The True Story of Paul Revere Chapter 5
Chapter 5: The Court-Martial of Paul Revere 1778-1782
British commerce suffered greatly during the Revolution from the depredations of Yankee privateers which, in considerable numbers, were fitted out in Boston, Salem, Newburyport, and Marblehead, and which when pursued, or after having taken a prize, found convenient and safe asylums in the rock-bound harbors of the Maine coast.
In these shelters they could also secure equipments of crews and provisions, and from them they could dart out quickly upon unsuspecting prey. So destructive had these tactics be come in 1779, that the British decided to take steps to meet them.
Accordingly, in June of that year, General Francis McLean, with four hundred and fifty of the rank hundred of the 82d, took possession of the peninsula of Bagaduce ( now Castine), on the east side of Penobscot Bay. Here, upon a bluff two hundred or more feet above the water, about twenty miles from the mouth of the bay and six below the mouth of the river, McLean began the erection of a fort, which he proposed to christen, after the King, Fort George.
The news of the occupation of Bagaduce by the British created a great stir throughout the eastern colonies, and the General Court of Massachusetts at once issued orders to fit out an expedition to dispossess the enemy.
Brigadier-General Solomon Lovell was ordered to atake command of twelve hundred militia, with Adjutant-General Peleg Wadsworth second in command, and Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Revere in command of the artillery train. The board of war was directed to secure from the Continental authorities a loan of the frigate warren, a fine new ship of thirty-two guns, and the sloop Providence, with twelve guns.
The fleet had been placed in charge of Commodore Dudley Saltonstall, then in command of the borrowed Warren. It consisted of nineteen vessels, mounting in all three hundred and twenty four guns and manned by over two thousand sailors, besides twenty transports. It was probably, taken altogether, the strongest and finest naval force furnished by New England during the Revolution.
Fifteen hundred troops were expected to join the main contingent, from York, Cumberland, and Lincoln in Maine; but of this quota only five hundred put in a appearance, and a large portion of these were wholly unfit for service, consisting chiefly of small boys, old men, and even invalids.
Their equipment was of the most indifferent character, their arms being out of repair, and they lacked ammunition. On the 24th of July the fleet arrived at the mouth of the Penobscot. Due warning of its approach had been given the British, who, in spite of the fact that they had hastened in the work of constructing their fortifications, were greatly disheartened, realizing that the American force was much stronger, and ought to be able to quickly overcome the feeble resistance which was all, under the circumstances, they believed they could offer. All but four of the British fleet had returned to Halifax.
One account states that "the walls of the fort at that time were not more than five feet high, with two guns mounted, one towards the water and the other towards the woods, with only enough to man three sides of the fort, placing the men a yard apart." Without doubt the British had kept fully informed of the movements of the Americans, and, after a show of resistance, would have readily surrendered.
It is not necessary nor profitable to tell here in detail the story of this disastrous expedition, so discreditable to the Americans, who largely outnumbered in land forces the British, and who had an overwhelming fleet.
Suffice it to say that on the 26th of June the Yankee marines made a successful landing, capturing some cannon and ammunition, mounted a battery, and caused a precipitate retreat of the enemy, while the naval forces under Commodore Saltonstall exhibited a remarkable indisposition to assume the offensive and supplement the work of the soldiers on land. The commodore, indeed, seemed deliberately bent on keeping the fleet as far as possible out of danger,--- a course which filled both the land forces and Saltonstall's own men with supreme disgust.
A council of war was held on board the brig Hazard August 7, at which the question was discussed as to whether the siege should be continued. It was voted to continue, Revere being one of eight and Commodore Saltonstall another who voted in the negative. Revere decided to file a record of his reasons for this vote, and he was allowed to do so in connection with the official report made of the proceedings. He offered this defence of his course:
"1. Gen. Lovell says that he is not able to reduce the Enemy with what Troops and Stores he has got.
"2. That under present circumstances it is best to take post to the westward to hinder the Enemy going any further.
"3. That six Captains of ships give as their opinion that they cannot keep their men but a few days longer.
Four days later another council of war was held, at which, as a result of that day's experience, it was unanimously voted that with the force then on hand it would be impossible to hold a post in the rear of the enemy's fort, and, at the same time, the lines as then drawn up.
Three reasons were given for this decision: that "our Force is not sufficient to take Possession of the ground; our Numbers are not able to do Duty after taken for one week; the great want of Discipline, and Subordination." "Many of the Officers," it was said, " being so exceedingly slack and ignorant of their Duty,--- the Soldiers averse to service --- And the wood in which we are Incamped so very thick, that on an alarm on any special occasion, nearly one-fourth part of the Army are Skulked out of the way, and concealed.: Truly a spectacle of disgraceful incompetence and temerity if not downright cowardice!
