91st PA: Morris Kayser--court martial

Court martial record--Morris Kayser

[source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 153, NN-137]
[This consists in six letter-sized pages, and eighteen legal-sized pages]
[I have proofread this.]
[see general order 36, 5th Corps Headquarters, 22 August 1863 for Fred Locke's view that the sentence was "entirely inadequate"]
[see consolidated morning report, 91st PA, 26 Aug 63]

Index



[Preliminaries]


[page 1]
1
Proceedings of a General Court Martial convened in obedience to the following Special Order viz
Special Order No 1
1 A General Court Martial is hereby appointed to assemble in the camp of the 3d Brigade at 2 O clock pm to day or as soon thereafter as practable [sic] for the trial of such officers and enlisted men as may be brought before it

Detail for the Court
1Lt Col Louis Ernst140th NY Vols
[Lieut Colonel Louis Ernst, 140th New York Infantry, was discharged on 15 August 1863 (Official army register)]
2Capt. Jno P. Casner91st Pa. "
3" Milo L Starks140th NY "
[Major Milo L. Starks, 140th New York Infantry, was killed in action on 8 May 1864 (Official army register)]
4" W J Clark" " "
[William J Clark, 140th New York Infantry, was appointed Major on 17 March 1865, and mustered out with the regiment, on 3 June 1865]
5" Jos B Sackett155th Pa "
[Captain Joseph B Sackett, of the 155th Pennsylvania Infantry, accidentally drowned in Cedar Creek, Virginia, on 24 January 1864.]
6" James Stewart146" NY [?] "
[Captain James Stewart, of the 146th New York Infantry, was appointed Brevet Major on 13 March 1865. He was disharged on 5 June 1865.]
7Lieut J B Cushman" " "
[Captain Joseph B Cushman, 146th New York Infantry, was discharged on 1 June 1864.]
8" Jno T. [?] Denniston155" Pa "
[First Lieutenant John T Denniston, of the 155th Pennsylvania Infantry, resigned on 31 December 1864.]
Capt Jas Grindlay146th NY "
 Judge Advocate
[James Grindlay was appointed Brevet Lieutenant Colonel on 13 March 1865, and Colonel of the 146th New York Infantry on 15 March 1865. He mustered out with the regiment on 6 July 1865.]

[page 2]

11
No other Officers than those named can be assembled without manifest injury to the Service. The Court will sit without regard to hours. By Command of
Brig. Genl Ayres
signed Geo Ryan Capt 7th Intfy [?]
A. A. A. Genl
Dated
Hd Qrs 2d Div 5th AC
Camp near Warrenton Va July 29/63.

Camp near Warrenton Va
July 30th 1863
The Court met pursuant to the above Order + Adjournment
Present
Lt Col Ernst140th NY Vols
Capt. Jno P. Casner91 Pa "
" W J Clark140 NY "
" Jos B Sackett155 Pa. "
" Jas Stewart146 NY "
Lieut J B Cushman" " "
Capt Jas Grindlay" " "
Judge Advocate
Absent
Capt Milo L Starks146th [sic] NY Vols
Lieut Jno. T. Denniston155 Pa "

[page 3]

The Proceedings in the foregoing Cases were read, approved and signed


[Charges and specifications]

The accused Morris Kayser 1st Lieutenant Co B 91st Regt Pa. Vols was then called into Court and having heard the Special Order convening the Court read was asked if he had any objections to be tried by any of the members named therin [sic] to which he replied in the negative.

The court was then duly sworn by the Judge Advocate and the Judge Advocate duly sworn by the Presiding Officer of the Court in the presence of the accused who was then arraigned on the following charges + Specifications viz


Charges and Specifications preferred against Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co B 91st Regt Pa. Vols
charge 1st Absence without leave
Specification 1st That Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co "B" 91st Pa Vols did have his company + Regiment without permission from proper authority This at Camp near Falmouth Va

[page 4]

12
on or about the 19th day of February 1863
Specification 2d

That Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co "B" 91st Regt Pa. Vols while his company and Regt were on picket duty and while he was reported sick in camp did take advantage of the absence of his company and Regt to leave Camp and visit Philadelphia Pa without permission from his Commanding Officer and remain absent from the 19th to the 23rd day of Feby 1863. This at Camp near Falmouth Va between the 19th and 23rd days of February 1863.


