Joseph Gilbert--court martial proceedings

[source: National Archives]
[This consists in nine manuscript pages]
[I have proofread this page, but not yet added the data]


[page 1] (1)
Proceedings of a General Court Martial convened at Head Quarters 1st Division 5th Corps near Hatcher Run Va. by virtue of the following order:

Head Quarters 1st Division 5th Corps
Near Hatcher's Run Va
March 13th 1865

General Orders No. 6

A General Court Martial is hereby appointed to meet at Head Quarters 1st Division 5th Corps at 10 O Clock A.M. on the 15th day of March 1865 or as soon thereafter as practicable for the trial of 1st Lieut Frederick Lautenslager R.Q.M. 187th N.Y. Vols. and such other cases as may be brought before it. [First Lieut Frederick Lautenslager, RQM, was dismissed on 16 April 1865 (Official Army Register).]


Detail for the Court
1. Bvt. Colnel [sic] John Ewing 155th Penna. Vols.
[Lt Col John Ewing mustered out with the 155th PA on 2 June 1865; he was promoted on 23 July 1864, and was promoted to Brevet Colonel 6 July 1864 (Official Army Register)]
2. Lieut. Colnel [sic] Eli G. Sellers91st " "
3. " " J. G. Townsand 189th N. Y. Vols.
[Lt Col Joseph G Townsend mustered out with the 189th NY on 30 May 1865; he had been promoted on 25 Jun 1865, and was promoted to Brevet Colonel on 1 April 1865 (Official Army Register)]
4. Major Wm. Whithey 189th " "
[Major William H Whithey mustered out with the 189th NY on 30 May 1865; he had been promoted on 12 Feb 1865 (Official Army Register)]
5. CaptainR. B. Plummer 20th Maine Vols
[Captain Rufus B Plummer was discharged from the 20th Maine on 4 June 1865 (Official Army Register)]
6. " Powell Stackhouse 198th Penna. "
[Major Powell Stackhouse mustered out with the 198th PA on 4 June 1865; he had been promoted on 1 May 1865 (Official Army Register)]
7. " Benjamin F. Gardner " " "
[Captain Benjamin F Gardner mustered out with the 198th PA on 4 June 1865; he had been promoted on 16 September 1864 (Official Army Register)]
8. " George W. Lauriat 32nd Mass. Vols.
[Captain George W Lauriat mustered out with the 32nd Mass on 29 June 1865; he had been promoted on 9 September 1864 (Official Army Register)]
9. " Albera H Barber 185th N.Y. "
[Captain Albera H Barber mustered out with the 185th NY on 29 May 1865; he had been promoted on 23 September 1864 (Official Army Register)]
10." William Washburn 189th " " "
[Captain William Washburne mustered out with the 189th NY on 30 May 1865; he had been promoted on 21 September 1864 (Official Army Register)]
[page 2]
 CaptainHoward L. Prince 20th Me. Vols
Judge Advocate
[Captain Howard L Prince was discharged from the 20th Maine on 4 June 1865 (Official Army Register)]

The Court will sit without regard to hours.

No other officers than those named can be assembled without manifest injury to the service.

By Command of
Bvt. Maj. Gen. Griffin
(Sgd.) Wm Fowler
A. A. A. Gen.

Head Quarters 1st Division 5th Corps
Near Hatcher's Run Va.
1 P.M. March 28th 1865

The Court met persuant [sic] to the above order.-- Present the Judge Advocate and all the members of the Court except Lt. Col. Ewing + Capt. Stockhouse. The former from wounds received in action, the latter being absent from the Army with leave.

The Court then proceeded to the trial of Capt. Joseph Gilbert Co. C. 91st Penna. Vols. who was brought before the court and having heard the order read concerning the Court was asked if he had any objections to any member named in the order to which he replied that he had not.--

[page 3]

Lieut. Col. Eli G. Sellers asked to be relieved from sitting on this case, as he would not be able to give an unbiased opinion.

The request was granted and Lt. Col. Eli G. Sellers then relieved.

The charges and specifications were then read to the Court by the Judge Advocate.

The Court was then duly sworn by the Judge Advocate in the presence of the accused and the Judge Advocate was sworn in his presence by the President of the Court.

The accused was then arraigned on the following Charges & Specifications.

Charge 1st Disobedience of orders

Specification 1st That Capt Joseph Gilbert Co. C. 91st Regt. Penna Vols. when ordered by the commanding officer of the regiment Lieut. Col. Eli G. Sellers to take command of Co. F in the first division of the regiment while on parade for Review, he the said Capt. Joseph Gilbert did not obey the order but did say in a very disrespectful manner, that there was "some God damned funny things going on here." This at or near Hatcher's Run Va. on or about the 16th day of March 1865.

