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General Court Martial of Jacob Picking & James Irwin

[Extract from the General Court Martial of which Major John BREESE was president, held in New York City commencing 19 February 1781.]

The Court Proceeded to the Trial of Jacob PICKING and James IRWIN Private Soldiers in the Sixteenth Regiment of Foot, Charg’d with the Murder of Edward HENRY of the same Regiment.

1st Evidence             George ROGERS Serjeant in the Kings Orange Rangers being duly Sworn deposes, that on the same day Edward HENRY was Murder’d, the Prisoner Jacob PICKING and the deceas’d came to him about 2 o’Clock in the Afternoon, both much in Liquor—

that he the Deponent advis’d them to go home, that they both seemingly in good Friendship parted from him the Deponent, that in about two hours afterwards Edward HENRY was brought in Dead, with his Head much bruis’d and bloody—

this Deponent farther says that he did not to his knowledge, see the Prisoner James IRWIN that day, and that he knows nothing farther of the Matter.

2nd Evidence             Henry HUGGINS Serjeant in the Twenty Seventh Regiment of Foot, being duly Sworn deposes, that some time after or about Four o’Clock in the Afternoon, the Month or day he cannot recollect, Edward HENRY, was brought home dead—

He the Deponent knows nothing more of the matter than that both the Prisoners Jacob PICKING and James IRWIN were absent from their Barracks some time that Afternoon, but were both present at 3 o’Clock roll Calling, the same Afternoon

Michael CARMAC Surgeon to the British Recruits, having delivered to the Court a Certificate dated January 14th 1781— in it, declares on his Oath, that Edward HENRY died in consequence of a Wound receiv’d on his Head, which fractured the right temporal Bone—

He also declares, that from the Circumstances attending the Wound, and other Injuries done to the deceas’d, that in his Opinion Edward HENRY was wilfully Murder’d.

The Prisoner Jacob PICKING being call’d to and put on his Defence, Says He is entirely Innocent of the Charge brought against him.

The Prisoner James IRWIN being call’d to and put on his Defence— denies being any ways concern’d in the Murder of Edward HENRY.

He also denies being in Company with the deceas’d the day he was Murder’d, after Eleven o’Clock in the forenoon.

The Court having heard and Consider’d the Evidence in behalf of the Charge, as also the Defence, of each of the Prisoners, there not appearing in the Course of the Prosecution, any Proof to Convict them of the Charge brought against them, do therefore Acquit the Prisoners Jacob PICKING and James IRWIN of the Murder of Edward Henry.

                                       John BREESE

Richard PORTER
   Asst. Dy. J. Advocate

                              Confirmed H CLINTON

Great Britain, Public Record Office, War Office, Class 71, Volume 93, pages 211-213.

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