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Court Martial/How would you vote

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  • m_lahmann
    In The King s Coat by Dewey Lambdin, the ship is hit by Yellow Jack. The captain is sick and utterly disabled as are all ranking officers; the ship s crew is
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 1, 2010
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      In The King's Coat by Dewey Lambdin, the ship is hit by Yellow Jack. The captain is sick and utterly disabled as are all ranking officers; the ship's crew is severely depleted by the illness and a master's mate is in charge. A high ranking government official and his wife are on board. When a French privateer is about to take the ship, he orders the midshipman to strike the colors since he thinks that they cannot withstand a broadside attack from the French. In his view the ship and the official would be lost. Meanwhile Midshipman Lewrie, who is the artillery officer has double shotted every cannon and swivel gun with everything from chain shot to fire arrows (yes a kind of exploding shot designed to cause fire). He has suggested that they gamble that they can damage defeat the French if the privateer comes close enough to see that they have Yellow Jack on board by showing them the corpses. As the privateer comes along side, he orders everything fired. I won't ruin it by telling those who haven't read it, how it comes out.
      Clearly, the master violated the tenth article of war by ordering his ship surrendered without putting up any resistance, not a single shot. Midshipman Lewrie disobeyed his order. Both would be liable to court martial. Both could be hanged for their offenses.
      If you were a captain on those court-martial panels, how would you vote in each man's case and what would be your penalty?
    • jim davis
      Interesting as they are both guilty.   The Masters Mate should have fired at least one gun for the honor of the flag .  I dont remember the whole incident,
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 1, 2010
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        Interesting as they are both guilty.
          The Masters Mate should have fired at least one gun "for the honor of the flag".  I dont remember the whole incident, so I am not sure if it was a fair sized frigate or a smaller ship.  In any case, if there were crew enough to man one broadside, even at some reduction in man, he had the obligation to fight.  The risk to the Govt official does not enter into the question.   He can always be sent to the orlop deck for safety.  And  they can always strike after that first exchange..
        So guilty as charged and the RN was a hard school, so sentenced to be hanged.  If the Govt official is important enough, and grateful ( not likly ) he can try and get it commuted. 
        Midshipman Lewry is charged with disobeying the lawful ofder of a superior.   But in so doing obeying the Articles of War,  I am not sure that a masters mate is that much superior, but It is not an important point.  AS the order itself is in violation of the articles of War, and the individual who gave the order has just been sentenced to hang for that order, it was NOT a Lawful Oder.  Dismissed. 
        But I did cheat as i know Lewry is the main character.
        Jim

        --- On Mon, 11/1/10, m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

        From: m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
        Subject: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
        To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Monday, November 1, 2010, 8:15 PM

         

        In The King's Coat by Dewey Lambdin, the ship is hit by Yellow Jack. The captain is sick and utterly disabled as are all ranking officers; the ship's crew is severely depleted by the illness and a master's mate is in charge. A high ranking government official and his wife are on board. When a French privateer is about to take the ship, he orders the midshipman to strike the colors since he thinks that they cannot withstand a broadside attack from the French. In his view the ship and the official would be lost. Meanwhile Midshipman Lewrie, who is the artillery officer has double shotted every cannon and swivel gun with everything from chain shot to fire arrows (yes a kind of exploding shot designed to cause fire). He has suggested that they gamble that they can damage defeat the French if the privateer comes close enough to see that they have Yellow Jack on board by showing them the corpses. As the privateer comes along side, he orders everything fired. I won't ruin it by telling those who haven't read it, how it comes out.
        Clearly, the master violated the tenth article of war by ordering his ship surrendered without putting up any resistance, not a single shot. Midshipman Lewrie disobeyed his order. Both would be liable to court martial. Both could be hanged for their offenses.
        If you were a captain on those court-martial panels, how would you vote in each man's case and what would be your penalty?


      • meredith lahmann
        Interesting reasoning although I don t think the master s mate being hanged would have necessarily excused the midshipman. Is a bad order necessarily
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 2, 2010
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          Interesting reasoning although I don't think the master's mate being hanged would have necessarily excused the midshipman. Is a bad order necessarily unlawful??? To clarify, the French privateer was a large brig. Also, at the time the midshipman fired, the English sloop had lowered its flag if that affects anyone's thoughts on the subject.

