91st PA: Alpheus H Bowman, court martial record

Court martial of Alpheus H Bowman

[source: National Archives and Records Administration. The file they sent me includes a printed version of the order and a 31-page record.]
[I have placed the printed order confirming the sentences, sent to me with the file, on a separate page.]
[I have proofread this transcription]

Index




[record]


[page 1--a cover sheet] K K 264
Genl Court Martial
Proceedings agt Capt Alpheus H Bowman Co "B" 91st Pa. Vol.
Lieut Benedict Judge Advocate
K K 264
[illegible word; looks like 'which']

[page 2]

Proceedings of a General Court Martial convened at Alexandria Va. pursuant to adjournment by virtue of the following order.

Head Quarters Mil Dist of Washington DC, August 5th 1862

Special Orders No 157
Extract

2 A General Court Martial is hereby appointed to meet at the corner of 19th St + Penna. avenue Washington D.C. on Monday August 11th at 10 o'clock or as soon thereafter as practicable for the trial of such persons as may be properly brought before it.

Detail for the Court

1Lt ColWallace91st Pa
2MajorBennettScotts 900"
[Scott's 900 Cavalry was also known as the 11th New York Cavalry]
[Lieutenant Colonel William W Bennett, 11st NY Cavalry, resigned 24 December 1862 (Official Army Register)]
3CaptainClaypole10th N.J.
[Captain Charles D Claypool, 10th NJ Infantry, mustered out on expiration of term, 17 December 1864 (Official Army Register)]
4"Speering27th Pa.
[Captain Chauncey Spering, 27th PA infantry, dismissed 12 March 1863 (Official Army Register)]
5"Kenyon"Scotts 900"
[Major Joseph C Kenyon, 11th NY Cavalry, resigned 14 March 1864 (Official Army Register)]
6"Remington" "
[Major S Pierre Remington, 11th NY Cavalry, mustered out on expiration of term of service, 11 March 1865 (Official Army Register)]
7LieutC E Kendrick Jr10th N.J.
[First Lieutenant Edward E. Hendrick, 10th NJ Infantry, Adjutant, discharged 11 March 1865 (Official Army Register)]
[The first letter of the surname is the same as the first letter of 'Kenyon' (#5 above), and the first initial is the same as the 'C' in 'Chas' (#10 below). I have not found a 'CE Kendrick', however. The only 'CE' in the Official Army Register in the 10th NJ is Charles E Roberts.]
8"Mix"Scotts 900"
[Captain James R Mix, 11th NY Cavalry, discharged 12 September 1864 (Official Army Register)]
9"Jas. H. Lawrence2nd D.C.
[Second Lieutenant Joseph H Laurence, 2nd DC Infantry, resigned 22 October 1862 (Official Army Register)]
10"Chas F. Kiesele" " "
[Second Lieutenant Charles F Kiesele, 2nd DC Infantry, resigned 5 November 1862 (Official Army Register)]
Lieut Benedict "Scotts 900" Cav'y
Judge Advocate
[Captain Erastus D Benedict, 11 NY Cavalry, promoted 17 December 1864 to Major 4th US Colored Cavalry (Official Army Register)]
By command of
Brig. Gen'l Wadsworth

[page 3]
(2)

Head Quarters Mil. Dist.
of Washington
Aug 12th 1862

To
Lt. Col. Wallace
Prest of Genl. Court Martial
Sir:

The General Court Martial of which you are President will transfer its place of meeting to Alexandria Va. for the trial of prisoners who may before it [sic] from the 91st Regt

By command of
Brig. Gen. Wadsworth

Alexandria Va. Aug 20th

The Court met pursuant to the above order and adjournment

 Present 
Lieut ColWallace91st PV.
MajorBennett"Scotts 900"
CaptainClaypole10th N.J.
"Speering27 Pa.
"KenyonScotts 900
LieutKendrick10th N.J.
"Lawrence2nd D.C.
"Kiesele" " "
 
 Absent 
CaptainRemington"Scotts 900"
LieutMix[illegible--the bottom of the page is cut off]


[page 4]

The Court then proceeded to the trial of Capt. Alpheus H. Bowman Co B 91st Regt Penna. Vols. who being brought into Court and hearing the above order read in his hearing was asked if he objected to any member named in the detail to which he replied in the negative.

