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General Court Martial of Matthew Boyce

[Extract of the Proceedings of the General Court Martial whereof Major James COUSSEAU was President, held at Valentine's House, New York between 24 June 1779 and 24 August 1779.]

Saturday the 31st July 1779.

The Court met pursuant to Adjournment.

Mathew BOYCE Private Soldier in Captain KEATINGs Company of the 1st Battn. N: J. Volunteers Confined by Lieut. Col. BARTON for Desertion.

Captain KEATING of the 1st Battn. of N.J. Volunteers being duly Sworn deposed that he inlisted the Prisoner Mathew BOYCE in Brunswick in the Year 1777 that that [sic] after he joined the Battn. he was attested and received Pay & Cloathing as a Soldier of that Regiment. That in April last he Deserted the Regiment-- that he heard he was on board a Privateer-- that he went on Board the Sloop Privateer Bayard, & made him Prisoner.

        Q:(by the Court) - Had the Prisoner ever the Articles of War read to him?

        A: Yes, I believe when he was attested.

The Court Adjourned till further Orders for want of Evidence.

Tuesday the 3d August 1779.

The Court met according to order.

Serjeant Robt. HAMILTON of the same Corps being duly Sworn deposed that he knew the Prisoner BOYCE to have Deserted from the said Corps some time in May last-- that about the middle of July he by Chance met him in New York, & the Prisoner informed him he belonged to a Privateer-- That he informed Captain KEATING of it, & he (Captain KEATING) sent on Board the Privateer and made him Prisoner.

The Prisoner being put upon his Defence declared to the Court that he had received no Pay from his first Enlistment from 23d January to 23d Apl. 1777, altho' he had made frequent application for it to his Captain-- that he is sorry he Deserted, but he thought it very hard he could not get his money.

The Prisoner called upon Captain KEATING who being already duly Sworn was examined.

        Q:(by the Prisr.) -- When I applied to you for my Pay what reason did you assign for not given it to me?

        A: The reason I gave you was that I knew nothing of nor never received any of that back pay for you-- that all the Soldiers who were taken Prisoners at that time were in the same Predicament, as no pay was drawn for them till the 24th April 1777.

The Court having considered the Evidence for and against the Prisoner Mathew BOYCE together with what he had to offer in his Defence are of Opinion he is Guilty of the Charge alledged against him, in breach of the 1st Article of the 6th Section of the Articles of War, and they do therefore Sentence him to receive 1000 Lashes on the Bare back with a Cat of nine tails.

                                       Jas. COUSSEAU
                                        Major 37th Regt.

Ass: Dep: Judge Advocate

                     H: CLINTON

Great Britain, Public Record Office, War Office, Class 71, Volume 89, pages 450-452.

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