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General Court Martial of Adam Ruffe

[Extract from the General Court Martial held at New York City, 7 April 11 April 1777, whereof Major William MARTIN of the Royal Artillery was President.]

Friday April 11th, 1777.

The Court being met pursuant to Adjournment.

Adam RUFFE, private Soldier in His Majesty's Independant Company of Provincials, commanded by Captain CAMPBELL, was brought prisoner before the Court, and accused of having deserted from the said Company and inlisted himself into His Majesty's Provincial Regiment, called the Queen's American Rangers.

Captain Joshua BURNS of the Provincial Regiment of Royal Americans being duly sworn, deposed that he knew the Prisoner to have been inlisted in Captain CAMPBELL's Independant Company, and to have received Shirts and other necessaries from Captain CAMPBELL; the Witness himself inlisted him in December last, when he belonged to the said Company.

Nathaniel CHALTERTON private Soldier in Captain CAMPBELL's Company, being duly sworn deposed that he knew the prisoner to have been inlisted in the same Company, and that he was posted as a Sentry on a hill near Kingsbridge about Christmas last, and upon the relief (of which the Witness was one) going round, they found that the prisoner had quitted his post, and gone off with his arms, and that he has never joined the Company from that time to the present.

Lieutenant William BAILEY of the Provincial Regiment of Royal Americans being duly sworn, deposed that on the 18th of March last, he inlisted the Prisoner to serve as a Soldier in the Queen's American Rangers (to which the Witness then belonged) by the name of KELLY, that he then gave him a dollar, and he has regularly received his provisions since.

Captain Joshua BURNS already sworn, was again examined.

        Q: Did the prisoner ever hear the Articles of War against Mutiny and Desertion read, or was he ever attested?

        A: Several men of Captain CAMPBELL's Company were attested about the time the prisoner inlisted, but he cannot say whether the prisoner was among the number; if he was one of those who were attested, he must have heard the Articles against Mutiny and Desertion read, if he was not attested it is probable that he never heard them.

The Prisoner being put upon his defence said that he was drunk when he quitted his post or never would have gone off, for he left his necessaries behind; that after going to see his friends, he returned to Kingsbridge, where the Queen's Americans [sic] Rangers stopt him, and would not let him go any further; that he never received pay in either Corps nor ever was attested or heard the Articles of War against Mutiny and Desertion read; that he came in on a mare which Lieutenant BAILY detained and promised to give him twelve dollars and a half for, but he has yet paid him only four.

The Court having duly considered the evidence against the prisoner Adam RUFFE, together with what he had to offer in his defence is of Opinion that he is not guilty, no evidence having appeared of his receiving pay or being duly inlisted, as the 1st Article of War of the 3d Section directs, the Court doth therefore acquit him.

                                       [signed] Will. MARTIN president

                                                        W HOWE

Step: P: ADYE
   Deputy Judge Advocate

                       Confirmed H CLINTON

Great Britain, Public Record Office, War Office, Class 71, Volume 83, pages 355-357.

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