Charge 2d Disobedience of Orders

Specification 1 That Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co B 91st Regt Pa. Vols when relieved from duty as acting adjutant and when ordered by his Commanding Officer to report to Captain A H Bowman Co "B" 91st Regt Pa Vols for duty did refuse to obey the Order in the following letter and figures viz. Camp near U S Ford Va June 11th 1863. Lieut B J Tayman Adj. 91st Reg Pa. Vols Lieutenant Having been releived [sic]

[page 5]

from duty as Acting Adjutant I therefore most respectfully but positively refuse returning to duty in Co "B". I am Lieut very Respectfully Yours &c. Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co B 91st Pa Vols All this while the Regiment was stationed at or near United States Ford Va. on or about the 11th day of June 1863.


Charge 3rd Absence without leave

Specification 1 That Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co "B" 91st Regt Pa Vols did leave his Company and Regiment without authority of his Commdg Officer. this at or near Gettysburg Pa. on or about the 2d day of July 1863.

Specification 2 That said Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co B 91st Regt Pa Vols having permission from his Commdg Officer to fall to the rear of the Regiment on account of Sickness did leave his Regt and visit Washington D.C. and remain absent from the 2d day of July until the 19th day of July 1863. this while his Regt was at or near Gettysburg Pa. between the 2d + 19th day of July 1863 at which time


[page 6]

13
he rejoined his Regiment at Purcellville Va on the 19th day of July 1863

Jos H Sinex
Lt Col Commdg 91st Regt Pa Vols

Witnessed
Edgar M Gregory Col 91st Pa Vols
Benj J Tayman Adj " "
Eli G Sellers Capt Co G " "
H W Shipley 2nd Lieut " "
J. A Gregory " " Co B "
Chas Leipold Private Co "A" "
I D Knight Surgeon " "

To which the accused pleaded as follows

To the1st Specification 1st ChargeGuilty
" "2d " " "Not Guilty as to leaving the regt while on picket duty but Guilty as to absence from 19 to 23 Feb
" "1st ChargeGuilty
" "1st Specification of the 2d ChargeGuilty
" "2d ChargeGuilty
" "1st Specification of the 3d ChargeNot Guilty
" "2d " " " " "Not Guilty
" "3rd ChargeNot Guilty

[Benjamin Tayman's testimony]

Benj J Tayman, witness for the prosecution

[page 7]

was then called and being duly sworn testified as follows I am adjutant of the 91st Regt Pa Vols accused is 1st Lieut in Co "B" of same Regt. the accused admitted to the Col of the Regt in my Hearing that he had been absent without leave stating that he left to see his sister married. this was in February 1863. the accused applied through me for a leave of absence in April following the Col refused to approve of his leave on his admitting that he had been in Philadelphia in February without authority he then requested that the charge might be proven against him

Question by Judge Advocate Was the Regt out on Picket duty when the accused left

Answer I was then absent on leave, but the reports show that the regt was on Picket duty from 19th to 23d February 1863.


[page 8]

Question by Judge Advocate Do you know why the accused refused to report to Capt Bowman for duty

Answer I believe on account of some personal [?] feelings between them

[Justus Gregory's testimony]

JA Gregory was then called into court on behalf of the prosecution and being duly sworn testifies as follows

I am 2d Lieut in Co B. 91st Regt Pa Vols the accused is 1st Lieut in same Regt.--do not remember the exact date--but during the latter end of February 1863 the accused told me that he had been to Philadelphia to see his sister who was married at that time. I asked him how he got there without a pass. He replied that that was an easy matter or words to that effect. I was on detached service and cannot say whether the regiment was on picket duty or not when the

[page 9]

accused was absent.


