At a General Court Martial held at Nottingham on the 26th January 1804, and continued by adjournment until the following day, by order of Lieutenant General Gardiner Commanding the North Inland District.
Lieutenant Colonel Gordon 23rd Kings
Dragoons – President
Captain Covell 76th Regiment
Captain Posthington 43rd Regiment
Captain Elrington 13th Kings Dragoons
Captain Riding 23rd Kings Dragoons
Captain Drake 23rd Kings Dragoons
Lieutenant Smith 4th Dragoons
Lieutenant Booth 76th Regiment
Lieutenant Brown 59th Regiment
Lieutenant Drought 23rd Kings Dragoons
Cornet Sleigh 23rd Kings Dragoons
Cornet Plamstead 1st Dragoons
Cornet Newport 23rd Kings Dragoons
Lieutenant Turner 64th Regiment Deputy Judge Advocate
The members of the Court being duly
sworn and the Deputy Judge Advocate also sworn. Joseph Davis, a private in
the 1st Kings Dragoon Guards, and the 83rd Regiment of Foot.
"For having deserted on the 5th day of November 1803 from the 1st Kings Dragoon Guards at Athurston and again on the 13th November 1803 from the 83rd Regiment of Foot at Lincoln"
Signed – John Grey – Lieutenant Colonel
To which the prisoner pleads not guilty.
Cornet Bracebridge of the 1st Kings Dragoon Guards, being sworn informs the court that the prisoner was brought to him for approval about the 15th October 1803, he desired the prisoner might be enlisted by the Sergeant and ordered him to Birmingham to be inspected by the Field Officer of the District, that he returned to Arthurston and received pay, and deserted on the 5th of November 1803.
Did not the prisoner receive at Birmingham, the Bounty payable on intermediate approval, in addition to that paid before the Magistrate on Attesting?
The Sergeant received it from me and had my Orders to pay it, which I believe he did.
Although the prisoner enlisted by the name of Joseph Brunston, do you identify him to be the recruit enlisted by your Order, and who subsequently deserted on the 5th of November.
Sergeant Timothy Levers of the 1st Kings Dragoon Guards being sworn, informs the Court that he enlisted the prisoner at Athurston about the 15th of October, and took him to Birmingham for Approval by Order of Cornet Bracebridge when he was accordingly approved, and his Bounty both on Attesting and Intermediate approval paid, he then returned to Athurston and remained until the 5th of November when he deserted from the party, and Evidence did not see him again until now.
Did you see the prisoner attested and were the Articles of War, against Mutiny and Desertion read to him?
By what name did he enlist?
Are you certain, that the prisoner now before the Court is the same, who enlisted under the name of Joseph Brunston?
Was the prisoner in the regular receipt of his pay during the time he remained with the party?
I paid him myself until the last week; he remained when I was on furlough.
Private William Bishop of the 1st Kings Dragoon Guards being duly sworn informs the Court that the prisoner came to him proposing to enlist, that he took him to the Officer of the Party for his Approbation, and then Conducted him to the Sergeant in Order to be enlisted, who enlisted him accordingly in presence of the Evidence, the prisoner returned from Birmingham where he was approved and remained with the party until the 5th of November when he deserted and the Evidence did not see him again until he was a prisoner at Lincoln.
Under what name did the Prisoner enlist?
Is the prisoner now before the Court the same prisoner?
Captain Brunt of the 23rd Regiment being duly sworn.
Do you know Joseph Davis the prisoner now before the court?
I do, he was a Soldier in the 83rd Regiment enlisted by myself on the 11th of November last attested on the 12th and passed before Lieutenant Colonel Grey on the same day and deserted on the forenoon of the 13th and was not seen until the 18th of December following, when I found him a prisoner at Lincoln in the Guard House, when I immediately claimed him from the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Lincoln Militia as a deserter from 83rd Regiment of Foot. The Evidence further informs the Court, that the Commanding Officer referred to the Adjutant to know the date of his the prisoners engagement with that Corps the 3rd Lincoln -, Adjutant informed him that he engaged with him about the middle of November, that he was enrolled and received his bounty and deserted some days after, that he was taken and brought back to Lincoln, tried by a Regimental Court Martial, received part of his Punishment, deserted the 2nd time from Lincoln and was taken at Newark with a loaded Pistol in his bed, brought back a prisoner to Lincoln, when the Evidence found him in the Guard House.
Under what name did the prisoner enlist with you?
The Register of Enlistments for the Nottingham Districts being produced, the prisoner answers to the description therein given.
It being three o’clock, the Court adjourns until tomorrow at eleven o’clock.
The Court being met pursuant to adjournment proceeded with the trial of Joseph Davis.
