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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Minutes of a Continental Army court-martial [Extracts], including a cover letter from Francis Nash to George Washington
United States. Continental Army. Courts-Martial
July 19, 1777 - July 22, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 751-753

[“Letters to Washington.” Dep't of State. No. 17. P. 229.]

Trenton, August 14th, 1777.

His Excellency Gen. Washington

Inclosed is the proceedings of a Board of the Field Officers of My Brigade which I am requested by them, to lay before your Excellency, for your direction.

You have also inclosed the proceedings of a General Court Martial, whereby you will find that 2 Soldiers belonging to my Brigade are sentenced to death which is also submitted for your Excellency's final determination.

I have the honor to be
Your Excellency's
Most ob't. & very humble Se'nt.

[Endorsed] Trenton, 14th of August, 1777.

From General Nash with sentence of Court Martial & representation of Field Officers.


Trenton, 19th July, 1777.

At general court martial held by order of the Honorable Brigadier

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General Nash, for the trial of all the prioners in the main guard.

Col. James Hogun, President.
Thomas Clark Member
John Patton Member
Samuel Lockhart Member
Levi Dawson Member
Charles Simms Member
Lott Brewster Member
Henry Dixon Member
James Gee Member
Pink. Eton Member
John Nelson Member
William Caswell Member
John Williams Member

Revd Adam Boyd Judge Advocate.

The members having been all sworn, and the Judge Advocate having been also sworn & prosecuting in behalf of the United States the following prisioners were bro't before them vizt:

John Marsh of the first N. Carolina regiment accused of desertion. The prisoner confessed that after having served six months in that regiment he reinlisted for a year: That he deserted from his command at Eagles' Mills on Cape Fear to the enemy, with whom he went to Charles town, from that to New York, was taken prisoner at Trenton & afterwards entered into the Service of the United States, in a Georgia battalion.

All these facts appearing from his own confession, without one palliative circumstance, the court were reduced to the disagreeable necessity of sentencing him to be shot to death.

ADAM BOYD. Jud. Advocate.

Chester, 2d Augt, 1777. Extracts from the Minutes.


Trenton, July 22d, 1777.

The court having been continued by various adjournments to this day met, but two of the members Captains H. Nixon & James Gee being ordered on command & the Judge Advocate being sick; Captains Thomas Hogg & Edward Vale were ordered to supply the place of the two members & the Revd Mr Ford that of the Judge Advocate, who having been duly sworn, Willoughby Johnson of the first N. Carolina regiment was bro't before the court accused of desertion. Upon hearing his charge read, the prisoner acknowledged, that on his march from N. Carolina, near the Virginia line about the last of April, he deserted from the said regiment. He also acknowledged that it was the third time of his desertion.

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It is therefore the unanimous opinion of this Court that the said Willoughby Johnson be shot to death.

Taken from the minutes of the Court this 2d Augt, 1777.

ADAM BOYD, Judge Advocate.