          --- On Tue, 11/2/10, jim davis <jhdavis19@...> wrote:

          From: jim davis <jhdavis19@...>
          Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
          To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 5:27 AM

           
          Interesting as they are both guilty.
            The Masters Mate should have fired at least one gun "for the honor of the flag".  I dont remember the whole incident, so I am not sure if it was a fair sized frigate or a smaller ship.  In any case, if there were crew enough to man one broadside, even at some reduction in man, he had the obligation to fight.  The risk to the Govt official does not enter into the question.   He can always be sent to the orlop deck for safety.  And  they can always strike after that first exchange..
          So guilty as charged and the RN was a hard school, so sentenced to be hanged.  If the Govt official is important enough, and grateful ( not likly ) he can try and get it commuted. 
          Midshipman Lewry is charged with disobeying the lawful ofder of a superior.   But in so doing obeying the Articles of War,  I am not sure that a masters mate is that much superior, but It is not an important point.  AS the order itself is in violation of the articles of War, and the individual who gave the order has just been sentenced to hang for that order, it was NOT a Lawful Oder.  Dismissed. 
          But I did cheat as i know Lewry is the main character.
          Jim

          --- On Mon, 11/1/10, m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

          From: m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
          Subject: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
          To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Monday, November 1, 2010, 8:15 PM

           
          In The King's Coat by Dewey Lambdin, the ship is hit by Yellow Jack. The captain is sick and utterly disabled as are all ranking officers; the ship's crew is severely depleted by the illness and a master's mate is in charge. A high ranking government official and his wife are on board. When a French privateer is about to take the ship, he orders the midshipman to strike the colors since he thinks that they cannot withstand a broadside attack from the French. In his view the ship and the official would be lost. Meanwhile Midshipman Lewrie, who is the artillery officer has double shotted every cannon and swivel gun with everything from chain shot to fire arrows (yes a kind of exploding shot designed to cause fire). He has suggested that they gamble that they can damage defeat the French if the privateer comes close enough to see that they have Yellow Jack on board by showing them the corpses. As the privateer comes along side, he orders everything fired. I won't ruin it by telling those who haven't read it, how it comes out.
          Clearly, the master violated the tenth article of war by ordering his ship surrendered without putting up any resistance, not a single shot. Midshipman Lewrie disobeyed his order. Both would be liable to court martial. Both could be hanged for their offenses.
          If you were a captain on those court-martial panels, how would you vote in each man's case and what would be your penalty?



        • Bill Crews
          one has to keep in mind that the primary difference between the system of military justice, as embodied in courts martial, and civilian civil/criminal justice
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 2, 2010
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            one has to keep in mind that the primary difference between the system of military justice, as embodied in courts martial, and civilian civil/criminal justice systems is the emphasis on the maintenance of discipline. While "justice" is a concern in the military system the overriding concern is with the maintenance of combat effectiveness. A great example of this in naval literature is Melville's "Billy Budd." In real life you have the example of Admiral John Byng who was shot for obeying the "Fighting Instructions" when a court determined he'd not done enough.
             
            It is hard to conceive of a court martial in time of war convicting an officer for over zealously resisting the enemy. In real life, the enemy was a privateer, not a national flag ship. That immediately places the action in a different context. I would imagine the master in this case, in a real event, would have been acquitted but, in light of the proof that his ship could have been successfully defended, he would have found it damned near impossible to find further employment in the Navy. Lewrie might have received an admonishment from the court along with his acquittal so as to uphold discipline but in a small and very insular service where you were known by reputation he wouldn't have suffered any career damage. In the context of the book, that the ship had British VIPs aboard, it is unlikely he would have been admonished and it is very likely the master would have been rebuked when acquitted.


            From: meredith lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
            To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tue, November 2, 2010 9:30:32 AM
            Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote

             

            Interesting reasoning although I don't think the master's mate being hanged would have necessarily excused the midshipman. Is a bad order necessarily unlawful??? To clarify, the French privateer was a large brig. Also, at the time the midshipman fired, the English sloop had lowered its flag if that affects anyone's thoughts on the subject.