The Court was then duly sworn by the Judge Advocate and the Judge Advocate by the President of the Court in presence of the prisoner who was then arraigned on the following Charge + Specification Viz

Charge--Conduct unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman. [see article 83, Articles of War]

Specification

That Capt. Alpheus H Bowman Co. B 91st Regt Penna. Vols. did use coarse and ungentlemanly language towards Lt Morris Kayser saying "You are a liar you God damned son of a bitch" and did then and there raise his hand and strike him the said Lieut. Morris Kayser in the face.

This at Regimental Head Quarters Alexandria Va. July 26th 1862.



[page 5]
(4)

To which Charge + Specification the accused plead as follows Viz.

To the Charge Not Guilty
To the Specification Guilty

[Prosecution case]

[Tayman's testimony]

Lt B. J. Tayman 91st Regt. Pa. Vols witness for prosecution was called and duly sworn.

By J. A. Your name + Regt?

Answer B. J. Tayman Adjutant 91st Pa. Vols.

Ques by J.A. Do you know Capt A. H. Bowman same Regt?

Answer I do

Ques by J.A. How long have you known him?

Answer Since October

Ques. by J.A. Did you see him on or about the 26th of July?

Answer Near the last of July.



[page 6]

Ques. by J.A Was this at Regimental Head Quarters?

Answer At Provost Marshals office.

Ques. by J.A Did you hear him say to Lt Morris Kayser "You are a liar you God damned son of a bitch"?

Answer They were in a room separate from the office. I heard the lie given and the words "son of a bitch" but dont [sic] know who used them.

Ques. by J.A. Was the door open?

Answer It was partly.

Ques. by J.A. At the distance of 10 feet could you distinguish the voice of Lt Kayser from Captain Bowman?

Answer Not at that time.

Quest. by J.A. Do you know of prisoner's striking Lt Kayser?

Answer I do after I heard the words I heard a blow and started up. Capt. Bowman struck



[page 7]
(6)

Lt Kayser on the jaw and was going to strike him again when I jumped in between them.

Ques. by J.A. Where was this?

Answer In a small room from the Provost Marshal's office Alexandria.

Ques. by J.A. Did you see the 1st blow struck?

Answer I heard the first saw the second and an attempt to strike the third.

Ques. by J.A. What other persons were in the room?

Answer Lt Ewing 1st Ohio Lieut. Gregory 91st Pa. + one or two of the clerks I think.

Ques by Court Do you know of your personal knowledge the cause of this difficulty?

Answer I do not

Ques. by Court What is the general



[page 8]
character of the Lieut?

Answer Good as far as I know.

Ques. by Court What is the general character of the Captain?

Answer Good

signed B. J. Tayman

[McNeil's testimony]

Geo. H. McNeil Co. A 91st Regt Pa. Vols. witness for the prosecution was called and duly sworn.

Ques. by J.A. Do you [word struck out: 'know'] belong to 91st Regt

Answer I am a Private of Co. A 91st Regt

Ques. by J.A. Do you know Lt Kayser?

Answer I do

Ques by J.A Was you [sic] at HeadQuarters the 26th of July?

Answer Sometime the latter part of July.



[page 9]
(8)

Ques. by J.A. Did Lt Kayser or Captain Bowman come in first?

Answer They were both there when I came in.

Ques. by J.A. What was the first that you saw or heard between the Lt and Captain?