But fortunately for the reputation of Yankee valor and self-respect the dark picture has its bright spots. Not all of the subordinate officers were dead to shame; and thirty-one of Saltonstall's staff drew up a round-robin, in which, after commenting on the importance of the expedition and their own desire to render all the service in their power, they said: " We think Delays in the present case are extremely dangerous: as our Enemies are daily fortifying and strengthening themselves, & are stimulated so to do being in daily Expectation of a Reinforcement. We don't mean to advise, or censure your past conduct, But intend only to express our desire of improving the present opportunity to go Immediately into the Harbour & attack the Enemy's ships."
But Saltonstall was not moved. He effected to concede the desirability of an immediate attack, but he found obstacles which he had not the courage to confront and overcome, and so the sea attack was never made. But it was at length decided, as the result of another council of war on board the Warren, participated in by land and naval officers, Revere being of the number, that a body of troops should be landed on the peninsula and, if possible, the heights scaled, and a permanent foothold secured upon the bluffs.
In the early morning of the 28th this was done, and the exploit was a brilliant success. No protective works had been erected at this point by the British, but some three hundred troops had been posted on the precipice and opened a sharp fire upon the Americans as soon as the latter's boats struck the beach.
General Lovell, in his Diary, says of it: "When I returned to the Shore it struck me with admiration to see what a Precipice we had ascended, not being able to take so scrutinous a view of it in time of Battle, it is at least where we landed three hundred feet high, and almost perpendicular, & the men were obliged to pull themselves by the twigs & trees. I don't think such a landing has been made since Wolfe." Lovell reported the American loss at fifty killed and twenty wounded, and three wounded, besides the loss of eight prisoners.
Following this exploit there were various engagements of no consequence on the part of the military, while Commodore Saltonstall remained practically idle and deaf to repeated urgings to storm the fort and destroy the few ships of the enemy, which he might readily have done at any time. He only offered excuse after excuse for his continued delays and inactivity.
General Lovell, exasperated beyond further endurance at Saltonstall's pusillanimous conduct, finally determined to resort to independent means of attacking the enemy's vessels. On the 3rd day of August he sent General Wadsworth to erect a land battery opposite the British anchorage, with which, if possible, to drive away the hostile ships.
But the distance of the battery from the target was a mile and a quarter, the fire would not carry, and the attempt had to be abandoned. "It is all the army can do," wrote General Lovell in his journal.
On the 11th he again addressed a note to the commodore, saying: "I mean not to determine on your mode of attack, but it appears to me so very impracticable, that any further delay must be infamous; and I have it this moment, by a deserter from one of their ships, that the moment you enter the harbor they will destroy them, which will effectually answer our purpose~A-. I feel for the horror of America, in an expedition which a nobler exertion had, long before this, crowned with success; and I have now only to repeat the absolute necessity of undertaking the destruction of the ships or quitting the place."
These pleadings proved as unavailing as former ones. The commodore was obstinate; he was determined not to risk any damage to his vessels, and many of the captains shared in his point of view, since most of the ships were private property, and there was, moreover, but little prospect of prize-money to offset possible losses. But since Commodore Saltonstall had from the outset insisted that the army should attack the fort before the fleet should enter the harbor, General Lovell made up his mind to assume the responsibility of moving against the enemy, trusting to Saltonstall's co-operation when the crises was forced. This was a hazardous undertaking, simultaneous action by the fleet being essential to its success.
But Lovell had no sooner brought his troops to a point where he might operate with advantage on the fort than the commodore sent word of the appearance in the harbor of strange vessels which, he had discovered, flew the British flag! Nothing more was necessary to transform his inertia and crass temerity into genuine cowardly panic. He immediately deserted the cause of the army on shore, left the troops at the mercy of the enemy's guns in the forts, and, hoisting anchor, beat a speedy retreat in good order and without loss.
Saltonstall's disgraceful desertion rendered it foolhardy for the army to remain longer on shore, and so, dismantling the batteries which had been erected at such sacrifice and effort, the troops boarded the transports, and, within a dozen hours from the first sounding of the alarm, the whole expedition was on its way up the river.
One more effort was made by General Lovell, even then, to induce Commodore Saltonstall to make at least a stand against the enemy, but in vain. Conternation and confusion prevailed thenceforth. A stiff breeze carried the ships of war past the transports, leaving the troops on the latter helplessly exposed to the now rapidly advancing British vessels.
