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General Court Martial of Giles Hodges

[Extract of the General Court Martial whereof Lieut. Colonel John YORKE was President, held at New York between 16 November and 27 November 1778.]

Giles HODGES, Private Soldier, in the Corps of Pioneers and Guides was brought Prisoner before the Court, and accused of Deserting from the said Corps, and the following Witnesses were examined in support of the Accusation Vizt.

Colin KEIR Qr. Master to the said Corps, being duly sworn, deposed that he knew the prisoner to have received Pay and Cloathing as a Soldier; that he deserted from the said Corps the 27th or 28th of September last, and on the 4th Octr. on being informed that he was at a house near the Encampment he went thither with Dr. McDONALD; that the Prisoner upon seeing them endeavoured to make his escape, but just as he was jumping over a fence, Mr. McDONALD caught hold of him by the foot, and they secured him.

Archibald McDONALD surgeon to the Corps of Pioneers, being duly Sworn, deposed that the prisoner deserted from the Encampment, the latter end of September last, and in the beginning of Octr. Mr. KEIR the Qr. Master, and he being informed that the Prisoner was at a publick house just by, they went thither; that the prisoner endeavoured to make his Escape by jumping over a fence, but the Witness laid hold of him till Mr. KEIR came up and secured him.

The Prisoner being put upon his Defence, said that he was Servant to Captain McPHERSON of the Corps of Pioneers, who upon going into New Jersey, left him to take Charge of his Baggage, and told him on parting with him, that if he could find his horse, he would give him a Guinea; that he accordingly was out five or six days in search of him, and upon going to a Publick house, just by the Encampment, he was told by a Soldier of the same Corps, who had the care of Some Sheep there, that there was a Woman gone to tell Mr. KIER of his being come home; that he said he would go home himself, and not be carried home like a Thief, and he getting over the fence for that purpose, when Mr. KEIR and Mr. McDONALD took hold of him.

The Court Adjourned till next Morning at 10 o'Clock.

Friday Novr. 27th 1778.

The Court being met pursuant to Adjournment.

Captain Peter McPHERSON of the Corps of Pioneers, being duly Sworn, deposed that he left the Prisoner behind, upon his going into the Jerseys in order to take care of his Baggage, and told him, (as he did every other that staid behind) that he would give any one a Guinea, who could find his Horse, but he did not mean that was to leave the regiment for five or Six days, to go in Search of him.

The Prisoner concluded his Defence with saying that he never was attested (but acknowledged to have received Pay and Cloathing as a Soldier) and that he was only enlisted to Serve during the present Campaign, which was almost out; that he had however no intention of deserting, for he had Twenty Pounds due to him from the Corps, and had he such an intention he would not have come so near to the Encampment.

The Court having considered the Evidence for and against the Prisoner Giles HODGES, together with what he had to offer in his Defence, is of Opinion that he is Not Guilty of the Crime laid to his Charge, and doth therefore Acquit him.

                                           J. YORKE
                                       Lieut. Col. 22d Regt.

Step. P. ADYE
   D. Judge Advocate

                       H. CLINTON.

Great Britain, Public Record Office, War Office, Class 71, Volume 88, Pages 59-61.

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