Answer I was sitting at my desk writing when I heard a hard blow come down and the words "You are a liar." I stopped writing and went in the room. I got up from my seat and went where I had a full view of the small room. The Lt was standing with his back to the window and the Captain stood facing him. Captain made use of the remark "You are a liar God damn you." He then struck him in the mouth and knocked a pipe out of his mouth.

Ques. by J.A. Did he strike him more than once?

Answer I saw but one blow

Ques by J.A. What next occurred?



[page 10]

Answer I ran in the room and the Adj't ran in at a side door the same time. The Captain attempted to strike Lt again and the Adjt caught him by the arm.

Ques. by J.A. Did you hear any conversation prior?

Answer I heard high words but thought it was joking until I heard the words "You are a liar."

Ques. by J.A. What next occurred?

Answer The Lieut stepped back into a doorway and said "Captain you are my superior but I'll strike you if you do it again" he then passed out the door

Ques. by J.A. What other remarks if any did Lt Kayser make?

Answer The Captain came out the door and sat down with the morning report book in his hand I went and took my place at the desk and the Lieut stood close by me. He made the remark "I've got him where I want him I've been



[page 11]
(10)
waiting for this. The Lieut then went out.

Ques by J.A. Is that all he said?

Answer It is.

Ques. by Court Did that blow sound like striking hands or like striking a desk?

Answer Like clapping hands.

Ques by J.A. Was this remark of the Lieut made before or after the Captain struck him?

Answer After

Ques. by Court. Do you swear that you saw the Capt. strike the Lieut?

Answer [Words struck out: Did you hear the Captain say anything after] I do

Ques by J.A. Did you hear the Captain say anything after he had struck?

Answer I did not.



[page 12]

Ques. by prisoner Did you understand from this that the Lieut had accomplished his object in causing me to commit myself?

Answer I so understood it

Signed Geo H McNeill


[Gregory's testimony]

Lt [Francis] Gregory 91st Pa. Vols witness for the prosecution was called and duly sworn.

Ques. by J.A. To what Regt. do you belong?

Answer Co A. 91st P. Vols.

Ques by J.A. Do you know Capt Bowman Co. B same regiment?

Answer I do

Ques by J.A. Do you know of his striking Lieut. Kayser same Co?

Answer I do. I was present at the time.

Ques. by J.A. When was that?

Answer On or about the 26th July.



[page 13]
(12)

By J.A. State what conversation took place between Lt Kayser and Captain Bowman before striking?

Answer The Lieut came and shook hands with me right at the top of the stairs He had a pipe in his mouth; said "how are you Frank" and we walked into the Q.M.'s room. About a minute after the Captain came in and said to Lieut "Who put you in command of my Co?" The Lt (Kayser) then made the remark "In your absence I supposed I was in command" The Captain replied "You are a damned liar" He then struck Lt Kayser on the face as near as I can judge.

Ques by J.A. Do you know whether the Lieut. had signed the morning report in place of Captain?

Answer I only know what the Lieut. told me that he had signed it.

Ques. by J.A. Is that all the conversation you heard prior to the striking of the blow?

Answer It is.

[page 14]
(13)

Ques by J.A. Had Capt. Bowman been absent from his Co immediately before this?

Answer Not to my knowledge

Ques. by Court Did you ever have any difficulty with Capt. Bowman?

Answer I never had. I always met him on friendly terms

Ques by Court Did you hear the remark of the Lieut. About "Now I have got him"?

Answer I heard them talking but what they said I could not understand.

Ques. by Prisoner Did not the Lt say he was always in command of my Co?

Answer I did not hear it.

Ques. by Court Have you heard Lieut Kayser say that he wished to get some hold on Captain Bowman?

Answer I have



[page 15]
(14)

Ques by Court Does the Lt as a general thing attend to his duty?

Answer As far as I know he does.

Ques by Court Does the Captain?

Answer As far as I know, he does.

Signed F. H. Gregory


The Court then adjourned until 1 1/2 o'clock P.M.

