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Re: [AmRevolution] Punishment of Enlisted Men


Glad to see someone is reading my stuff.

The limits on punishments can be reconciled the same way that speed limits can be. The law says one thing, and people do another, unless they get stomped down and the rules are enforced.

While Washington reviewed most courts martial, he did not review them all. In the particular case you present, we know he had delegated the review to Schuyler. But at a separated outpost like Fort Stanwix/Schuyler was there any review? Punishment to be effective had to occur close to the misdeed. If the soldiers committed an offense, then a court was held, and then the proceedings were sent off to find Schuyler anywhere from Albany to Fort Ticonderoga, a great amount of time could pass before Schuyler could read the proceedings, make a decison and then send his approval back. My guess is that he delegated review to the Commander at Fort Schuyler. Not always a wise move. Most of the abberations we know of happened away from Washington and his main Army.

How could the limit be broken? Washington interpreted the Articles of War as saying each court martial, no matter how many charges were presented, was limited to the 100 stroke limit; but that is not written in the articles or war, it's Washington's interpretation, so some commander in upstate New York, who never served under Washington, is probably not familiar with this interpretation. There are many instances in the records where soldiers were charged with 2 or more "crimes" and each charge received an award equal to or below the limit of 100 strokes, but in aggregate over the 100 stroke limit. Was this the case here? We'd need to see the record. Many court proceedings are in the Schuyler Papers at the NY Public Library.

Your last question has lots of merit, and I can't answer it, yet. Was the militia subject to the same articles of war as the Continental Line? My answer: depends. Depends on which state, what time frame, and what role the militia was in. For the militia of four New England States I covered in the first three parts of the series, we know they were governed by their state articles of war, at least up until the Continental Articles were promulgated by Congress. I am currently trying to find whether they continued under those state articles or if when the Continental came out, the states revoked them. And what about other the other states? This is an area that needs a lot of research. I am pursuing it and hope to be able to say something definitive in a year or two. After the September 1776 articles, militia serving with the Continetal Army were covered by the same articles of war. But there are shades in "serving with."
If Congress or Washington asked for the milita, then Congress had an obligation to pay the expenses, but there are many cases like along the Hudson after Fort Montgomery where the militia came out, but weren't called out. Were they subject to the 1776 articles? I don't know. Lots more research needed.

Thanx for the lead on the courts in the the Watts book.


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[AmRevolution] Punishment of Enlisted Men
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