            --- On Tue, 11/2/10, jim davis <jhdavis19@...> wrote:

            From: jim davis <jhdavis19@...>
            Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
            To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 5:27 AM

             
            Interesting as they are both guilty.
              The Masters Mate should have fired at least one gun "for the honor of the flag".  I dont remember the whole incident, so I am not sure if it was a fair sized frigate or a smaller ship.  In any case, if there were crew enough to man one broadside, even at some reduction in man, he had the obligation to fight.  The risk to the Govt official does not enter into the question.   He can always be sent to the orlop deck for safety.  And  they can always strike after that first exchange..
            So guilty as charged and the RN was a hard school, so sentenced to be hanged.  If the Govt official is important enough, and grateful ( not likly ) he can try and get it commuted. 
            Midshipman Lewry is charged with disobeying the lawful ofder of a superior.   But in so doing obeying the Articles of War,  I am not sure that a masters mate is that much superior, but It is not an important point.  AS the order itself is in violation of the articles of War, and the individual who gave the order has just been sentenced to hang for that order, it was NOT a Lawful Oder.  Dismissed. 
            But I did cheat as i know Lewry is the main character.
            Jim

            --- On Mon, 11/1/10, m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

            From: m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
            Subject: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
            To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Monday, November 1, 2010, 8:15 PM

             
            In The King's Coat by Dewey Lambdin, the ship is hit by Yellow Jack. The captain is sick and utterly disabled as are all ranking officers; the ship's crew is severely depleted by the illness and a master's mate is in charge. A high ranking government official and his wife are on board. When a French privateer is about to take the ship, he orders the midshipman to strike the colors since he thinks that they cannot withstand a broadside attack from the French. In his view the ship and the official would be lost. Meanwhile Midshipman Lewrie, who is the artillery officer has double shotted every cannon and swivel gun with everything from chain shot to fire arrows (yes a kind of exploding shot designed to cause fire). He has suggested that they gamble that they can damage defeat the French if the privateer comes close enough to see that they have Yellow Jack on board by showing them the corpses. As the privateer comes along side, he orders everything fired. I won't ruin it by telling those who haven't read it, how it comes out.
            Clearly, the master violated the tenth article of war by ordering his ship surrendered without putting up any resistance, not a single shot. Midshipman Lewrie disobeyed his order. Both would be liable to court martial. Both could be hanged for their offenses.
            If you were a captain on those court-martial panels, how would you vote in each man's case and what would be your penalty?




          • Bill Crews
            also keep in mind that the Navy did not like scandal and that success is, in the final analysis, its own justification. We get the phrase turn a blind eye
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 2, 2010
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              also keep in mind that the Navy did not like scandal and that success is, in the final analysis, its own justification. We get the phrase "turn a blind eye" from Nelson's actions at Copenhagen when he ignored his admiral's orders to break off an attack by claiming he couldn't read them using his telescope on his blind eye.


              From: Bill Crews <bill.crews@...>
              To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Tue, November 2, 2010 11:17:34 AM
              Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote

               

              one has to keep in mind that the primary difference between the system of military justice, as embodied in courts martial, and civilian civil/criminal justice systems is the emphasis on the maintenance of discipline. While "justice" is a concern in the military system the overriding concern is with the maintenance of combat effectiveness. A great example of this in naval literature is Melville's "Billy Budd." In real life you have the example of Admiral John Byng who was shot for obeying the "Fighting Instructions" when a court determined he'd not done enough.
               
              It is hard to conceive of a court martial in time of war convicting an officer for over zealously resisting the enemy. In real life, the enemy was a privateer, not a national flag ship. That immediately places the action in a different context. I would imagine the master in this case, in a real event, would have been acquitted but, in light of the proof that his ship could have been successfully defended, he would have found it damned near impossible to find further employment in the Navy. Lewrie might have received an admonishment from the court along with his acquittal so as to uphold discipline but in a small and very insular service where you were known by reputation he wouldn't have suffered any career damage. In the context of the book, that the ship had British VIPs aboard, it is unlikely he would have been admonished and it is very likely the master would have been rebuked when acquitted.


              From: meredith lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
              To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Tue, November 2, 2010 9:30:32 AM
              Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote

               

              Interesting reasoning although I don't think the master's mate being hanged would have necessarily excused the midshipman. Is a bad order necessarily unlawful??? To clarify, the French privateer was a large brig. Also, at the time the midshipman fired, the English sloop had lowered its flag if that affects anyone's thoughts on the subject.

