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PRESIDENT JACKSON'S ORDER RELATING TO
ADJUTANT GENERAL's Office, l
Washington, Sept. 23, 1829.) 271. At a General Court Martial, of which Captain Webb, of the 3d regiment of Infantry, was President, held at Jefferson Barracks, in the State of Missouri, on the 1st of July, 1829, by virtue of “Order No. 22,” emanating from the Head Quarters of the Western Department, was arraigned and tried- 1st. Private James Richardson, alias James Kelly, of D Company, 6th Infantry.
" Repeated Desertion." Specification 1st-In this: That he, private James Richardson, alias James Kelly, when a soldier of Captain Smith's Company, [G] 1st regiment of Infantry, and known by the name of James Richardson, stationed at Camp Morgan, on Flint River, in the Creek Nation, did desert the service of the United States, from said Camp Morgan, on Flint River, in the Creek Nation, some time in the months of June, July, or August, 1825, and did, whilst a deserter as aforesaid, enlist with Captain Lewis of the 3d regiment of Infantry, at New Port, Ky. on the first day of April, 1829, as a soldier in the army of the United States, by the name of James Kelly, by which name he was attached to Company 1, 6th Infantry, May 17th, 1829.
Specification 2d. In this: That he, James Richardson, alias James Kelly, of 1 Company, 6th regiment of Infantry, when convicted and undergoing a stoppage of pay by sentence of a General Court Martial, for a desertion of 24th of May, 1829, which sentence was promulgated in Department Orders, May 31, 1829, did desert the service of the United States, from Jefferson Barracks, on or about the 17th of June, 1829, and did remain absent from his company until apprehended and brought back by a citizen, and delivered at Jefferson Barracks as a deserter, on the 21st day of June, 1829. Thirty dollars paid for his apprehension.
To which the prisoner pleaded as follows:--"Guilty” of 1st Specification; and “Guilty" of 2d Specification; and “Guilty" of the Charge.
The prisoner not having any thing to state to the Court, in extenuation of his crimes, the Court pronounce the following
SENTENCE. “ The Court confirm the plea of the prisoner, private James Richardson, alias James Kelly, of 1 Company, 6th Infantry, and sentence him to be Shot to death,” two thirds of the members concurring therein."
At the same Court was tried, Sergeant Robert Ferguson, of Company K, 6th regiment of Infantry, charged with deserting the service of the United States, from Jefferson Barracks, Mo.) on or about the 5th day of June, 1829, and remaining absent, until apprehended and brought back, on or about the evening of the 9th of June, 1829. Thirty dollars paid for his apprehension. To wbich, the prisoner plead “ Not Guilty.”
SENTENCE. “ The Court, after mature deliberation on the testimony adduced, find the prisoner, Sergeant Robert Ferguson, Guilty of the Charge exhibited against him, and sentence bim to be " Shot to death ;" two thirds of the members concurring therein.”
The Court beg leave, only in consideration of the prisoner's former good conduct, to recommend him to the clemency of the President.
In conformity with the 65th Article of War, the Major General commanding the Army, has transmitted the whole of the proceedings in the foregoing cases to the Secretary of War, to be laid before the President of the United States, for his decision thereon, and has received the following Order in the cases.
* War DEPARTMENT,
Washington, September 29th, 1829.) The proceedings of a General Court Martial, whereof Captain Webb was President, held at Jefferson Barracks, in July last, for the trial of James Richardson, alias James Kelly, and of Sergeant Robert Ferguson, who were sentenced to be shot, have been submitted to the consideration of the President of the United States for approval.
Sergeant Ferguson does not appear to have left the service with any intention to desert. He was, as appears by the evidence, on his return to his duty, at the time of his arrest. This is not a case that would authorise any thing of marked severity ; he is accordingly directed to be discharged from his confinement, and to be returned to his duty.
James Richardson, alias James Kelly, has disregarded wholly the duties and obligations of a soldier. He has three times deserted, and at last, when placed upon his trial, with a hardiness that pertains to crime, refused to offer aught in palliation of his offence, and pleaded guilty. He would have little claim under such circumstances to the clemency of the Executive.
The proceedings in the case, however, are such, that the President finds himself unable to approve them. By the 69th rule of the Article of War, it is required that the members composing the Court, shall take an oath “ well and truly to try and determine, according to evidence, the matter between the United States of America, and the prisoner to be tried.” On this point the record is silent ; it does not shew that the members composing the Court, acted under the obligations of an oath, as the law requires shall be the case. It is not presumable that so es
sential a circumstance was overlooked by the Court; but be this as it may, it is a matter not open to explanation and proof. The law requiring that the Court shall act upon oath, that it was so done must be rendered manifest by the records itself, and can be made apparent in no other way; in this view then, the proceedings are defective, so much so that a judgment cannot be pronounced upon them. In all cases of trial by Court Martial, it should appear by the record that the members composing the Court, were sworn in each particular case.