[Ewing's testimony]

Alexandria Va. Aug. 20th

The court met pursuant to adjournment.

Present
Same as at morning session
Absent
Same as at morning session

Lt. M. B. Ewing 1st Ohio Vols. for the prosecution was called and duly sworn.

Ques. by J.A. To what Regt do you belong?

[page 16]

Answer 1st Ohio Light Artillery

Ques by J.A. Do you know Captain A. H. Bowman the prisoner?

Answer I do. I have a slight acquaintance with him.

Ques by J.A. Do you know Lt Morris Kayser 91st P.V.

Answer I do

Ques. by J.A. Was you [sic] at Head Quarters 91st P.V. on or about the 26th of July?

Answer I was.

By J.A. State briefly what you heard and saw that morning with reference to this difficulty? [sic]

Answer I was sitting in the Provost Marshal's office and heard voices in the adjoining Q.M's room one of which I recognized as Capt Bowman's. A few minutes after Capt Bowman + Lieut. Kayser came into the doorway and while there I saw Capt. Bowman strike Lieut Kayser in the face.



[page 17]
(16)

Ques. by J.A. Did you hear the prisoner say to Lieut. Kayser "You are a liar you God damned son of a bitch"?

Answer I heard Capt. Bowman repeat the words "liar" and damned son of a bitch." I know his voice.

By J.A. State briefly what conversation between the prisoner and Lieut Kayser before striking? [sic]

Answer Not being in the room I heard nothing but I have already mentioned. Immediately afterward Lt Kayser walked backward and Capt. Bowman followed him.

By Court Did you hear Lieut Kayser say anything with reference to this after coming into the room?

Answer I heard nothing except the Lieut. warned the Captain that if he persisted in striking him he should regardless of his superiority return the blow.

Signed Lt M. B. Ewing
[several illegible words] Artillery

[page 18]

[King's testimony]

Private Charles King [either Charles King or Charles J King] 91st Regt. P. Vols. witness for prosecution was called but owing to his not appearing in uniform, the reception of his testimony until his uniform was procured and the objection sustained. [sic]

Private Charles King witness for the prosecution was called and duly sworn.

Ques by J.A. To what Regt. do you belong?

Answer 91st P. Vols.

Ques by J.A. Do you know Captain A. H. Bowman?

Answer I do. I have known him about 10 months.

Ques by J.A. Do you know Lt Kayser?

Answer I do.

By J.A. State what you may know of this difficulty? [sic]

Answer I saw Capt. Bowman strike Lt Kayser



[page 19]
(18)

Ques by J.A. Where + When

Answer About the 25th of last month in the Col's office. I heard some scuffling and high words in an adjoining room. I recognized the voice to be Capt Bowman's.

Ques by J.A. What conversation took place between Capt. Bowman + Lieut. Kayser previous to the striking?

Answer I know of none.

Ques. by Court Did you hear Lt Kayser say anything?

Answer Nothing more than that he did not wish to strike a superior officer.

Ques. by Court What other conversation?

Answer Captain Bowman called Kayser a damned rascal and said he could whip him in two minutes. He also said "I would put a ball though him"



[page 20]
(19)

He looked me in the face when he said this.

Ques by Court Have you ever had any difficulty with Capt. Bowman?

Answer Never on any point

Signed Charles King.


Prosecution here rested its case

[Defence case]

[Elder's testimony]

Sergeant W. B. Elder Co. B. 91st Pa. Vols. witness for the defence was called and duly sworn.

Ques by Pris. Was I in command of my Co. on the morning of this difficulty?

Answer You was. [sic]

Ques by Pris. Had I been absent for several days previous?

Answer You had not.

Ques by Pris. Have you been in the habit of dispatching the morning report to my quarters when I was not there to sign it?

Answer I was



[page 21]
(20)

Ques by Pris On the morning of this trouble did you inform me that the report had been signed and sent to Head Quarters?