              --- On Tue, 11/2/10, jim davis <jhdavis19@...> wrote:

              From: jim davis <jhdavis19@...>
              Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
              To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 5:27 AM

               
              Interesting as they are both guilty.
                The Masters Mate should have fired at least one gun "for the honor of the flag".  I dont remember the whole incident, so I am not sure if it was a fair sized frigate or a smaller ship.  In any case, if there were crew enough to man one broadside, even at some reduction in man, he had the obligation to fight.  The risk to the Govt official does not enter into the question.   He can always be sent to the orlop deck for safety.  And  they can always strike after that first exchange..
              So guilty as charged and the RN was a hard school, so sentenced to be hanged.  If the Govt official is important enough, and grateful ( not likly ) he can try and get it commuted. 
              Midshipman Lewry is charged with disobeying the lawful ofder of a superior.   But in so doing obeying the Articles of War,  I am not sure that a masters mate is that much superior, but It is not an important point.  AS the order itself is in violation of the articles of War, and the individual who gave the order has just been sentenced to hang for that order, it was NOT a Lawful Oder.  Dismissed. 
              But I did cheat as i know Lewry is the main character.
              Jim

              --- On Mon, 11/1/10, m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

              From: m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
              Subject: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
              To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Monday, November 1, 2010, 8:15 PM

               
              In The King's Coat by Dewey Lambdin, the ship is hit by Yellow Jack. The captain is sick and utterly disabled as are all ranking officers; the ship's crew is severely depleted by the illness and a master's mate is in charge. A high ranking government official and his wife are on board. When a French privateer is about to take the ship, he orders the midshipman to strike the colors since he thinks that they cannot withstand a broadside attack from the French. In his view the ship and the official would be lost. Meanwhile Midshipman Lewrie, who is the artillery officer has double shotted every cannon and swivel gun with everything from chain shot to fire arrows (yes a kind of exploding shot designed to cause fire). He has suggested that they gamble that they can damage defeat the French if the privateer comes close enough to see that they have Yellow Jack on board by showing them the corpses. As the privateer comes along side, he orders everything fired. I won't ruin it by telling those who haven't read it, how it comes out.
              Clearly, the master violated the tenth article of war by ordering his ship surrendered without putting up any resistance, not a single shot. Midshipman Lewrie disobeyed his order. Both would be liable to court martial. Both could be hanged for their offenses.
              If you were a captain on those court-martial panels, how would you vote in each man's case and what would be your penalty?





            • jim davis
              Good point, as I dont see anything specifically saying you may disobey an order.But article 10 specifically points out you must prepare to fight and engage the
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 2, 2010
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                Good point, as I dont see anything specifically saying you may disobey an order.But article 10 specifically points out you must prepare to fight and engage the enemy.  So I would argu if you must fight, and may avoid preparing to fight, the Masters Mate could not surrender at that point, and if he could not surrender he could not order his men to, on the principle that he could not order his men to disobey the Articles of War.  So his order to surrender is null and void.
                Buyt thinking about the masters mate, I might make allowance for his only being an NCO and not trained or fit for command of a ship, and allow that his decision was not due to cowardice, so commute the sentence to some lesser punishment.

                Art 10.   Every flag officer, captain and commander in the fleet, who, upon signal or order of fight, or sight of any ship or ships which it may be his duty to engage, or who, upon likelihood of engagement, shall not make the necessary preparations for fight, and shall not in his own person, and according to his place, encourage the inferior officers and men to fight courageously, shall suffer death, or such other punishment, as from the nature and degree of the offence a court martial shall deem him to deserve; and if any person in the fleet shall treacherously or cowardly yield or cry for quarter, every person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death.


                Jim D

                --- On Tue, 11/2/10, meredith lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

                From: meredith lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
                Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 8:30 AM

                 

                Interesting reasoning although I don't think the master's mate being hanged would have necessarily excused the midshipman. Is a bad order necessarily unlawful??? To clarify, the French privateer was a large brig. Also, at the time the midshipman fired, the English sloop had lowered its flag if that affects anyone's thoughts on the subject.

