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General Court Martial of Rowland Lenox
Part 1 of 2

[Extract of the General Court Martial of which Lt. Col. John GUNNING was President, held in New York City between 14 April 1781 and 8 June 1781.]

Wednesday April 25th 1781.

The Court being Met pursuant to Adjournment, Capt. BREELY of the 60th Regt. excepted, who being ill and unable to attend; The Court agreed to proceed without him, there being still a sufficiency of Members to form the Court.

Rowland LENOX Private Soldier of the 3d Battn. of Brigadr. General Delancey's Brigade of Provincials, was brought before the Court, accused of the Murder of John COOK Mariner, on the Evening of the 17th March last past, and the following Witnesses were examined in support of the Accusation vizt.

Lieut. George ORMOND, of the Queen's Rangers, being duly Sworn, deposed that on Sunday the 18th of March as he was passing thro' Rosevelt Street, where the Recruits of the Queen's Rangers are Quartered, he met Lt. LAWLER, the Recruiting Officer of that Corps, and was told by him of a Man having been killed the Night before and that it was imputed to the Rangers; he therefore desired Lt. LAWLER immediately to parade all the Recruits before his own Door; that upon this being done, a Boy of about 16 Years of Age, (the Witness does not know his Name, but is acquainted with his person so well as to be able to recognise him) who was present, said that he knew the persons that had knocked the Sailor, meaning the Deceased down;

the Witness desired him to point them out, and the Boy accordingly pickt out four from about twenty six, who were on the Parade; that the Witness asked the Boy, if there was any one amongst those Men, who had particularly ill used the Sailor, he answered No; that the Man who had done so, was dressed in Scarlet faced with Green, and he had a small Dagger about a foot long; that the Serjeant belonging to the Recruiting Party of Brigr. Genl. Delancey's Brigade coming up at this time, the Witness desired him to bring one or two of his Recruits, whom they supposed had been Accessaries with the Rangers; that the Serjeant brought one Man of Brigr. General Delanceys Recruits whom the Boy upon seeing him, said was not the Man, and the Man himself who had been brought by the Serjeant, added, No, Sir it is not me; it is LENOX of our Regiment;

Upon this the Witness went with a Serjeant of Delancey's and another of the Queen's Rangers to the Barrack of Delancey's Recruits, in search of LENOX, and were told there by the other Men of the Room where LENOX used to lay, that he went away from thence in the Morning; that one of the Serjeants in feeling under the Bed, where LENOX had lain the Night before, laid his hand upon a small Dagger; (the Dagger produced in Court) that immediately on the Dagger being seen by the Man of Delancey's, who had before declared that LENOX was the Guilty Man, he said that is the Dagger that committed the Murder, upon which the Witness sent a strong Party in search of the Prisoner and returned to the Barracks of the Queen's Rangers, where he found a great concourse of People assembled and the Boy still there;

that he asked the Boy to describe the Dagger, which he did, saying that it had a green handle with silver Mounting, and again pointed and upon his Arm the length of it; which was about a foot; the Witness then asked him if he should know the Dagger again upon seeing it; the Boy answered, know it Sir Yes, I saw it almost all day yesterday, and instantly on his (the Witness's) pulling the Dagger, which had been found under LENOX's Bed out of his Pocket, the Boy said that is the Dagger; that about ten or fifteen Minutes after the Prisoner was taken and brought to the Witness who still continued in Rosavelt Street; he was then dressed in a blanket Coat, and upon shewing him the Boy, the Boy answered that as the Cloaths were not the same as those worn by the Man who had knock'd down the Sailor, he was not certain whether the Prisoner was the Person, but he was sure he was the Man, in whose hands he had seen the Dagger the day before, in consequence of which the Witness sent him to the Main Guard, on suspicion of having committed the Murder.

        Q:by the Court -- Did he examine the Dagger upon finding it, whether it was bloody or not?

        A. He thinks he did, but did not see any blood on it.

        Q: Upon the Boy charging LENOX with being the Man who had the Dagger the day before, did the Prisoner make any Answer?

        A. He does not recollect; immediately after the Prisoner was brought up he (the Witness) went into Mr. LAWLER's Room to write his Crime.

        Q: Did he make any enquiry whether the Prisoner had been absent from his Quarters, any time in the Evening before?

        A. This will appear from the evidence of the Serjeant of Delancey's Corps who is to be hereafter examined.

Mr. Henry DOUGAN Surgeon, being duly Sworn, deposed that a few days after the 17th March last (he does not recollect exactly the day) he was called upon by the Coroner to examine the body of John COOKE, supposed to be Murdered by one of General Delancey's Corps; it was late in the Evening and the Body then lay in a dark place, which prevented his opening it; he therefore called the next day in Company with Doctor PROCTOR of the General Hospital and Mr. EDIE also of the General Hospital, in order to open the Body, but was forbid doing it by an Officer of the same Ship to which the Deceased belonged, who by his dress appeared to be a Midshipman;

upon asking his reasons, he answered that the Officer who Commanded the Vessel had positively forbid its being done; the Witness then waited on the Coroner and Jury, and informed them of the obstruction they had met with; they then requested that he would return and examine the Wound as well as he could and make a Report; that he accordingly returned with Doctor PROCTOR and Mr. EDIE and examined the Wound with a Silver Probe; which Wound was on the left side of the Thorax; that upon introducing the Probe, it went into the Cavity of the Thorax and he believes that left Lobe of the Lungs was Wounded, of which Wound they believed that the deceased died; the Wound was between the fourth and fifth Rib, as well as he recollects.

