Primary tabs

Proceedings of a Court-Martial for the trial of Lieutenant-Colonel Enos


Proceedings of a General Court-Martial of the line, held at Head-Quarters, CAMBRIDGE, by order of his Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq˙,Commander-in-Chief of the Forces of the UNITED COLONIES, DECEMBER 1, 1775.

Brigadier-General Sullivan, President; Colonel Bridge, Colonel Sargent, Colonel Greaton, Lieut˙ Colonel Cleaveland, Lieut˙ Colonel March, Lieut˙ Colonel Read, Lieut˙ Colonel Brewer, Lieut˙ Colonel Vose, Major Poor, Major Wood, Major Woods, Major Johnson.

William Tudor, Judge Advocate.

The Court, being duly sworn, proceeded to the trial of Lieutenant-Colonel Enos, of the Twenty-second Regiment,


under an arrest for leaving the detachment under Colonel Arnold, and returning home without permission from his commanding officer.

Colonel Enos, being arraigned on the above charge, says, that true it is he did return without permission from Colonel Arnold, his commanding officer, but that the circumstances of the case were such as obliged him so to do. In justification of his conduct, the Colonel begged leave to produce the following evidences, who were accordingly admitted and sworn, viz:

Captain Williams deposes: At the Great Carrying-place, I heard the men ahead of us were in great want of provisions. About two-thirds across the Great Carrying-place, I met Major Bigelow coming back with ninety-five men, who said they wanted provisions. I dealt out to them a barrel of pork, and one of flour. I delivered Major Bigelow six barrels more of provisions. We proceeded forward, and met several parties returning home, and we had orders to supply them with provisions to reach the English settlements. When I came up with Colonel Enos, I was informed there had been a council of war, and that it was settled that, for want of provision, the whole detachment under Colonel Enos should return. Colonel Enos proposed to go forward himself, and let his division return; but as there was a large number besides those which belonged properly to our division, and we had several invalids to bring back, and were very short of provision, (having but three days' provision, and being above one hundred miles from the English settlements,) I thought it was absolutely necessary for Colonel Enos to take the command of the party back, and protested against his going on to join Colonel Arnold, not knowing what orders Colonel Enos had from Colonel Arnold. The division which went on to join Colonel Arnold, had not more than five days' provisions. We supplied them with most of their provision, and left ourselves only three days' allowances.

Captain McCobb: About fifty miles up the Dead river, we held a council of war, at which I assisted as a member, and it was agreed that the whole division under Colonel Enos should return, there not being sufficient provision to carry both divisions through. Colonel Green' s division being some way ahead, it was found that we should save two days' time by letting that division go forward; and time was too precious, and provision too scanty, to dispute the point. It was thought most conducive to the service that Colonel Green' s division should proceed. We accordingly left them with five days' provision, and set out on our return with three. Lieutenant-Colonel Enos was going forward without his division, but, for the same reasons which have been mentioned by Captain Williams, I protested also against his going on.

Captain Scott confirms all that Captain McCobb deposes, and adds, that he himself protested against Colonel Enos' s going forward; that he then thought, and is now confirmed in the opinion, that the presence of Colonel Enos was very necessary to preserve the harmony and order necessary to secure the safe retreat of the men who were ordered to return.

Lieutenant Hyde: I assisted at the council of war, before mentioned, up the Dead river. We found, by the best computation, that it would take fifteen days to reach any French inhabitants, and that it would be impossible for both divisions (Green' s and Enos' s) to get through, the provisions being so short. It was judged there was about four days' provisions for those who went forward, and we returned with three days' supply. I protested against Colonel Enos' s going on to join Colonel Arnold, his presence being necessary for our safe retreat, as we had a number of invalids, and a considerable number of men who did not belong to either of the companies in our division.

Lieutenant Buckmaster confirms what Lieutenant Hyde deposes, and adds, that it was the opinion of all the officers of Colonel Enos' s division, that he should return with his division, as we had one hundred and fifty men who did not belong to our division, who had only a subaltern to command them, and whom it would have been impossible, under our circumstances, to manage without Colonel Enos' s presence.

The Court being cleared, are unanimously of opinion, after the most mature consideration, that Lieutenant-Colonel Enos was under a necessity of returning with the


division under his command, and therefore acquit him with honour.