[Eli Sellers' testimony]

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

Do not know whether the accused had leave of absence or not to visit Philadelphia do not know the exact date when he was absent it was some time during the latter part of February

Question by the accused When you first missed me from the Mess was the Regt then in Camp

Answer It was

Question by the Accused On your Return from Picket duty was I in camp

Answer He was when we returned


[Charles Leipold's testimony]

Charles Leipold being called on the prosecution [sic] and duly sworn testifies as follows

Am a Member of Co "A" 91st Regt Pa Vols the accused is 1st Lieut in Co "B" of same Regt I act sometimes as Orderly of the Adjutants Office

[page 10]

had occasion to enquire for the accused and was told by the Cook of the Officers Mess of his Company that the accused had left that morning at 6 A.M. I keep a memorandum of dates. this was on the morning of the 19th February 1863. the regt. was then on picket duty having gone out on the morning before (the 18th) and remained out on picket until the 21st day of February 1863. I made out the Morning reports of the regiment during the latter part of February (the adjutant being then absent) and it is so reported during the 18. 19 & 20th of February 1863 on said reports

Question by the Court What led you to enquire for the accused at that time

Answer Knowing that he had been desirous of obtaining a furlough and being reported as sick in Camp was the reason I enquired after him

Question by the Accused Does the Witness

[page 11]

remember of my talking to him the day that the Regt returned from Picket duty, in front of the Adjutants Office

Answer I do not

Question by the accused Does the Witness remember seeing me the morning the Regt returned from Picket duty

Answer I do not


[Joseph Sinex's testimony]

Jos H Sinex was then introduced as a witness for the prosecution and being duly sworn testifed as follows

Am Lt Col 91st Regt Pa Vols the accused is 1st Lieut in Co B. same regiment. On the 2d day of July 1863 I gave the accused a pass to fall in rear of the Regiment to ride in an ambulance on account of Sickness. I did not see the accused again until the 17th or 18th of same month when he joined the Regt while on the march towards Warrenton Va. the pass was to follow the Regt have since recd an Order

[page 12]

from Hd Qrs to report why the accused was in Washington DC as he had been reported by the Authorities there applying for a pass to join his regt I reported him as being absent without authority and preferred the Charge [see letter, Sinex to Marvin, 2 Aug 1863]

Question by Judge Advocate Did the accused report when he joined the regt. on the 19th day of July and give any explanation of his absence

Answer He reported and stated that he had been there but gave no reason why


[Isaac Knight's testimony]

I. D Knight being called on the prosecution [sic] being duly sworn testifies as follows Am Surgeon of the 91st Regt P. Vols the accused is a 1st Lieut in Same Regt. On or about the 1st day of July 1863 I gave the accused a pass to ride on an ambulance on account of sickness the last pass I signed was dated on the 2nd day of July. On the evening of that day I saw

[page 13]

the accused who told me that the Ambulance had been ordered to be cleared of the sick he was then in company with Capt [Matthew] Hall of same Regt who had just been brought in from the field wounded I was then looking for the Division Hospital and did not see the accused again until the next day at the Division Hospital also with Capt Hall On or about the 6th day of July I was ordered to join my Regt when I left the Division Hospital leaving the accused there and did not see him again until we reached Purcellville Va on or about the 19th day of July 1863

Question by Judge Advocate Did you Consider the accused a fit Subject for hospital treatment when you left him there

Answer I did. he was then suffering from Acute Rheumatism and was unfit for duty

Question by the Judge Advocate Did the Accused ask to be sent to Baltimore

[page 14]

with Capt Hall

Answer He did not

The case for the prosecution here closed

[William Keir's testimony]

Wm George Keir was introduced as a witness for the defense and being duly sworn testifies as follows