        Q: What Instrument did the Wound appear to have been given with?

        A. It appeared to have been given by some such instrument as the Dagger now laying before the Court.

        Q: Were there any other marks of Violence on the Deceased, besides the Wound he has described?

        A. He did not discern any, nor did he further examine.

Mr. Richard PROCTOR Apothecary to the General Hospital, being duly Sworn, deposed that on the 19th and again on the 20th of March last he saw the Body of the deceased John COOK and found that he had received a Wound between the fourth and fifth Ribs on the left side, of six Inches depth at least, which Wound he believes to have been the cause of his Death.

        Q: With what sort of an Instrument did the Wound appear to have been given?

        A. With some Instrument broader than a Bayonet.

        Q: Does he think the Wound might have been given with the Dagger now laying before the Court?

        A. He thinks it might.

        Q: Did it appear to have been given with a flat Instrument?

        A. He thinks rather with a flat Instrument than a three square one.

        Q: Did he observe any other marks of Violence on the Body?

        A. No, he did not.

John STOKES Private Soldier in the Queen's Rangers, being duly Sworn, deposed that about Sunset in the Evening of the 17th of March last, he was present when two Soldiers of the Queen's Rangers were fighting in the Street; that after the Battle was over, he (the Witness) went away in Company with one of the Soldiers, who had been fighting, whose Name was Jacob DELOVE in order to get him Washed;

that after parting with him, the Witness went down to the New Slip and the Prisoner upon meeting him, told him that one of them (he does not know who he meant) had got the bloody flux, and then wiped a sort of Sword of about a foot long, which he had in his hand across his (the Witness's) hand; that they went together, (he and the Prisoner) to the Barracks of the Queen's Rangers in Rosevelt Street, and then the Prisoner asked him to go to his (the Prisoner's) Quarters, and upon getting there he (the Witness) informed the Serjeant of Delancey's Corps, what had happened between the Prisoner and him, and the words the Prisoner made use of, which he has just now related.

        Q: Was the Sword that he drew across his hand, Wet?

        A. Yes, it was, but he does not know whether it was wet with Blood.

        Q: Did he see any mark left upon his hand?

        A. No, he did not.

        Q: When he found his hand Wet, did he wipe it?

        A. He thinks that he did, on the outside of the skirt of his Coat.

        Q: Was it dark at the time he met the Prisoner and these circumstances happened?

        A. It was about dusk or between dusk and dark.

        Q: Was it light enough to see what sort of a Sword it was, so as to know it again?

        A. He cannot say that it was.

        Q: Was he (the Witness) acquainted with the Prisoner previous to the 17th March?

        A. He had been acquainted with him but a few days before.

        Q: Did he ever see him in possession of a short Sword or Dagger?

        A. He has seen one in the room where the Prisoner quartered, but he cannot say whether he ever saw it in his possession.

        Q: Can he describe the Sword?

        A. He cannot.

        Q: Should he know it were he to see it again?

        A. Not to swear to it, but he remembers that it was Silver mounted--he was told that the Sword he saw did not belong to the Prisoner.

        Q: Does he think the Dagger laying before the Court is the one he saw in the Room?

        A. It looks a good deal like it, he remembers it had neither guard nor chain.

        Q: Did the Prisoner say that one of them had got the bloody flux, or that he had given one of them the bloody flux?

        A. That one of them had got the bloody flux.

        Q: Did he know at the time that there was a Man killed?

        A. He did not.

        Q: Did he ever say upon any former examination, that the Prisoner told him that he had given one of them a bloody flux?

        A. He does not recollect whether he said before the Coroner's Inquest that the Prisoner said he had given one of them the bloody flux, or that one of them had got the bloody flux.

        Q: Did he (the Witness) think there was any difference in the Prisoner's saying that one of them had got the bloody, or that he had given one of them the bloody flux?

        A. He cannot say.

        Q: What did he suppose the Prisoner meant by saying that one of them had got the bloody flux?

        A. The Prisoner pointed to the Witness's breast at the time, but he formed no supposition upon the matter.

        Q: Did not all the circumstances of the Prisoner's coming up to him with a drawn Sword, with the blade Wet, wiping it against his hand, and at the same time pointing to his breast and saying, that one of them had got the bloody flux without any previous conversation, seem to him to carry with them an extraordinary appearance?

        A. He did not think any thing about them.

        Q: To whom did he suppose the Prisoner alluded, when he said one of them had the bloody flux?

        A. He did not know.

        Q: Did he ask the Prisoner who and what he meant by this expression?

        A. He did not.

        Q: At the time of the disturbance on the 17th March, did he see any Sailor there?

        A. He saw two, three, or four.

        Q: Did he see the Prisoner there at the time?

        A. Yes, he thinks that he did.

        Q: Did he see any sort of intercourse between the Prisoner and the Sailors, before he (the Witness) left the Crowd, either friendly or otherwise?

        A. He did not, he thinks he saw some Stones thrown.

        Q: Was the Prisoner sober at the time?

        A. He was not much intoxicated.

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

Click here for ---> Rowland Lenox Court Martial, Part 2

Great Britain, Public Record Office, War Office, Class 71, Volume 94, pages 56-73.

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