Sergeant Thomas Baxter of the 83rd Regiment being sworn sayeth that he knows Joseph Davis the prisoner now before the Court, that on the 11th of November he was sent to him by Order of Captain Brunt to get a Billet and the prisoner informed him that he was enlisted by Captain Brunt for the 83rd Regiment.
On the 12th Evidence took him to the District Surgeon to be examined who approved him, he then took him to the Inspecting Field Officer who also approved hi, and afterwards took him to a Magistrate who attested him in whose presence he paid the prisoner two Guineas – On the morning of the 13th he deserted and Evidence did not see him again until he was a prisoner in the Guard House at Lincoln as a deserter from the 3rd Lincoln Militia when he immediately claimed him as a deserter from the 83rd Regiment – Evidence adds that he saw the prisoner sworn in as a deserter from the 3rd Lincoln Militia notwithstanding his having previously claimed him, and further says it was for his second desertion from that Regiment, that he was sworn in.
In what situation did you find the prisoner you first saw him in Lincoln?
In the Guard Room of the 3rd Lincoln Militia.
Did you know for what he was confined and from what Authority did you obtain your information?
I was informed by one of the Guard, that he was confined for desertion, from that Corps.
Do you know if it was subsequent to his first or second desertion from that Regiment that your saw him?
I cannot be positive.
As a deserter from what regiment was the prisoner in confinement at Lincoln?
From the 3rd Lincoln Militia
Was his confinement for a second desertion from that Corps or on Account of his first desertion?
It was his second.
You have sworn the prisoner to be a deserter from the 3rd Lincoln Militia, what authority have you for his being so.
I heard many of the men of that Regiment say so.
Is that your only authority for swearing that he was a deserter from that Regiment?
Was not the prisoner been tried and punished for desertion from the 3rd Lincoln?
I heard that he was.
Can you positively say whether it was for the first or second?
I heard it was for the first.
The evidence for the Prosecution being closed and the Prisoner being called on for his defence declines bringing forward any evidence, he professes great Contrition, says he is under seventeen years of age, was seduced from his duty by bad advice, will be happy to serve for life in any Corps in His Majesty’s Dominions, and humbly submits himself to the mercy of the Court.
The Court having heard the evidence against the prisoner together with what he has said in his defence, and having maturely considered the same is of the Opinion that he is Guilty of the Crime laid to his charge, being in Breach of the Articles of War, and do therefore Sentence him to suffer death.
But in consequence of his extreme youth and Contrition for his Crimes. They with dutiful submission most humbly recommend him to His Majesty’s most gracious Clemency.
R. N. Gordon
Lieutenant Colonel Gordon 23rd Kings Dragoons
Lieutenant R. Turner 64th Regiment
Deputy Judge Advocate
I have had the honour of laying before the King the proceedings of a General Court Martial held at Nottingham on the 26th and 27th days of January last, when Joseph Davis a private soldier of the 1st Kings Regiment of Dragoon Guards was tried and found Guilty of Desertion, and was Sentenced to Suffer Death, but was with dutiful Submission recommended to his Majesty’s Clemency, and am to acquaint you, that in consideration of the prisoners extreme youth, being under seventeen years of age, and of the contrition which he professes for his Crime and in compliance with the recommendation of the Court, His Majesty has been graciously pleased to spare his Life, and to Order , instead of causing the said Sentence to be carried into Execution, that the said Joseph Davis be transported to New South Wales as a Felon for the Term of Fourteen Years, and in order to the same taking affect, I shall forthwith make the notification required by His Majesty as the Lord Chief Justice, or one other of the Justices of His Majesty’s Court of Kings Bench.
You will therefore be pleased in convenient time to give the necessary directions for carrying into Execution His Majesty’s Pleasure which has been Signified to Lieutenant General Gardiner, under whose Command the said Prisoner is now in confinement.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant, C.M.
His Majesty's Secretary of War
My Lord or Sir,
The punishment of “Suffering Death” having been awarded by Sentence of a General Court Martial held at Nottingham on the Twenty Sixth and Twenty Seventh days of January last, against Joseph Davis, a private Soldier of the 1st Kings Regiment of Dragoon Guards, Convicted of Desertion, I am by the King’s Command to notify to you the said Sentence, and also that His Majesty has been graciously pleased to extend His Mercy to the said offender and instead of causing the said Sentence of Death to be carried into execution, has ordered that the said Joseph Davis be transported as a Felon to New South Wales for the Term of Fourteen Years – which notification is hereby made to the intent, that you may make such order for the Transportation of the said Joseph Davis as is by Law required, and to you shall appear necessary.
Judge Advocate General
Right Humble Lord Ellenborough
Lord Chief Justice of His Majesty's Court of King's Bench
Or one other of the Justices of the said Court.