Am Assistant Surgeon of the 91st Regt Pa Vols the accused is 1st Lieut in same Regt I prescribed for the accused some time previous to the 2d day of July he being sick

Question by Judge Advocate Did you consider the accused unfit for duty on account of his sickness

Answer I did and thought he ought to be sent to some Hospital and am glad to hear that he was at Division Hospital

Question by the Judge Advocate Did the accused apply while on the March to Gettysburg to be sent to a Hospital



[page 15]

Answer He had not but could we have done so would have sent him as I thought it necessary


[statement by Morris Kayser]

The defense here closed and the accused spoke as follows I admit having gone to Philadelphia. did so to see a sister who was in poor health and was about to remove to the West I intended to return as soon as possible, was absent three days-- The accused then had the following statement which is herewith attached marked A in answer to the 2d charge I was sent from Division Hospital to Baltimore being sick and unfit for duty and returned as soon as my health would permit by way of Washington


[Findings and sentence]

The Court was then cleared and after mature deliberation on the evidence adduced find the Accused Morris Kayser 1st Lieut co "B" 91st Regt Pa Vols

[page 16]

as follows

of the1st Specification of the 1st chargeGuilty
" "2nd " " " "Not Guilty
[Fred Locke claimed the evidence proved he was guilty on this specification; see general order 36, 5th corps hq, 22 August 1863]
" "1st ChargeGuilty
" "1st Specification of the 2d ChargeGuilty
" "2nd ChargeGuilty
" "1st Specification of the 3d ChargeGuilty
" "2d " " " "Guilty
" "3d ChargeGuilty
and does therefore sentence him 1st Lieut Morris Kayser 91st Regt Pa Vols to forfeit all pay and allowances for the period of two months

James Grindlay
Capt 146th NY Vols
Judge Advocate

Louis Ernst
Lt Col 140th NY Vols
President

[written vertically in the left margin: ] Approved - Geo Sykes Maj Genl Commdg Corps [the regimental letters book includes scathing comments by Fred Locke on the inadequacy of the sentence]

The Court then adjourned to meet tomorrow the 31st inst at 10 oclock am

Jas Grindly
Capt 146th NY Vols
Judge Advocate

[page 17]

[Exhibit] A

To the Honorable Members of the Court

I have the honor to submit the following brief defense

I was forced to disobey the order of Lieut Col. Jos. H Sinex Comdg 91st Regt P.V. to report myself for duty to Capt. A. H. Bowman of which company I am the 1st Lieut on account of the following.

Capt A. H. Bowman was dismissed the service of the United States on charges preferred against him by me. The charge was "Conduct unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman". he having been reinstated and while yet at Washington he was dismissed for the second time by order of the President. On or about the 1st day of February 1863 [actually 12 February 1863] he reported with his Commission to the Colonel of the Regiment and immediately resumed command of the Company. My feelings therefore as a Gentleman would not permit me to associate with him. I therefore took the proper course to avoid any trouble that would inevitably follow his return to the Company.

I presented my resignation for the above reason to the Colonel of the Regiment who approved of it and which was forwarded to Brigade Head Quarters and returned from there for reasons unknown to me. I then forwarded another which was approved of at Regimental and Brigade Hd. Qrs. but disapproved of at Division Hd. Qrs. I then presented my 3rd Resignation after having it approved of at Regtl + Brigade Hd Qrs in person to Genl. A. A. Humphreys then Commanding the Division and after explaining to him all the Circumstances of the case he approved of my Resignation and which was then forwarded to Corps Hd Qrs. and from where it was returned disapproved.

[page 18]

The circumstances of the case will clearly show that Capt Bowman and myself could not live together without it proving detrimental to the welfare of the service. I done [sic] all in my power to avoid the impending crisis and I firmly believe if the circumstances in the case had been clearly made known to the Commanding General of the Corps I would have received an honorable discharge from the Service by the acceptance of my Resignation

I will here state that I entered the service of the United States at the first call of troops by the President, and to the best of my knowledge I have always done my duty. [He was mustered into service in company F of the 17th Pennsylvania Infantry on 25 April 1861.] And never have until this point disobeyed any order whatever

Yours Very Respectfully,
Morris Kayser
1st Lieut Co. "B" 91st Regt. P.V.