The proceedings had in those cases are disapproved, and the judgments set aside: and although the case of Richardson, alias Kelly, is one of high and aggravated character, the President must, nevertheless, take for his guidance, even in such a case, whatever are conceived to be the mandates of the law. He directs, at the expiration of thirty days from the receiving of this order, that this soldier be discharged from his confinement and from service, and that information, by the Commanding Officer at Jefferson Barracks, be forwarded to every post, giving an accurate description of his person: and it is hereby ordered and directed, that he never again be permitted to join the army, that one so unworthy and so regardless of the just obligations of a soldier, may no more be suffered to disgrace the ranks of the American Army. This, the mildest alternative that is presented, may, it is hoped, produce a moral effect to the army, though probably none to the soldier, who, without a proper sense of honor and duty, would cleave to life without it. · The offence of desertion, so degrading to an Army, so ruinous to its morals, and so destructive of utility, must calculate nothing on clemency. "The faithless soldier, who in peace abandons the standard of his country, in war can never be relied on. The President, therefore, again admonishes and warns the soldiers of the Army, that fidelity is due to themselves, and demanded by their country, that desertion must cease, or else he will have no alternative than to discharge his duty, painful as the performance may be.
In announcing this decision, I have it in command from the President to say, that while, as in matters of homicide, every killing does not necessarily constitute murder; so neither does every case of voluntary absence constitute the crime of desertion. Courts are hence enjoined to particular caution for the future, that in all cases the certainty of the intention of the soldier, by which alone guilt can be rendered apparent, shall be fully examined into, and clearly ascertained. And to this end, and because that justice and humanity direct it, it is recommended that hereafter the plea of guilty, on a charge involving the life of a soldier, shall not be received; but in all such cases, the Court will enter for the prisoner, the plea “ not guilty," and determine the grade of the offence, and quantum of guilt, by the character of the evidence produced to them. By command of the President,
JOHN H. EATON,
The defects pointed out in the proceedings in the foregoing cases, make it the duty of the General-in-Chief, to call the attention of Officers officiating as Judge Advocates, to the propriety of placing at the head of the record in each case, which may be separated from the general proceedings, to be sent to the Adjutant General of the Army, for the consideration of the General-in-Chief, or to be laid before the President of the United States, the order directing the assembly of the Court; and to record the fact, the Court had been duly sworn in the presence of the prisoner on trial, and that he had been asked whether he had any objections to the members detailed for his trial, and his answer thereto. The record should be made as heretofore directed, on letter paper, and a sufficient margin left on the inner edge of each sheet, to allow for being attached, without interfering with the record. The pages should be correctly numbered, and the documents which are to accompany the proceedings, should be so noted and marked, as to afford an easy reference.
All proceedings of Courts Martial, which are to be forwarded by Generals of Department to the Adjutant General of the Army, for safe keeping, will be accompanied by the orders of the Officer approving the same; those orders being considered as an essential part of the proceedings, and necessary to show the final decision in each case, and consequently ought to be filed with the original proceedings. By order of ALEXANDER MACOMB, Major General commanding the Army.
"R. JONES, Adjutant General. •
RULES AND REGULATIONS
REGULAR ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES,
EMBRACING THE DETAILS OF
PARADES, GUARDS, COMPLIMENTS, REVIEWS, INSPEC
TIONS, BEATS AND SIGNALS, AND FUNERALS.
DRESS PARADE.* 272. For the fourth roll call, a signal will be sounded thirty minutes before sun set, for the music to assemble on the regimental parade. At the same time, each company will turn out under arms for inspection, by its officers, on its own parade. In ten minutes after the signal, the adjutant's call will be given by the assembled musicians, at which each company will be marched to the regimental parade and formed-ranks openedarms ordered, and standing at ease; the company officers will march out six paces in front, and face about to the line, each opposite his place therein. The commanding officer will take post at a suitable distance in front opposite the centre, facing the line. The niusic will be formed in two ranks on the right of the line. Ten minutes before the setting of the sun, the adjutant will order the music to beat off, when the whole will commence on the right, beat to the left, and back again to their former position, marching along the front in both instances.The retreat will be concluded by three rolls, at the first of which, the adjutant and company officers will draw swords, and at the last, the company officers will face about from the line.
When the music ceases, the adjutant, being on the right, will command-ATTENTION. Shoulder-ARMS. Right-DRESS. When he sees all the ranks well alligned, he will add, FRONT, and march along the front to the centre, face to the right, and
*The instructions given for this parade, should be generally conformed to by militia or volunteers, (excepting as to time, which must be accommodated to circumstances) in forming and dismissing parade of companies, battalions, regiments, &c. whenever assembled for exercise. In company parade, the first sergeant performs the duties here assigned to the adjutant.