It was inevitable that the Americans, unless they took hot foot, should fall bodily into the enemy's hands. Accordingly "nothing was thought of by the crews but as speedy escape as possible to the shore, and hardly an attempt was made to save anything. Some were run on shore, some anchored, some abandoned with all sails set, and most set on fire. Officers were dispatched by General Lovell to the shore to collect and take charge of the troops; but so great was the panic, so convenient the woods and the approaching night, that but a few could be found; the greater part, thinking that nothing further was expected of them, made the best of their way, singly or in squads, towards the Kennebec, where the most of them arrived after nearly a week's fatigue, suffering greatly from exposure and hunger, some of them tasting no food for several days." The British commander Sir George Collier, though he appreciated the fact that the provincial forces occupied the strategical advantage and possessed superior numbers as ell, could not also fail to perceive that his enemy was panic-stricken. Made of better stuff han his Yankee opponent, he at once opened fire. The effect of his boldness was at once seen. Such vessels as the Americans did not permit him to capture they blew up or set fire to. Lieutenant-Colonel Revere, in command of the artillery and the ammunition stores on board the ordnance brig, had already gone ashore at Fort Pownal, but the deserted brig managed to get clear of the rest of the fleet and made her way for several miles up stream before being overtaken; then she was burned with all her stores. "To attempt to give a description of this terrible Day," wrote General Lovell, "is out of my power. It would be a fit Subject for some masterly hand to describe it in its true colours, to see four Ships, Transports on fire, Men of War blowing up, Provisions of all kinds, every kind of stores on Shore (at least in small quantities) throwing about, and as much confusion as can possibly be conceived."
Lovell made his way up the river, quieted the Indians, who were becoming restless, settled the military affairs of the province of Maine as well as circumstances would permit, and then returned to Boston, arriving there about September 20. So great was the chagrin and excitement caused by the failure of the expedition that the General Court had already ordered an investigation. On September 9 a court of inquiry was appointed: General Ward was president of the court, and on October 7 a report was made very properly attributing the disaster to a "want of proper Spirit and energy on the part of the Commodore" and to his " not exerting himself at all at the time of the retreat in opposing the enemy's formost ships in pursuit" The report completely exonerated Generals Lovell and Wadsworth, and commended them for the exhibition of great courage and spirit.
A warrant for a court-martial to try Commodore Saltostall was issued September 7. Tradition has it that Saltonstall was cashiered; but he appears afterward to have been the master of a vessel, the privateer Minerva, which, in 1791, captured the Hannah, an act that provoked the British descent on New London, the burning of that place by Arnold, and the massacre of the troops at Fort Griswold. Up to the time of the Penobscot expedition Saltonstall had borne an excellent reputation for competence and patriotism.
Revere had returned to Boston some weeks earlier than Lovell. He found himself deeply involved in the scandal, and his reputation almost as much in jeopardy as that of Saltonstall. One of his critics was General Lovell himself, saying "that he was surprised at Col Revere's inattention to his duty." No official notice, however, was paid to the gossip, and the Council ordered him, August 27, to resume command at Fort William. But within ten days the Council had a formal complaint concerning Revere's conduct lodged with it. The captain of marines on board the ship of war General Putnam, one of the Penobscot fleet, Thomas Jenness Carnes, wrote as follow:
" Being Requested to Lodge a complaint against L. Col: Paul Revear, for his behavour at Penobscot which I do in the following manner, Viz
" First For disobedience of orders from General Lovell in two Instances,Vis: When ordered to go on shore with two Eighteen pounders, One twelve, One four & One Hoitzer Excused himself~A^3"Second When ordered by Major Todd at the Retreat to go with him Men and take said Cannon from the Island, Refused, and said his orders was to be under the Command of Gen Lovell, during the Expedition to Penobscot; & that the siege was rais'd, he did not consider himself under his Command~A^3
"Thirdly For neglect of Duty in Several instances~A^3
"Fourthly For unsoldierlike behavour, During the whole expedition to Penobscot, which tends to Courdice~A^3
"Fifthly For Refusing Gen. Wadsworth, the Castle Barge to fetch some men on shore form a Schooner, which was near the Enemy's ships on the Retreat up the River~A^3
"Sixthly For leaving his men and suffering them to dispurce and takeing no manner of Care of them~A^3
The filing of these charges was followed by instant action. Revere was arrested the same day "and ordered to resign the Command of Castle Island and remove himself to his dwelling house in Boston there to continue until the matter Complained of could be duly inquired into or he be discharged by the General Assembly or Council."
