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doc_id n="S5-V3-P03-sp03-D0258">

General Herchkeimer to New-York Convention



Canajoharry District, December 21, 1776.

HONOURABLE GENTLEMEN: The petition of your petitioners humbly sheweth, that whereas a certain case of military proceedings in General Herchkeimer' s brigade was taken before the Committee of this County, and countermanded, whereby we, as well as part of the publick are aggrieved, we are urged to appeal to your honourable Board for relief. The true circumstances of the case are as follows, viz: John Kayser, of New-Germantown, in Valentine district, a Captain of a company of Militia in Colonel Jacob Klock' s battalion, of Gen˙ Nicholas Herchkeimer' s brigade, some time ago, by a vacancy of a corporalship in his company through his corporal' s inlisting as a Ranger, appointed and ordered John Remersnider, son of Henry Remersnider, of New-Germantown aforesaid, to be a corporal in the other' s stead; which order was refused by both Remersniders, the father and son, under the pretence alleged by the father that his son was a miller, and therefore exempted of such military duties by law, according to the acts for the Militia of the State of New-York; but as it was well known, not only to the Captain, to his subalterns, and to the company, but to the whole neighbourhood, that the father, Henry Remersnider aforesaid, who has an old ragged mill in the neighbourhood, most always out out of order, has constantly been the miller himself when the mill was fit, and had water to grind, being but a small stream to it, — the said Captain therefore, considering the scheme of the old man in regard to the publick, put the lawful fine, agreeable to the Militia rules, upon the said John Remersnider, for refusing to accept and serve as a corporal; and upon still refusing of both Remersniders to pay the said fine, the Captain proceeded further in the recovery of the same, and distrained him. The father hearing of being distrained, threatened that if any man would come upon his ground in order to distrain for that purpose, he would kill him. Therefore the sergeant thought proper to take assistance along with him, to execute his office. It is true the father may be a man of sixty-odd years of age, and is exempt thereby of training, but yet of a hearty and strong constitution, well able to tend his mill, and truly better than the son, who has no knowledge of it, and almost never before tended the mill, nor yet, but at the time when the Captain calls a training. The father often before declared, that if one applied to him for the loan of horses or in other farming business, he had nothing to say in it; that his son was the farmer, and he had to dispose of such things. The father and son further, after the last voting of officers for that company aforesaid, said that if the son had been chosen an Ensign, he would have treated the electors, and provided the colours at his own cost; but for a private the father said he should not train. All these circumstances here related, and more in behalf of the said proceedings when called upon, can be proved by evidence. The said father, seeing that his scheme would not be accepted by the Captain, nor his will obtained, made then application to the Committee of this County, with the complaint that his son being a miller, was unjustly fined and prosecuted. The Committee upon such complaint, without hearing of one of the evidences in the Captain' s behalf, resolved that the said John Remersnider shall be exempted from military duty, except in invasions, pursuant to the eleventh article of the Militia, and also that the fine recovered by the Captain for such refusal, save as above-mentioned, shall be rendered by the said Captain to the said John Remersnider. Considering this resolve of the Committee, and the proceedings thereof, we thought we were in duty bound to resent it as a grievance and imposition upon the officers of Militia of every rank, which will disturb the service in general, and in particular the company of said Captain Kayser, which, as we are informed, will take the same privi lege, and not training, in case this John Remersnider shall be free through a deceitful scheme. Therefore, hoping that the rules and regulations of the Militia


are not made, nor intended to be understood, explained, taken in deceit particularly or to the fraud of the publick, we, the superiour officers, who are resolved and willing to serve our country faithfully, and to have the Militia under our command ruled impartially, find ourselves aggrieved, and beg that your honourable Board would look into the case maturely and procure that justice may be done to the officers as well as to privates. We don' t doubt that in particular the proceedings of the said Captain Kayser will be approved to be just and lawful, and therefore the above-mentioned resolve of the Committee recalled.

We could add some other instances of like cases of fines tried by the Committee, and the resolutions thereof by them determined, which at most causeth a disrespect of their officers and discourtesy. The latter without prescription to your honourable Board. We would that any Militia case should be tried by a Court-Martial; and if one should think himself aggrieved, might apply to the Field Officers, and so on by degrees to the Brigadier-Generals, for a just inquiry and determination of the matter. If such an appeal to the Committee for every case tried by officers is allowed to the Militia, they always will run there for relief, and the trust reposed in us appears to be checked, and our authority void.

We remain; with respect, your humble petitioners, for ever pray, &c. Honourable gentlemen, your obedient humble servants,