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David Henley was the first person to receive a court-martial trail in the American military, on this day in 1778 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Henley was a colonel in the Continental Army and a prisoner of war commandant. British prisoners from the Battle of Saratoga were under his jurisdiction and he was accused by British Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne of “a general tenor of language and conduct heinously criminal as an officer; and unbecoming a man; of the most indecent, violent, vindictive severity against unarmed men; and of intentional murder.” He described an incident in the barracks during which a prisoner was defiant and uncooperative toward Henley and so the colonel stabbed him with a bayonet. Henley was acquitted on Feb. 25.
(Evans Early American Imprint Collection)
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