[Findings and sentence]

[These letter-size pages seem to be a record of the court-martial's decisions; the first sheet includes the end of another case, and the last sheet includes the beginning of another. I have transcribed only the portion dealing with Kayser.]


[page 19]

3. 1st Lieut Morris Kayser Co B. 91st Penna Vols
Charge 1st Absence without leave
Specification 1st That Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co B 91st Penna Vols did leave his Company and Regiment without permission from proper authority. This at Camp near Falmouth VA on or about the 19th day of February 1863.
Specification 2nd That Morris Kayser, 1st Lieut Co B 91st Regt Penna Vols, while his

[page 19]

Company and Regiment were on picket duty, and while he was reported sick in Camp, did take advantage of the absence of his Company and Regiment to leave Camp and visit Philadelphia Penna without permission from his Commanding Officer, and remain absent from the 19th to the 23rd day of February 1863. This at Camp near Falmouth Va between the 19th and 23rd days of February 1863.

Charge 2nd Disobedience of Orders
Specification 1st That Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co B 91st Regt Penna Vols, when relieved from duty as Acting Adjutant, and when ordered by his Commanding Officer to report to Captain A H Bowman Co B 91st Regt Penna Vols for duty, did refuse to obey the order, in the following letter and figures, viz: 'Camp near US Ford Va June 11th 1863--Lieut B. J. Tayman Adjutant 91st Penna Vols: Lieutenant: Having been relieved from duty as Acting Adjutant, I therefore most respectfully but positively

[page 20]

refuse returning to duty in Co "B". I am Lieut Very Respectfully Yours +c. Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co B 91st Penna Vols. All this while the regiment was stationed at or near United States Ford Va. on or about the 11th day of June 1863.

Charge 3rd Absence without leave
Specification 1st That Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co B 91st Regt Penna Vols did leave his Company and Regiment without authority of his Commanding Officer. This at or near Gettysburg Penna on or about the 2nd day of July 1863.
Specification 2nd That said Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co. B 91st Regt Penna Vols, having permission from his Commanding Officer to fall to the rear of the regiment on account of sickness, did leave his regiment and visit Washington D.C. and remain absent from the 2nd day of July 1863 until the 19th day of July 1863. This while his regiment was at or near Gettysburg Penna. between the 2nd and 19th day of July 1863, at which time he rejoined his regiment

[page 21]

at Purcellville Va on the 19th day of July 1863

To which the accused pleaded as follows:

To the1st Specification 1st ChargeGuilty
" "2d " " "Not Guilty as to leaving the regt while on picket duty but Guilty as to absence from 19th to 23rd Feby
" "1st ChargeGuilty
" "1st Specification of the 2nd ChargeGuilty
" "2nd ChargeGuilty
" "1st Specification of the 3rd ChargeNot Guilty
" "2nd " " " " "Not Guilty
" "3rd ChargeNot Guilty


Findings and Sentence

The Court, after mature deliberation on the evidence adduced, find the accused Morris Kayser 1st Lieut Co B 91st Regt Penna Vols, as follows:

Of the1st Specification of the 1st ChargeGuilty
" "2nd " " " "Not Guilty
" "1st ChargeGuilty
" "1st Specification of the 2d ChargeGuilty
" "2nd ChargeGuilty
" "1st Specification of the 3rd ChargeGuilty


[page 22]

Of the2nd Specification of the 3rd ChargeGuilty
" "3rd ChargeGuilty
and does therefore sentence him 1st Lieutenant Morris Kayser 91st Regt Penna Vols "to forfeit all pay and allowances for the period of two months."


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revised 13 Jun 03
contact Harry Ide at hide1@unl.edu with comments or questions