Answer I did

Ques by Pris. Can you state whether the Lieut know that I was in command?

Answer I cannot but I told the Lieut. that it was my custom to take the report to you to be signed. He said you had no right to sign it when you was [sic] not at the co. quarters.

Ques by Pris Will you state whether Lieut Kayser had signed the report prevous to this morning?

Answer I cannot. I do not recollect. He asked me if I had been in the habit of taking the Report to the Captain to be signed. I told him I had when he directed me to bring it to him for his signature on the next morning.

Cross Examination by J.A.

[page 22]

Ques by J.A. Did the Lieut make any remarks when signing the report?

Answer Not further than I have already stated.

Ques by J.A. Does the Lt sleep at Co. Quarters?

Answer He does

Ques by J.A. Does the Captain?

Answer He does not.

Ques by J.A. Do you have an officer present at roll calls?

Answer We do

Ques. by J.A. Who?

Answer Some times both the Capt. + Lieut. Generally the Lieut.

Ques by J.A. Who is generally present at Reveille?

Answer Lieut Kayser

Ques by J.A. Was the Captain ever present at Reveille?



[page 23]
22

Answer Sometimes

Ques by Court When the Lieut signed the report was the Capt ne[ar] so that he could have signed it?

Answer He was.

Ques by Court Has the Report ever sent [sic] for by the Adj't because it was late?

Answer He has

Ques by J.A. Why was it late?

Answer Because it was not signed.

Ques by Court When the Adj't sent for the report did he ever find fault say [sic] that if one officer was not there to sign it another should?

Answer He found fault sometimes but never said anything to that effect

Ques. by J.A. If you had waited until the Captain had signed it would it have been on time



[page 24]
(23)

Answer It would.

Ques by J.A. Was you [sic] about to take it to the Captain when the Lieut. signed it?

Answer I was

Ques by J.A. Did the Captain ever tell you that the Lieut should not. sign it?

Answer He Did when he was in command.

Ques by J.A. When the Captain was away (if ever) who signed it?

Answer Lt Kayser

Ques by J.A. Did the Captain tell the Lieut. to take command of the Co?

Answer Not to my knowledge.

Signed Sergt. W. B. Elder

[Partenheimer's testimony]

Private [John] Partenheimer witness for defence was called and duly sworn.

Ques by J.A. Do you know Capt Bowman + Lieut Kayser 91st Pa. Vols?



[page 25]
(24)

Answer I do.

Ques by Pris Did you know of a difficulty between them on or about the 26th July?

Answer I did indirectly

By Pris. State if you know of any provocation for this striking?

Answer Since we were joined in Co. there has been trouble between the Captain + Lieut. I have noticed many a little thing that has happened but cannot particularize.

Ques. by Pris. Do you know what the occasion was of their not being on good terms?

Answer I believed the Lieut. wished to take command of the Co.

Ques by Pris. What caused you to think so?

Answer I have seen the Lt treat the Captain very disrespectfully. Very officious



[page 26]

Ques by Pris. Did you ever know the Lieut. to countermand an order given by the Captain?

Answer I did on one occasion by order of the Major.

Ques by Pris. Where was the Captain at this time?

Answer He was in command of Co.

Ques. by Pris. Do you know that this order came from the Major?

Answer Only what the Lieut. said.

Signed John C. Partenheimer.


[Molyneaux's testimony]

Sergt John Molyneux witness for defence was called and duly sworn.

Ques by Pris. Do you know Capt. Bowman 91st P.V. + Lt. Kayser?

Answer I do

Ques. by Pris. Do you know of this difficulty between them?

Answer I have heard of it.



[page 27]
(26)

Ques. by Pris Do you know of any provocation to this striking?

Answer I know they have not been on good terms but know of no reason.

Ques by Pris. Do you know whether the Captain was in command that morning?

Answer I do not remember

signed J. M. Molyneaux

The court adjourned until tomorrow (21st) morning at 10 o'clock A.M.