                --- On Tue, 11/2/10, jim davis <jhdavis19@...> wrote:

                From: jim davis <jhdavis19@...>
                Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 5:27 AM

                 
                Interesting as they are both guilty.
                  The Masters Mate should have fired at least one gun "for the honor of the flag".  I dont remember the whole incident, so I am not sure if it was a fair sized frigate or a smaller ship.  In any case, if there were crew enough to man one broadside, even at some reduction in man, he had the obligation to fight.  The risk to the Govt official does not enter into the question.   He can always be sent to the orlop deck for safety.  And  they can always strike after that first exchange..
                So guilty as charged and the RN was a hard school, so sentenced to be hanged.  If the Govt official is important enough, and grateful ( not likly ) he can try and get it commuted. 
                Midshipman Lewry is charged with disobeying the lawful ofder of a superior.   But in so doing obeying the Articles of War,  I am not sure that a masters mate is that much superior, but It is not an important point.  AS the order itself is in violation of the articles of War, and the individual who gave the order has just been sentenced to hang for that order, it was NOT a Lawful Oder.  Dismissed. 
                But I did cheat as i know Lewry is the main character.
                Jim

                --- On Mon, 11/1/10, m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

                From: m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
                Subject: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Monday, November 1, 2010, 8:15 PM

                 
                In The King's Coat by Dewey Lambdin, the ship is hit by Yellow Jack. The captain is sick and utterly disabled as are all ranking officers; the ship's crew is severely depleted by the illness and a master's mate is in charge. A high ranking government official and his wife are on board. When a French privateer is about to take the ship, he orders the midshipman to strike the colors since he thinks that they cannot withstand a broadside attack from the French. In his view the ship and the official would be lost. Meanwhile Midshipman Lewrie, who is the artillery officer has double shotted every cannon and swivel gun with everything from chain shot to fire arrows (yes a kind of exploding shot designed to cause fire). He has suggested that they gamble that they can damage defeat the French if the privateer comes close enough to see that they have Yellow Jack on board by showing them the corpses. As the privateer comes along side, he orders everything fired. I won't ruin it by telling those who haven't read it, how it comes out.
                Clearly, the master violated the tenth article of war by ordering his ship surrendered without putting up any resistance, not a single shot. Midshipman Lewrie disobeyed his order. Both would be liable to court martial. Both could be hanged for their offenses.
                If you were a captain on those court-martial panels, how would you vote in each man's case and what would be your penalty?




              • meredith lahmann
                Ah, all those years in law enforcement are showing. I d be willing for you to defend me if I were the middy. ... From: jim davis Subject:
                Message 7 of 10 , Nov 2, 2010
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                  Ah, all those years in law enforcement are showing. I'd be willing for you to defend me if I were the middy.

                  --- On Tue, 11/2/10, jim davis <jhdavis19@...> wrote:

                  From: jim davis <jhdavis19@...>
                  Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                  To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 6:03 PM

                   
                  Good point, as I dont see anything specifically saying you may disobey an order.But article 10 specifically points out you must prepare to fight and engage the enemy.  So I would argu if you must fight, and may avoid preparing to fight, the Masters Mate could not surrender at that point, and if he could not surrender he could not order his men to, on the principle that he could not order his men to disobey the Articles of War.  So his order to surrender is null and void.
                  Buyt thinking about the masters mate, I might make allowance for his only being an NCO and not trained or fit for command of a ship, and allow that his decision was not due to cowardice, so commute the sentence to some lesser punishment.

                  Art 10.   Every flag officer, captain and commander in the fleet, who, upon signal or order of fight, or sight of any ship or ships which it may be his duty to engage, or who, upon likelihood of engagement, shall not make the necessary preparations for fight, and shall not in his own person, and according to his place, encourage the inferior officers and men to fight courageously, shall suffer death, or such other punishment, as from the nature and degree of the offence a court martial shall deem him to deserve; and if any person in the fleet shall treacherously or cowardly yield or cry for quarter, every person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death.


                  Jim D

                  --- On Tue, 11/2/10, meredith lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

                  From: meredith lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
                  Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                  To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 8:30 AM

                   
                  Interesting reasoning although I don't think the master's mate being hanged would have necessarily excused the midshipman. Is a bad order necessarily unlawful??? To clarify, the French privateer was a large brig. Also, at the time the midshipman fired, the English sloop had lowered its flag if that affects anyone's thoughts on the subject.