But he was compelled to remain a prisoner on honor within his own home for only three days, when the arrest was taken off and he was suffered to go free. There can be no doubt that he courted the fullest investigation, believing the charges inspired by the malicious gossip of personal enemies. This seems clear from his letters to the council at this time. Thus, on September 9 he wrote: "Gentlemen, -- I feel the highest obligations to Your Honors for Your Candour to me, when the popular clamour, runs so strong against me: Had your Honors have shewn as little regard for my character, as my enemies have done; Life would have been insupportable. Were I conscious that I had omitted doing any one thing to Reduce the Enemy, either thro fear, or by willfull opposition, I would not wish for a single advocate. I beg your Honors, that in a proper time, there may be a strict enquiry into my conduct where I may meet my accusers face to face. " Gentlemen, I am told by my friends that Cap Thomas Carnes informes your Honors yesterday, that I did not land with my men the day we took possession of Magabagaduce, which is so glaring a falsehood, that I beg your Honors would favor me with an oppertunity , of seeing him face to face before your Honors; to take off any impression it may have made to my disadvantage.
" I am Your Honors Obedient " Humble Servant " Paul Revere.
In another long letter written to the Committee of Inquiry while it was in session, Revere frankly expressed his belief that he was being persecuted at the instigation chiefly of a Captain Todd. Said he: " It lays with you in a great measure, from the evidence for and against me, to determine what is more dearer to me than life, my character. I hope and expect that you will make proper allowance for the prejudices, which have taken place, in consequence of stories, propagated by designing men to my disadvantage. I beg leave to mention to you Honors a matter; tho at first, it may appear foreign to the present case, yet in the end, it will give some light; why stories have been propagated against me. Your Honors must remember that dificulties which arose in our Regiment the last February when it was reduced to three Companys. Because I accepted the command, (which was by desire of the Council) and did all in my power, to hinder the men from deserting: And because I would not give up my Commission in the same way the other Officers did, some of them propagated every falsehood, Malice could invent in an underhanded way. " I shall trouble your Honors but with one Fact, which I appeal to the Hon. General Ward for the truth of. " Not long after the Regiment was reduced Captains Todd and Gray, waited on General Ward, to complain against me; after saying many things to my disadvantage, (as the General told me the same day), Capt. Todd asked the General to go with him in another room. He then told him, He would prove or he believed he could prove, that I had drawn Rations at the Castle for thirty men, more than I had there. The General said he told them, if they had anything against me, to enter a complaint against me to Council, and I should be called upon. A few days after I received an Order of Council to attend them, and was served with a Coppy of a petition, signed by Capt. Gray, Todd and others, wherein they desire to be heard personally on matters set forth in the Petition and other Matters. I appeared at the appointed time and they never produced a single article against me. I well remember that three of your Honors were in the Council at the time. Ever since they have done everything in their power to hurt me, by insinuations: Tho' none of them ever charged me to my face. This Captain Todd was one of General Lovell's brigade majors in the Penobscot expedition, and Revere had protested against his being accepted for the service, explaining to the general that he should never speak to Todd except in the line of duty. The protest not having been heeded, the relations of the two men were strained throughout the trip. Captain Carnes, upon whose complaint Revere was arrested by the Council, charged that, when the landing was made at Bagaduce (called also Magabagaduce), Revere remained on the beach with his men, and did not go up the steep until the marines and militia had got possession of the height; that he had carried all his men on board the transport, and lodged them there instead of forcing to the front in the attacking column; and that instead of getting the cannon he was to use on shore by employing his own men for the purpose, he allowed the sailors to perform this duty for him.
No witnesses were called to substantiate these charges, and Revere, in his exposition in self-defence, pointed out that General Lovell and all of Revere's own subordinate officers had proved the first charge false, while the second charge was likewise shown by the testimony of numerous witnesses to be without foundation. As for the third allegation, Revere admitted this to be in part true, two 18-pounders having been put ashore by the sailors chiefly; but a 12-pounder howitzer and heavy field piece were landed by Revere's men, and his men assisted in the whole business.