Charge 2nd Contemptious [sic] and disrespectful behaviour towards his Commanding Officer


[page 4]

Specification 1st In this that Capt. Joseph Gilbert did when ordered by his Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Eli G. Sellers to take command of a Company in the first division of his regiment behave in a disrespectful manner and say that there was "some God damned funny things going on here."

This at or near Hatchers run Va. on or about the 16th day of March 1865.

To which Charges & Specifications the accused pleaded as follows

To the Specification of the 1st Charge "Not Guilty"
To the Charge "Not Guilty"
To the Specification of the 2nd charge "Not Guilty"
To the Charge "Not Guilty"

Lt. Col. Eli G. Sellers was then called as a witness for the prosecution and being duly sworn testified as follows.

Ques. by the Judge Advocate Please state your name, rank, and regiment.

Ans. Eli G. Sellers Lt. Col. 91st Penna. V. Vols.

Ques. Do you know the accused?

Ans. Yes Sir.

Ques. Did you have any conversation with him on the 16th. of March 1865?

[page 5]

Ans Yes Sir.

Ques Please state the circumstances?

Ans On the afternoon of the 16th the regiment was paraded for review in front of Div. Hospital. I was not present when the regiment first arrived on the ground, having been detained on Court Martial. when I arrived I releived [sic] Capt [Theodore] Hope who was in command of the regiment, and ordered him to take command of the 1st Division. I then saw that Capt. Gilbert had had command of the 1st Division and had gone to the rear of the regiment. I then sent the Adjutant to tell Capt. Gilbert to take command of Co. F. which was in the 1st Division under the command of Capt. Hope. He came up alongside my horse and asked me if he should take command of Co. F. I told him that he was to do so. He then said that his company was present, and why not take command of that. I told him my orders were "to take command of co F."; he said that there was some "God damned funny work going on here". I then ordered him to his Quarters under arrest.

Ques. Was Capt. Hope senior to Capt. Gilbert?

Ans. Yes Sir Senior Capt. present.

[page 6]

Ques. Did he refuse to obey your order, to take command of Co F?

Ans He did not refuse in words, only in manner. I judged from the manner in which he acted that he did not intend to do it.

Ques Did you know that Capt. Gilbert was in command of the Division when you ordered Capt. Hope to it?

Ans No Sir. Capt. Hope said to me "I suppose I'm relieved. I may get out of this," or something to that effect. I told him "No"--that I wanted him there to take command of the Division.

Ques. by Accused
Are you certain that I used the word "God" at the time I spoke?

Ans Yes Sir I am certain of it. either "God damned funny work"; or "God damned funny things"; I don't know which, but I know it was "God damned."

Ques Did not Capt. Hope tell you I was in command of the 1st Division?

Ans No Sir he did not that I remember of.

Ques Are you positive that I used the word "funny"?

The question was deemed surperfluous [sic] by the Court, and was not put to the witness.

The Court was then cleared for [page 7] deliberation upon the evidence, after which Lt Col. Eli G. Sellers was recalled and testified as follows.

Questioned by Judge Advocate

Ques What was the position of the regiment at the time of this conversation?

Ans Column by Divisions at half distance.

Ques Where were you at the time?

Ans I was opposite the left flank of the regiment between the Second and third Division.

Ques From which direction did the Captain approach you?

Ans From the rear.

Ques Was he in the direct way to Co. F at that time?

Ans He was.

Questioned by the Court

Ques Did he go toward Co. F. after the conversation with you?

Ans No Sir, he did not.

Questioned by the Judge Advocate

Ques. Did he have time to do so before being [page 8] placed in arrest?

Ans I do not know wether [sic] he would have had time to have reached there. he had time to have started. He did not make any effort to start at all.

Questioned by the Court

Ques How long after he made the remark that there was "God damned funny things" here did you place him in arrest?

Ans I placed him in arrest immediately. I ordered him to his quarters in arrest.


The evidence for the prosecution here closed.

The accused declined to bring any evidence or make any writen [sic] statements in his defence, and the Court was cleared for deliberation having maturely considered the evidence adduced finds the accused as follows.--

Of the Specification of the 1st Charge "Guity":
except the words "did not obey the order"
Of the Charge "Not Guilty"
Of the Specification of the 2nd Charge "Guity"
Of the Charge "Guity"
[the "except" line is very light, as are the subsequent findings]
[page 9]
and the Court does therefore sentance [sic] him Capt. Joseph Gilbert Co. C. 91st Penna Vol.
To forfeit one months pay and allowances

J G Townsend
Lt. Col. 189th N.Y. Vols.
President Gen. Court Martial

Howard L. Prince
Capt. 20th Maine Vols.
Judge Advocate Gen. Court Martial

The proceedings, findings, and sentence in the foregoing are approved.


J. [?] L. Chamberlain
Brig Genl.
Comdg. Division

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revised 13 Dec 03
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