                  --- On Tue, 11/2/10, jim davis <jhdavis19@...> wrote:

                  From: jim davis <jhdavis19@...>
                  Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                  To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 5:27 AM

                   
                  Interesting as they are both guilty.
                    The Masters Mate should have fired at least one gun "for the honor of the flag".  I dont remember the whole incident, so I am not sure if it was a fair sized frigate or a smaller ship.  In any case, if there were crew enough to man one broadside, even at some reduction in man, he had the obligation to fight.  The risk to the Govt official does not enter into the question.   He can always be sent to the orlop deck for safety.  And  they can always strike after that first exchange..
                  So guilty as charged and the RN was a hard school, so sentenced to be hanged.  If the Govt official is important enough, and grateful ( not likly ) he can try and get it commuted. 
                  Midshipman Lewry is charged with disobeying the lawful ofder of a superior.   But in so doing obeying the Articles of War,  I am not sure that a masters mate is that much superior, but It is not an important point.  AS the order itself is in violation of the articles of War, and the individual who gave the order has just been sentenced to hang for that order, it was NOT a Lawful Oder.  Dismissed. 
                  But I did cheat as i know Lewry is the main character.
                  Jim

                  --- On Mon, 11/1/10, m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

                  From: m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
                  Subject: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                  To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Monday, November 1, 2010, 8:15 PM

                   
                  In The King's Coat by Dewey Lambdin, the ship is hit by Yellow Jack. The captain is sick and utterly disabled as are all ranking officers; the ship's crew is severely depleted by the illness and a master's mate is in charge. A high ranking government official and his wife are on board. When a French privateer is about to take the ship, he orders the midshipman to strike the colors since he thinks that they cannot withstand a broadside attack from the French. In his view the ship and the official would be lost. Meanwhile Midshipman Lewrie, who is the artillery officer has double shotted every cannon and swivel gun with everything from chain shot to fire arrows (yes a kind of exploding shot designed to cause fire). He has suggested that they gamble that they can damage defeat the French if the privateer comes close enough to see that they have Yellow Jack on board by showing them the corpses. As the privateer comes along side, he orders everything fired. I won't ruin it by telling those who haven't read it, how it comes out.
                  Clearly, the master violated the tenth article of war by ordering his ship surrendered without putting up any resistance, not a single shot. Midshipman Lewrie disobeyed his order. Both would be liable to court martial. Both could be hanged for their offenses.
                  If you were a captain on those court-martial panels, how would you vote in each man's case and what would be your penalty?





                • jim davis
                  I dont think the court would acquit the master.  He clearly failed to get his ship ready to fight, failed to order it to fight, and in fact ordered it not to
                  Message 8 of 10 , Nov 2, 2010
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                    I dont think the court would acquit the master.  He clearly failed to get his ship ready to fight, failed to order it to fight, and in fact ordered it not to fight.  If the court is looking to make sure of effective fighting he has to be guilty.  If they decide to back his orders, ( as a matter of disapline )  no matter how they violate article 10 they are encouraging a lack of fighting spirit and confusion among the ranks.  Both sisapline and morale will suffer.
                    I agree they might aquite , then admonish Lewry about obeying orders.  AS you said admonished or not a successful fight helps his  reputation.
                    Jim D


                    --- On Tue, 11/2/10, Bill Crews <bill.crews@...> wrote:

                    From: Bill Crews <bill.crews@...>
                    Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                    To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 10:17 AM

                     

                    one has to keep in mind that the primary difference between the system of military justice, as embodied in courts martial, and civilian civil/criminal justice systems is the emphasis on the maintenance of discipline. While "justice" is a concern in the military system the overriding concern is with the maintenance of combat effectiveness. A great example of this in naval literature is Melville's "Billy Budd." In real life you have the example of Admiral John Byng who was shot for obeying the "Fighting Instructions" when a court determined he'd not done enough.
                     