Revere was also charged with being guilty of disobedience of orders upon several occasions , of unsoldierlike behavior in general, and in particular of having refused to assist General Wadsworth with a boat in a certain instance. To all of which he pleaded that the evidence showed him, if not innocent of every act charged, innocent at all events of guilty intent, saying: " If to obey Orders, and to keep close to my duty is unsoldierlike, I was Guilty. As to Cowardice during the whole expedition, I never was in any Sharp Action, nor was any of the Artillery; but in what little I was, no one has dared to say that I flinched. My officers all swear that whenever there was an alarm, I was one of the first in the Battery. I think that no mark of Cowardice."
It is certain that Revere left the expedition and returned to Boston without specific orders from the commanding general to do so. To what extent this was a serious breach of discipline under the demoralized condition of affairs at Bagaduce, and one justifying the bringing of a complaint against him of disobedience to orders, let the reader judge.
Concerning it, Revere says: "There was something mentioned about a letter, wrote to the Hon. Council by the General, which reflected on me. The General tells you it was because he thought I did not go up the River on the 15th when he Ordered me, and that I should not have gone home to Boston with my men without his Order. That I did go up the River has been fully proved. That I came home without his Orders is true: where could I have found either the General [Lovell] or the Brigadier [Wadsworth], if it had been necessary to have got Orders: the first went 100 miles up Penobscot River, and the other down, and I crossed the woods to the Kennebec River.
My instructions from the Hon. Council, to which I referred above, directs, that I shall " obey General Lovel, or other my Superior Officers during the continuance of the Expedition." Surely no man will say, that the Expedition was not discontinued, when all the shipping was either taken, or Burnt, the Artillery and Ordinance stores, all destroyed. I then looked upon it that I was to do, what I thought right. Accordingly, I Ordered them (my men) to Boston by the shortest route, and that Capt. Cushing should march them, and give Certificates for their subsistence on the Road. The report of the Court of Inquiry was confined to general findings as to the cause of the disaster. This was by no means satisfactory to Revere, who, after his character had been attacked and his reputation for bravery and patriotism publicly besmirched, demanded that the charges against him should be passed upon. He wrote to the Council October 9, calling attention to the fact that the court had neither acquitted nor condemned him, and asking the Council to either order the court to sit again or to appoint a court-martial to try the charges against him. He desired this to be done at once, since some of his witnesses were about to go to sea.
The House and Council complied with the request and ordered the committee to sit again. It met, accordingly, November 11. The whole case of Revere was again examined into, and on November 16 the committee reported to the Council as follows: "The Committee of both Houses appointed to make inquiry into the conduct of the officers of Train, and the Militia officers, employed in the late Expedition to Penobscot, have attended the Service assigned them; and the Opinion of your Committee on the subject mater will fully appear by the following questions and answers thereto Namely: 1. Was Let. Col. Paul Revere crityzable for any of his conduct during his stay at Bagaduce, or while he was in, or upon the River Penobscot? "Answer. Yes. " 2. What part of Lt. Col. Revere's conduct was critqzable? "Answer. In disputing the orders of Brigadier General Wadsworth respecting the Boat; & in saying that the Brigadier had no right to command him or his boat."3. Was Lt. Col. Paul Revere's conduct justifyable in leaving River Penobscot, and repairing to Boston, with his men, without particular orders from his Superior officer? Answer. No, not wholly justifyable. "4. Answer. No. Excepting Col. Jonathan Mitchel, who by his own confession left the River Penobscot without leave from any Superior officer; and returned to North Yarmouth the place of his habitation. " All which is humbly Submitted. "Artemas Ward pr order" Out of whatever facts this finding came, -- whether from a stern and honest conviction that Revere's conduct had been such as to merit condemnation and that his defence had not been altogether candid and sincere, or whether prompted by the influence of persons animated by malice, a suggestion involving a severe reflection upon the court, -- we may fancy these important old worthies composing the court of Inquiry enjoying the situation at Revere's expense. He had not been satisfied to let well enough alone, they doubtless thought, but must needs insist on a special report, acquitting or comdemning him, and trusting, of course, that he would be definitely acquitted. Now he had got what he had petitioned for, and if the report was not what he expected, how could he, before the public, complain of the outcome?
