Proceedings of a Court of Enquiry, held by order of Lt. Col. Birch, at East Chester Camp July 14, 1780, to examine into the grounds, for the suspicion on which Serjeant Sievert of the Hussars has been confined by his Commanding Officer.
Captain Baggott of the 17th Dragoons President
Lieut. Kerr 17th Drags. Lieut. Hussey 17th Drags.
Lieut. Bradshaw 17th Drags. Cornet Searle 17th Drags.
Captain Diemar informs the Court, that he went to New York on the 5th Instant, by leave of Brigadier General Leiand, to apply for some Accoutrements; and left particular directions to the Officers respecting the Men. That Lieut. Molitor reported on the 6th Instant, that two Corporals, and nine Privates had gone off between 12 & 1 in the Morning: Serjeant Sievert's whole Mess being in the Number of the deserters, Captn. Diemar sent by Express to Lieut. Molitor to put Serjt. Sievert in confinement, as it seemed impossible for so many Men to get off (with their Horses, and Accoutrements complete) without his Knowledge. Captain Diemar adds to enforce his Suspicions, that the Serjeant always Slept with the Men, and that they were obliged to lead their Horses over a Stone Wall.
Serjeant Sievert of the Hussars being put on his Defence, says that he was always accustomed to Sleep in the same place with the Men; but on the Night of the 5th Instant Lieutenant Molitor insisted on his lying in the same Tent with him: that early in the Morning, when he went to see the Horses fed, he found that several of them were missing and on making further enquiry, that two Corporals & nine Privates, with their Horses, and Accoutrements had deserted; which he imagines could not have happened, if he had been with the Men as usual; & that he reported it to the Lieutenant.
Question from the Court, at the request of Captain Diemar to Lieut. Molitor, Lieut. Albus, and Serjeant Sievert.
Do You know if the Men who deserted, had any demands on Captn. Diemar, for pay or Cloathing?
Answer- The Whole Troop had been paid up to the 24th of June; & have had Money in Advance.
The Court is of Opinion that Captain Diemar had sufficient reason for confining the Serjeant, who ought to have been with his Men as usual: and is further of Opinion, that Serjeant Sievert is not Accesary to the Mens deserting; but that Lieut. Molitor, by insisting on the Serjeant's Sleeping with him, was the Occasion of his Neglect of Duty.
S. Baggott Captain President
William L. Clements Library, Sir Henry Clinton Papers, Volume 111, folio 32.