                    It is hard to conceive of a court martial in time of war convicting an officer for over zealously resisting the enemy. In real life, the enemy was a privateer, not a national flag ship. That immediately places the action in a different context. I would imagine the master in this case, in a real event, would have been acquitted but, in light of the proof that his ship could have been successfully defended, he would have found it damned near impossible to find further employment in the Navy. Lewrie might have received an admonishment from the court along with his acquittal so as to uphold discipline but in a small and very insular service where you were known by reputation he wouldn't have suffered any career damage. In the context of the book, that the ship had British VIPs aboard, it is unlikely he would have been admonished and it is very likely the master would have been rebuked when acquitted.


                    From: meredith lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
                    To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Tue, November 2, 2010 9:30:32 AM
                    Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote

                     

                    Interesting reasoning although I don't think the master's mate being hanged would have necessarily excused the midshipman. Is a bad order necessarily unlawful??? To clarify, the French privateer was a large brig. Also, at the time the midshipman fired, the English sloop had lowered its flag if that affects anyone's thoughts on the subject.

                    --- On Tue, 11/2/10, jim davis <jhdavis19@...> wrote:

                    From: jim davis <jhdavis19@...>
                    Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                    To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 5:27 AM

                     
                    Interesting as they are both guilty.
                      The Masters Mate should have fired at least one gun "for the honor of the flag".  I dont remember the whole incident, so I am not sure if it was a fair sized frigate or a smaller ship.  In any case, if there were crew enough to man one broadside, even at some reduction in man, he had the obligation to fight.  The risk to the Govt official does not enter into the question.   He can always be sent to the orlop deck for safety.  And  they can always strike after that first exchange..
                    So guilty as charged and the RN was a hard school, so sentenced to be hanged.  If the Govt official is important enough, and grateful ( not likly ) he can try and get it commuted. 
                    Midshipman Lewry is charged with disobeying the lawful ofder of a superior.   But in so doing obeying the Articles of War,  I am not sure that a masters mate is that much superior, but It is not an important point.  AS the order itself is in violation of the articles of War, and the individual who gave the order has just been sentenced to hang for that order, it was NOT a Lawful Oder.  Dismissed. 
                    But I did cheat as i know Lewry is the main character.
                    Jim

                    --- On Mon, 11/1/10, m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

                    From: m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
                    Subject: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                    To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Monday, November 1, 2010, 8:15 PM

                     
                    In The King's Coat by Dewey Lambdin, the ship is hit by Yellow Jack. The captain is sick and utterly disabled as are all ranking officers; the ship's crew is severely depleted by the illness and a master's mate is in charge. A high ranking government official and his wife are on board. When a French privateer is about to take the ship, he orders the midshipman to strike the colors since he thinks that they cannot withstand a broadside attack from the French. In his view the ship and the official would be lost. Meanwhile Midshipman Lewrie, who is the artillery officer has double shotted every cannon and swivel gun with everything from chain shot to fire arrows (yes a kind of exploding shot designed to cause fire). He has suggested that they gamble that they can damage defeat the French if the privateer comes close enough to see that they have Yellow Jack on board by showing them the corpses. As the privateer comes along side, he orders everything fired. I won't ruin it by telling those who haven't read it, how it comes out.
                    Clearly, the master violated the tenth article of war by ordering his ship surrendered without putting up any resistance, not a single shot. Midshipman Lewrie disobeyed his order. Both would be liable to court martial. Both could be hanged for their offenses.
                    If you were a captain on those court-martial panels, how would you vote in each man's case and what would be your penalty?





                  • jim davis
                    Lewry can always claim I did not hear the order to surrender over the noise of the cannon.   The deaf ear joins the blind eye.  (did not know the origin of
                    Message 9 of 10 , Nov 2, 2010
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Lewry can always claim "I did not hear the order to surrender over the noise of the cannon."  The deaf ear joins the blind eye.  (did not know the origin of that term )
                      Jim D

                      --- On Tue, 11/2/10, Bill Crews <bill.crews@...> wrote:

                      From: Bill Crews <bill.crews@...>
                      Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                      To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 10:30 AM

                       

                      also keep in mind that the Navy did not like scandal and that success is, in the final analysis, its own justification. We get the phrase "turn a blind eye" from Nelson's actions at Copenhagen when he ignored his admiral's orders to break off an attack by claiming he couldn't read them using his telescope on his blind eye.


