I recently came across the court martial proceedings for two cavalrymen from the regulars in 1864, and thought I would share them. As I perused the General Orders for 1863 and 1864, it struck me that relatively few cavalrymen were court martialed, and even fewer regular cavalrymen. I’m curious if there was another way that these results were published, as I have primary source material indicating courts martial in the Reserve Brigade from members of the court during this time, but haven’t been able to find any records of the proceedings. The entries ran a bit long, so I’ll post the first one today and the second one, from the 2nd Cavalry, tomorrow. As is frequently the case, both of these randomly encountered soldiers have ties to other research threads.

General Orders No. 19.
War Department
Adjutant General’s Office
Washington, January 12, 1864.

I. Before a General Court Martial, which convened at the Headquarters, Cavalry Reserve Brigade, near Culpeper Court-house, Virginia, November 25, 1863, pursuant to Special Orders, No. 66, dated October 31, 1863, and Special Orders, No. 70, dated November 5, 1863, Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division, and of which Major H.C. Whelan, 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, is President, was arraigned and tried —

1. Private Matthew Hayden, Company “A,” 5th U.S. Cavalry

Charge – “Desertion.”

Specification – “In this; that the said Matthew Hayden, of Company ‘A,’ 5th U.S. Cavalry, being a soldier in the United States service, did desert said service on or about October 17, 1861, at or near Camp Cliffburn, D.C., and was arrested October 9, 1863, at Washington, D.C., by Captain Scheetz; $30 paid for his apprehension. The said Matthew Hayden also acknowledges that he is a deserter.”

To which charge and specification the prisoner, Private Matthew Hayden, Company “A,” 5th U.S. Cavalry, pleaded “Not Guilty.”

Finding.

The Court, after mature consideration on the evidence adduced, finds the prisoner, Private Matthew Hayden, Company “A,” 5th U.S. Cavalry, as follows:

Of the Specification, “Guilty of so much of the specification as follows, viz: ‘In this, that he, the said Matthew Hayden, of Company ‘A,’ 5th U.S. Cavalry, being a soldier in the United States service, did desert said service on or about October 17, 1861, at Camp Cliffburn, D.C., and was arrested.’”
Of the Charge, “Guilty.”

Sentence.

And the Court does therefore sentence him, Private Matthew Hayden, Company “A,” 5th U.S. Cavalry, “To forfeit all pay and allowances, that are now or may become due him; to be confined at hard labor for the period of (5) five years in a military prison, to be designated by the Secretary of War, wearing a ball weighing (12 lbs.) twelve pounds attached to one of his legs by a chain.”

So who was this fellow?

Matthew Hayden was born in Dublin, Ireland, about 1835. He worked as a laborer after immigrating to the United States, and was 26 years old when he was enlisted into Company A, 5th U.S. Cavalry by Lt. Ogle in New York City on August 21, 1860. His enlistment documents describe him as 5’8” tall, with blue eyes, brown hair and a sallow complexion. It is interesting how records differ. His enlistment documents show he deserted on September 16, 1861 and was apprehended on November 10, 1863, versus the information contained in the charges. The regimental returns for November reflect the October desertion date, though he deserted by not returning from furlough and it may have started on September 16th. November 10th was most likely the date he was returned to the regiment’s custody.

If Hayden’s enlistment data and company sound familiar, it is because he was enlisted into the same company as yesterday’s Henry Baker, by the same officer, at the same place, eight days later. It would be a clever tie-in, but I confess that I didn’t find his enlistment records until this morning.

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