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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 1:57 pm 
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Location: Upper Canada
According to the General Regulations and Orders for the Army, p.98, the Articles of War in force at the time of the War of 1812 stated that 'military laws' were to be read once a month to all officers and men, and that while they were being read out loud strict attention, and therefore a strict silence kept, should be given to the laws.

Source: A Media Plan for Military Animation. William Henry. Toronto, Ontario, 1977. p.19.

"Deserters in Canada were often transported as Felons, some for life and others for lesser periods. Serjeant William Green of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment deserted on 18 January, 1811, and was apprehended 22 January, 1811. The Court-Martial sentenced him to be "Transported as a Felon for Life." (G.O. Quebec, 2 February, 1811). A personal communication from the Military Historical section of National Historic Parks and Sites Branch of Parks Canada, indicates that deserters were also branded. The brand, or tattoo, as it would now be called, was placed on the deserters left side, two inches below the armpit. The skin was punctured with a needle to form a "D" and Gunpowder or ink was rubbed into the puncture."

Here's another punishment for a 'Deserter': (Source: The Peninsular and Waterloo Campaigns. E. Costello. London [England], 1852.)

" A six-pounder shot was attached to the offender's leg with a long chain, and so obliged him to trail it about with him."


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 7:39 pm 
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Location: York, Upper Canada
Jim Hill gave a presentation on the Canadian soldier of 1812 yesterday at the Wellington Brewery in Guelph Ontario. It was an excellent seminar, and touched briefly in desertion.

According to documentation, there was a disproportionate number of back soldiers deserting from the ranks. However, upon digging deeper, it turns out that when they were captured, they were not taken as prisoners of war, but were often taken as slaves.

After the war, some were able to escape to the Canadas, but everything they had owned before the war was sold off.

Thanks for coming out...


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:51 pm 
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Source: Documentary History of the Campaign on the Niagara Frontier in 1814. Capt. E. Cruikshank, Fort Erie.The Tribune Office, Welland [UC]. [the year is unknown]. p.279.

"Militia General Order.
HEADQUARTERS, FALLS OF NIAGARA, October 28th, 1814.

At a General Court Martial held at Stamford on the 25th instant, and continued by adjournment to the 28th of the same month, Private John McMillan of the 2nd Regiment of Lincoln Militia was arraigned on the following charges, viz:

1st - For having deserted to the enemy with his arms and accoutrements when on duty, on or about the 6th of October, 1813.
2nd - For having been taken bearing arms in the service of the enemy, on or about the 17th of September last.

And the court, after duly considering the evidence for the prosecution and on behalf of the prisoner, were clearly of opinion that he is guilty of both charges, and therefore sentenced him to suffer death at such place and time as His Honor the President may be pleased to direct.

His Honor the President approves the finding and sentence of the court, and directs that the same be carried into execution at Bridgewater on Monday morning next, the 31st instant, at 11 o'clock."


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:12 pm 
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Merry Hearts Make Light Days (The War of 1812 Journal of Lt. John LeCouteur, 104th Foot). Donald E. Graves. Carlton University Press, Ottawa, Canada, 1993. P.81.

"One of the punished men deserted from Fredericton and fancied, poor fellow, that He could make his way through eighty or ninety miles of the aboriginal forest to the United States. At the end of four days He was found in a dying state by some of the MicMac Indians who dressed his sores in their clever way, saved his life, and brought Him to the barracks. He was a fine young Man when in health but in Him the human form divine was marred, completely marred. Every, I verily believe, every part of his poor Body, had been preyed upon by myriads of Insects small and large - Sand flies, Mosquitoes, Bugs, Worms and Beetles. His face was a mass of inflamed sores, no eyes distinguishable - it made one Sick and weak to see Him. His crime was lost sight of in his misfortune.

In a day or two, He could walk perfectly and the Colonel most wisely and judiciously, to the great joy of every Officer, gave up all ideas of the Court Martial but he paraded the Regiment in great form, made an appropriate speech on the heinousness of desertion, said He would on this occasion spare further punishment because that which the Deserter had brought upon Himself, was far greater than even the law would administer. He would shew them their unfortunate Comrade. The ranks were opened to double distance and the Front rank faced about. When the Prisoner was marched slowly through the ranks, there was an unrepressed groan moving along the line, as the hideous object strode along in his filthy overdress, which was put over his clean underclothes for the occasion. There were no more desertions through the woods."


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