any Court for my trial or any thing Reletive to the afair, and farther that I never had notice that any Court was appointed, or that I must be Ready for trial, Consequently was not prepard for it, However the Court was assembled before I knew it, and I was Called in before I had time to Return to my Qua[r]ters from Colo. Malcoms; The third Instant I was arrested and the next day brought to trial in the maner aforesaid, but never was furnished with an Adjutant, an Orderly Serjt or any other Person to Somons my Evidences who ware at a Remote distance, The Evidences who Could have proved the matter Clear beyond A doubt, ware then absent but now Can be had, I also being very unwell Could not attend to the buseness to any Adventage; The matter was Calculated in the following line, Viz. Mr Chandenite Complains, One of Colo. Malcoms Subalterns Serving as Ast Adjutant Genl, Orders me in Arrest; Colo. Malcom and Mr Chandenite a[r]e Improved as Evidences, Colo. Malcoms Lieut. Colo. [Aaron Burr] Set as Presidant, A Subaltern of [Lt.] Colo. [John] Parckses [Parke’s] Detachment as Judge advocate, Colo. Malcoms Officers & the Officers of Colo. Parkses detachment (who live & do duty together) Composed the whole Court Except one Capt. & three Subalterns; Not a Field Officer was on the Court Except the Presidant, The Majority of the Court ware Subalterns, although a Plenty of Field Officers & Capts. ware in the Garison; I beleave your Excellency will not determin that your Memorialist is legaly tryed & Sentenced by a Court Consisting Prinsaply of Subalterns, Especialy Considering the Honourable Continantal Congress hath posetively Say’d in the Rules and Articles made for the goverment of the Army Section 14th & Article 7th That no Field Officer Shall be tryed by Any person under the degree of a Captain.
“Therefore your Excellencys Petitioner Prays That the doings of the former Court may be Set aside, and a new Court Ordered Consisting of Legal Members, not belonging to Colonels Malcoms & Parkses Corps of which the former Court ware prinsapley Composed; That a new Impartial & fare Hearing may be granted your Petitioner, In order that facts may Appear in a True & Reasonable Leight so as to Introduce and Establish Justice & Equity in the fullest Sence, which is all that is desired or asked for by your Excellencys Petitioner” (ADS, DLC:GW).
For section 14, article 7, of the Continental articles of war, 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 , 5:802. For GW’s granting of a new trial for Painter, see General Orders, 28 Oct.; GW to William Malcom, 31 Oct.; and Malcom to GW, 5 November. Painter’s case apparently was not resolved before his death in January 1781 (see William Heath to GW, 17–18 Jan. 1780, DLC:GW, and GW to Heath, 27 Jan. 1780, MHi: Heath Papers.
2. Daniel Pendleton of Connecticut had been appointed in August 1777 as captain of an artificer company, which in July 1778 was provisionally incorporated with several similar companies into a quartermaster artificer regiment commanded by Col. Jeduthan Baldwin. From September to November 1779 Pendleton was in Philadelphia lobbying Congress to put the quartermaster artificer officers on a par with the line officers (see Artificers’ Petition, 8 July 1779, in Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 4:215–16, and Nathanael Greene to John Jay, 30 Aug. 1779, in Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 4:346). In October 1780 Pendleton was tried and acquitted by a court-martial on charges of attempting to defraud the United States (see General Orders, 11 Oct. 1780), and in the fall of 1780 his company was detached for service with the southern army, where he remained until he returned home to Connecticut on furlough in the fall of 1782 (see Timothy Pickering to Nathanael Greene, 23, 28 Oct. 1780, in Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 6:427–28, 440–41, and Edward Carrington to Nathanael Greene, 27 Sept. 1782, in Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 11:698). Pendleton apparently served until the end of the war.