Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Making Out With a Horse...And Other Court-Martial "Night-Mares"

[07 Jan 2010 Note: I have slightly modified the original post to make it more...well..."family friendly." I sometimes forget: 1) who might be reading this blog and 2) that what I might find humorous (a more fitting word would be: absurd) others might find objectionable, even offensive. This includes people whom I respect. Therefore, I have removed the text of a rather "bawdy" court martial charge. My only defense is that is part of the historical record, not made up as a "joke"; therefore, interested readers can still find it in the scans below. I need to remember the adage: "If you wouldn't say it to your mother, then don't type it." And no, it wasn't my mother that objected. Anyway, lesson learned.]

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, and no one can talk to a horse, of course...but evidently, you can try below:

s stated in a wonderful article from the equally wonderful National Archives and Records Administrstion (NARA) publication, Prologue:

Often, researching a family member's Civil War military service can be a double-edged sword. Many researchers have the expectation that their ancestors' military service was honorable-- highlighted by famous battles, displays of courage under fire, and medals earned. Unfortunately, what some genealogists find is that their ancestors' military service was not as courageous and honorable as stories passed from generation to generation would have them believe. Although many love to romanticize the American Civil War, much happened that soldiers would not brag about to their families. Army life was hard, and desertion, insubordination, cowardice under fire, theft, murder, and rape were not uncommon. Evidence of such behavior in the Union army can be found in entry 15, Court-Martial Case Files, 1809-1894, Record Group 153, Records of the Judge Advocate General (Army). This series includes proceedings of general courts-martial, courts of inquiry, and military commissions. A general court-martial is the highest military tribunal convened to try violations of military law. A court of inquiry is an investigative body that lacks the power to impose punishments. And military commissions are special courts established under martial law for the investigation and trial of private citizens.

You can read the entire article here and it has great advice for people doing research on their ancestors.

Below is a set of scans from "General Orders No. 11 - January 7, 1862 - Department of the Missouri," in my collection, with details of scrapes in which members of the 1st Indiana Cavalry (and other units) found themselves, including a Private William Bishop: accused of being too "amorous" with a horse.

For the benefit of Googlers, Bingers, Yahooers, and other assorted web-crawlers, here are some names for keyword purposes:

John Moore - Company B - 1st Indiana Cavalry

John M. Brock - Company D - 1st Indiana Cavalry

John Judge - Company A - 38th Illinois

John Hipple - Company I - 21st Illinois

Wm. Huff - Company I - 21st Illinois

Andrew W. Jackson - Company C - 21st Illinois

George W. Stephens - Company A - 21st Illinois

Robert Taylor - Company E - 38th Illinois

Jasper M. Hickson - Company A - 21st Illinois

John W. Clark - Company D - 38th Illinois

Henry Warrant - Company D - 21st Illinois

William Bishop - Company H – 1st Indiana Cavalry

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