Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1876/12/14

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 05/09/1990

John Redmond court-martialed
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

Private John Redmond who had served here with the 23rd Infantry last summer has just been tried, by a general court-martial, for desertion and theft of Army property. Redmond had left his company at Camp Hat Creek on Oct. 17 taking with him a Springfield rifle, a gun sling and 60 cartridges. He enjoyed only three weeks at large before being apprehended near Fort Laramie on Nov. 9 and confined in the post guardhouse. At the time of his capture, Pvt. Redmond surrendered part of the stolen ordnance goods.

The court found him guilty, and sentenced him to be dishonorably discharged, to forfeit all pay and allowances due, and to be confined at hard labor for three and one-half years. In addition to this, he was penalized $20 for the missing ordnance items plus $30 paid to a citizen for his capture. Pvt. Redmond was promptly transferred to the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

General court-martials such as this one ordered by the headquarters of the Department of the Platte do not convene very often, then only to try serious cases of breach of orders, desertion, and theft. However garrison courts-martial to try soldiers for lesser infractions such as drunkenness or fighting are staged at Fort Laramie almost weekly.

Most of the personnel actions affecting Company H of the 23rd Infantry while they were here last summer, other than Redmond's court-martial, were of a more routine nature.

Second Lieutenant Pardee, who had been assigned as an acting aide-de-camp on Colonel Merritt's staff July 16 stayed with the cavalry column when they marched to meet General Crook in the Big Horn country. Five enlisted men were discharged on expiration of their terms of service. Corporal Sylvester T. Winn was the only one of the five to reenlist. With army pay at $14 per month the lure of the gold fields may have been too tempting for the others to remain in the Army.

(Information source: Fort Laramie 1876, by Paul Hedren; An Infantry Company in the Sioux Campaign, 1876, Montana the magazine of western history, by Paul Hedren.)

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