The report was not, of course, what Revere wanted. But he refused to pocket the chagrin and humiliation it must have caused him. Instead, he now boldly demanded a regular court-martial, writing January 17, 1780m to the " Honorable Council of the Massachusetts State" as follows: " Twice I have petitioned your Honors and once the House of Representatives for a Court Martial but have not obtained one. I believe that neither the Annals of America, or Old England, can furnish an Instance (except in despotick Reigns) where an Officer was put under an arrest and he petitioned for a Tryal (altho the Arrest was taken off) that it was not granted. The complaint upon which my arrest was founded, are amongst your Honors papers, and there will remain an everlasting monument of my disgrace if I do not prove they are false; is there any legal way to prove them false, than by a Court-Martial"; and he continues, advancing strong reasons why a hearing should be granted him. In this same letter he also prays for back rations, not having had any since the previous June, except "what I drew at Penobscot. I have been maintaining a Family of twelve ever since, out of the remains of what I earned by twenty years hard labor." This request for a grant of back rations was at once complied with by the Council, but the councillors completely ignored the demand for a court-martial. They were apparently more willing to deal justly by the body than with the character of the petitioner.
Finally, April 13, the Council voted him a court-martial, which was ordered to sit on the 18th at the county court-house in Boston. Colonel Edward Proctor was designated president and William Tudor judge-advocate, while twelve captains composed the court. They were ordered to make a return of their proceedings and their judgment to the Council. But for some reason not recorded the court did not convene, and, after waiting a year, Revere made one more effort to get a hearing. On the 22d of January, 1781, he sent this petition to the authorities: To the Hon. Senate and House of Representatives of the Massachusetts State in General Court Assembled. " The Petition of Paul Revere who commanded a Corps or Artillery in the States Service~A^3Sheweth~A^3That Your Petitioner while in said service had a complaint preferred against him to the Hon. Council by one Thomas Jeners Carnes, for misconduct on the Expedition to Penobscot; on which complaint Your Petitioner was arrested by the Hon. Council; two days after the arrest aforesaid was taken off and Your Petitioner ordered to attend the examination of a Committee for investigation the causes of the failure of that Expedition; that he as in duty bound attended said Committee; and, as Your Petitioner understands, the report of said Committee, was never excepted by both Houses.
"That in such a situation as must be deemed grievous to any Officer, Your Petitioner petitioned the Hon. Council and House of Representatives six different times between the 6th of Sept. 1779, and the 8th of March 1780, for a Tryal by a Court-Martial, but did not obtain one, till about a fortnight before the time expired for which said Corps was raised. when the Hon. Council Ordered a Court-Martial, and appointed Col Edward Proctor President, which Court-Martial was never summoned by the President, and of course never met. The time expiring for which Your Petitioner was engaged; He has remained ever since suffering all the indignity which his Enemies, who he conceives have made it a personal affair, are pleased to impose upon him. " Your Petitioner therefore most earnestly Prays this Hon. Assembly, to take his case under consideration and Order either a Court-Martial, or a number of Officers, three, five, seven, or any number the Hon Court amy see proper, Continentals or Militia, properly qualified, who may enquire into his conduct on said expedition, and report, (all the evidence for and against Your Petitioner is in writing sworn too before Committee and now among the Hon. Councils papers) that the truth may appear and be published to the World, and Your Petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray, &c.
" Paul Revere.
"Boston, Jan 22 1781."
But again Revere was doomed to disappointment, the General Court ordering the petition to lie over to the next session. Then, however, and without waiting for another appeal from Revere, it was taken up. A second court-martial was appointed February 19, 1782, consisting of twelve captains, with Brigadier-General Wareham Parks as president and Joshua Thomas a judge-advocate. Charges were formulated as follows: " For his refusing to deliver a certain Boat to the Order of General Wadsworth when upon the retreat up Penobscot River from Major Bagwaduce; "For his leaving Penobscot River without Order from his Commanding Officer." And this was the judgment of the court after reviewing the evidence: " The Court find the first Charge against Lt Col. Paul Revere to be supported (towit) "his refusing to deliver a certain Boat to the Order of Gen. Wadsworth when upon the Retreat up Penobscot River from Major Bagwaduce"; but the Court taking into consideration the suddenness of the refusal, and more especially, that the same Boat was in fact employed by Lt. Col. Revere to effect the Purpose ordered by the General as appears by the General's Deposition, are of the Opinion, that Lt. Col. Paul Revere be acquitted of this Charge. "On the second Charge, the Court considering that the whole Army was in great Confusion, and so scattered and dispersed, that no regular Orders were or could be given, are of Opinion, that Lt. Col. Revere, be acquitted with equal Honor as the other Officers in the same Expedition. " A true Copy form the Minutes. "Attest. J. Thomas, Judge-Advocate." " I approve of the Opinion of the Court Martial as stated in the foregoing Report. " John Hancock." Thus at last, after three years of persistent endeavor, Revere succeeded in obtaining from a friendly court a vindication of his conduct in the Penobscot expeditions.
End of Chapter Five of The Story of Paul Revere