Alexandria Va Aug 21st

The Court met pursuant to adjournment

 Present 
Lieut ColWallace91st P.V.
MajorBennett"Scotts 900"
CaptainClaypole10th N.J.
"Speering27 Pa.
"Kenyon"Scotts 900"
LieutKendrick10th N.J.
"Lawrence2nd D.C.
"Kiesele" " "
 


[page 28]
(27)
 Absent 
CaptainRemington"Scotts 900"
LieutMix" "

The Court then proceeded to a decision in the Case of Capt Alpheus H. Bowman. There being no statement introduced for the defense in the absence of further proof the case was closed then court was cleared and after mature deliberation on the evidence adduced do accept the prisoner's plea to the Specification


Guilty

and do find him


To the Charge Guilty

do therefore sentence the accused Captain Alpheus H. Bowman Co. B 91st Pa. Vols

To be dismissed the Service of the United States

Lt. Col. Wallace
91st Regt Penn Volunteers
President

Lieut E. D Benedict
Scotts "900" Cavy
Judge Advocate

[page 29]
(28)

[the sentence]

We do hereby certify that the foregoing is the sentence of the Court Martial in the case of Captain Alpheus H. Bowman Co. B 91st Pa. Vols.

Lt Col. Wallace
91st Regt Penn Vol
President

Lieut E D Benedict
Scotts 900" Cavy
Judge Advocate

[recommendation for pardon]

Washington D.C. Aug 22nd

The Court met pursuant to adjournment.

 Present 
Lt ColWallace91st Pa. Vols
MajorBennett"Scotts 900" Cavy
CaptainClaypole10th N.J.
"Speering27th Pa.
"Kenyon"Scotts 900" Cavy
LieutKendrick10th N.J.
"Lawrence2nd D.C.
"Kiesele" " "
 
 Absent 
CaptainRemington"Scotts 900"
LieutNix" "

The Court being organised the case of Bowman was considered and the following recommendation made.



[page 30]
(29)

The foregoing sentence having been found in accordance with the evidence as we believe as by our oaths we were bound to do. We the following named members of the Court Martial, believing that there had been a long and aggravated series of provocations practiced upon the prisoner by his first Lieut Morris Kayser culminating in the act of signing the Co. morning report while prisoner was in quarters (see testimony of Sergt) which immediately preceded the act of striking; together with repeated disrespectful conduct by said Lieut towards Capt. Bowman the prisoner, were circumstances which--although they do not justify prisoner's conduct--should be received in mitigation of prisoner's punishment. We do therefore earnestly recommend that the reviewing [word crossed out: officer] Authority will exercise the pardoning power so far at least as to commute the foregoing sentence to the following--viz.

"That the prisoner be suspended 3 months--all pay + allowances stopped--that he shall be confined to camp while in camp or garrison and when on the march that he march in rear of his company."



[page 31]
Lieut ColWallace91st Regt Pa. Vol.
Lieut ColBennettScotts "900" Cavy
CaptSpearing27th Penn
CaptKenyonScotts "900" Cavalry
LieutKendrick Jr10th N.J. Vols
LieutLawrence2nd D.C. Vol
LieutKiesele2nd D.C. Vol
LieutBenedictScotts "900" Cavalry

Resolved that the Judge Advocate be + he is hereby authorised to sign the names of the members concurring in the above recommendation to the same when engrossed.

Unanimously Carried

[adjournment]

The following order adjourning the Court sine die was then read and court dissolved accordingly


Head Quarters Mil. Dist. of Washington Aug. 22nd
Special Orders No 167 - Extract

2--The General Court Martial convened pursuant to Special Orders No 157 of which Lt. Col Wallace 91st Penna Vols. is President will upon receipt of this order adjourn Sine die. The officers will rejoin their respective regiments.



[page 32]
31
By command of Brig Gen. Wadsworth

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