Mc Pheeters Antique Militaria
Home Page About Us Ordering Information Links



1868 DATED COURT MARTIAL DOCUMENTS FT. LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS – LISTS STOLEN FIREARMS – NAMES SOLDIERS FROM THE 3RD & 7TH CAVALRY REGIMENTS, THE 4TH ARTILLERY REGIMENT,  AND THE 3RD, 5TH, 30TH & 38TH, INFANTRY REGIMENTS:  Once bound in a single volume, these individual reports of courts martial proceedings contain the names of the soldiers charged with the offenses, the details of the proceedings, the finding of guilty or not guilty, and the punishment to which the convicted soldier was sentenced.  All of these proceedings took place at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, the Department of the Missouri under the command of Major General Sheridan, during the months of February through August, 1868, and were prepared by the Assistant Adjutant General, Brigadier General (bvt.) Chauncey McKeever. 

These documents, measuring 7 by 4 ¾”, vary from 3 to 6 pages in length, depending on the number of soldiers charged and the complexity of the charges.  I have photographed one of these records to provide you with a sample of overall condition, size and format.  All of the records are in identical condition with no missing pages, the binding edge of the pages are attached, and there is no tears other than the minor clips along the binding edge where these were sewn into one volume at one time.   

These records were selected from a larger grouping specifically for their interesting content and each court martial record includes at least one soldier who was charged with the theft of a revolver or carbine.  Due to the amount of information in each document, I can’t provide the full text of each, however I have included some sample passages below:  

SpecificationIn this, that Private Robert Hornby, of Co. K, 3d U.S. Cavalry, did conspire with … to rob the Ordnance Room at Fort Selden, N.M., … and steal therefrom one box containing 14 Spencer Carbines, ten screw-drivers, three extra main springs, three extra tumbler screws and one box of Spencer carbine ammunition … The said Hornby being at the time a sentinel and in charge of the Ordnance room.” 

Another soldier’s adjudication in this same document illustrates that the officers were not without their own special style of humor when dealing the transgressions of these miscreants.  Pvt. Ogilvie was charged with, and found guilty of desertion, having forged a pass, however the Court reversed their findings having determined the Private was suffering from delirium tremens at the time of the offense.  The reviewing authority disagreed with the acquittal, offering:  “There is nothing in the evidence to show that the accused … was not sufficiently sound in mind to enable him to distinguish the criminality of his acts.  No evidence of insanity was discovered….  That the prisoner had been a nervous, worthless, and drunken soldier for a considerable period prior to committing the offense … is scarcely good reason for remitting all punishment.” 

If nothing else, these documents illustrate that for the average company grade officer and first sergeant, the dawning of each new day presented them with new and interesting challenges.   

Each General Court Martial Order (GCMO) is listed below with the number of soldiers charged and their regiments, the location and nature of the offenses, and the type of weapon stolen or lost.  Each document is priced individually depending on the desirability and entertainment value of the content. 

GCMO 28:  5 soldiers, 5th & 38th Infantry, 7th Cavalry; Fort Harker, KS, desertion;  theft of Spencer Carbine and full set of accoutrements and horse equipment (listed individually) along with value of equipment.  $35

GCMO 41:  7 soldiers, 7th Cavalry, 3rd,  5th & 30th Infantry; Fort Lyon, C.T., desertion, disrespecting an officer, drunk on duty, allowing prisoners to escape, “conduct to the prejudice of good order”, theft of money from a Monte table; use of a Colt Pistol to shoot another soldier (both in the 7th Cav.), theft of Springfield Breech loading rifle. (Ft. Lyon seems to have been a fairly frisky post.)  $35 

GCMO 47:  4 soldiers, 3rd Infantry, 3rd & 7th Cavalry; Fort Sumner, NM, desertion;  theft of a Carbine, a Remington Pistol, cavalry horse and full set of accoutrements and horse equipment.  $35 

GCMO 98:  5 soldiers, 37th Infantry, 3rd Cavalry; Fort Wingate, NM, desertion, theft of tobacco, assaulting a servant girl (the girl was “of notoriously bad character”  – the soldier was found guilty, but his sentence was then commuted);  theft of Spencer Carbine, a Remington Pistol, and full set of accoutrements and horse equipment (listed individually).  $35 

GCMO 107:  3 soldiers, 37th Infantry, 3rd Cavalry; Fort Wingate, NM, desertion, theft of boots, overcoat, pants, two blankets, trousers, two more overcoats, etc. as well as three Remington revolving pistols (this soldier had gone into business for himself).  It is interesting that in ordering all pay and allowances of one solider to be forfeited, the board did order the post laundress to be paid what he owed her – an obvious sense of fair play and one that shows up regularly in these documents. $30 

GCMO 121:  3 soldiers, 38th Infantry, 7th Cavalry; Fort Harker, KS, desertion, “conduct to the prejudice of good order” (two soldiers stole muskets, deserted, and then fired at the patrol sent to find them); theft and sale of a Spencer Carbine, his drawers and his boots and along with value of carbine and clothing.  $35 

GCMO 122:  5 soldiers, 7th Cavalry, 4th Artillery; Fort Leavenworth, KS, desertion, AWOL, sleeping in the stables, sleeping on guard duty; theft of Spencer Carbine and full set of accoutrements and horse equipment (listed individually) along with value of equipment.  $35 

GCMO 126:  4 soldiers, 3rd Infantry, 7th Cavalry; Fort Lyon, C.T., desertion, absent from guard post; theft of Spencer Carbine and full set of accoutrements (listed individually) along with value of equipment, stolen from Captain Benteen’s company.  $40

GCMO 129:  3 soldiers, 3rd Cavalry; Fort Selden, NM, desertion;  sentencing of the chronic drunk and theft of a box containing 14 Spencer Carbines, etc. (this is the document quoted above, good content). $40 

GCMO 144:  5 soldiers, 37th Infantry, 3rd Cavalry; Fort Union, NM, drunk and sleeping on duty at the corral, refused to report to stable call, deserter arrested by a party of Navajo Indians, and last, but not least, throwing a rock through the window of the 1st Sergeant’s room and calling him a “damned Dutch son of a bitch and a lousy puppy”; two soldiers charged with the theft of arms – one a Spencer Carbine and a full set of accoutrements and horse equipment (listed individually) along with value of equipment, and one a Sharps Rifle and the value of that rifle.  $40 

Overall, these are an interesting view into the type of problems encountered by the army in attempting to maintain a disciplined, trained force on the frontier and not the sort of material and insight you are likely to find in the normally encountered history books. 

Framed and displayed with Indian War period arms and accoutrements, these documents make a nice addition to your collection.



Ordering Instructions

Identified Items  


Edged Weapons

Saddles and Horse Equipment


Collectors Ammunition

Uniforms, Insignia, Hats

Canteens and Mess Gear

Gun tools, Bullet molds and Parts

Field Equipment and Artillery

Original Ordnance Manuals, and Photos 

US Army Medical

Reference Books and Reprints