                      From: Bill Crews <bill.crews@...>
                      To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Tue, November 2, 2010 11:17:34 AM
                      Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote

                       

                      one has to keep in mind that the primary difference between the system of military justice, as embodied in courts martial, and civilian civil/criminal justice systems is the emphasis on the maintenance of discipline. While "justice" is a concern in the military system the overriding concern is with the maintenance of combat effectiveness. A great example of this in naval literature is Melville's "Billy Budd." In real life you have the example of Admiral John Byng who was shot for obeying the "Fighting Instructions" when a court determined he'd not done enough.
                       
                      It is hard to conceive of a court martial in time of war convicting an officer for over zealously resisting the enemy. In real life, the enemy was a privateer, not a national flag ship. That immediately places the action in a different context. I would imagine the master in this case, in a real event, would have been acquitted but, in light of the proof that his ship could have been successfully defended, he would have found it damned near impossible to find further employment in the Navy. Lewrie might have received an admonishment from the court along with his acquittal so as to uphold discipline but in a small and very insular service where you were known by reputation he wouldn't have suffered any career damage. In the context of the book, that the ship had British VIPs aboard, it is unlikely he would have been admonished and it is very likely the master would have been rebuked when acquitted.


                      From: meredith lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
                      To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Tue, November 2, 2010 9:30:32 AM
                      Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote

                       

                      Interesting reasoning although I don't think the master's mate being hanged would have necessarily excused the midshipman. Is a bad order necessarily unlawful??? To clarify, the French privateer was a large brig. Also, at the time the midshipman fired, the English sloop had lowered its flag if that affects anyone's thoughts on the subject.

                      --- On Tue, 11/2/10, jim davis <jhdavis19@...> wrote:

                      From: jim davis <jhdavis19@...>
                      Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                      To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 5:27 AM

                       
                      Interesting as they are both guilty.
                        The Masters Mate should have fired at least one gun "for the honor of the flag".  I dont remember the whole incident, so I am not sure if it was a fair sized frigate or a smaller ship.  In any case, if there were crew enough to man one broadside, even at some reduction in man, he had the obligation to fight.  The risk to the Govt official does not enter into the question.   He can always be sent to the orlop deck for safety.  And  they can always strike after that first exchange..
                      So guilty as charged and the RN was a hard school, so sentenced to be hanged.  If the Govt official is important enough, and grateful ( not likly ) he can try and get it commuted. 
                      Midshipman Lewry is charged with disobeying the lawful ofder of a superior.   But in so doing obeying the Articles of War,  I am not sure that a masters mate is that much superior, but It is not an important point.  AS the order itself is in violation of the articles of War, and the individual who gave the order has just been sentenced to hang for that order, it was NOT a Lawful Oder.  Dismissed. 
                      But I did cheat as i know Lewry is the main character.
                      Jim

                      --- On Mon, 11/1/10, m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

                      From: m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
                      Subject: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                      To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Monday, November 1, 2010, 8:15 PM

                       
                      In The King's Coat by Dewey Lambdin, the ship is hit by Yellow Jack. The captain is sick and utterly disabled as are all ranking officers; the ship's crew is severely depleted by the illness and a master's mate is in charge. A high ranking government official and his wife are on board. When a French privateer is about to take the ship, he orders the midshipman to strike the colors since he thinks that they cannot withstand a broadside attack from the French. In his view the ship and the official would be lost. Meanwhile Midshipman Lewrie, who is the artillery officer has double shotted every cannon and swivel gun with everything from chain shot to fire arrows (yes a kind of exploding shot designed to cause fire). He has suggested that they gamble that they can damage defeat the French if the privateer comes close enough to see that they have Yellow Jack on board by showing them the corpses. As the privateer comes along side, he orders everything fired. I won't ruin it by telling those who haven't read it, how it comes out.
                      Clearly, the master violated the tenth article of war by ordering his ship surrendered without putting up any resistance, not a single shot. Midshipman Lewrie disobeyed his order. Both would be liable to court martial. Both could be hanged for their offenses.
                      If you were a captain on those court-martial panels, how would you vote in each man's case and what would be your penalty?






                    • jim davis
                      Hmmm.  At a court martial , OK.  But not at a civilian trial where I would be reduced to a lawyer.  (= Jim ... From: meredith lahmann
                      Message 10 of 10 , Nov 2, 2010
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Hmmm.  At a court martial , OK.  But not at a civilian trial where I would be reduced to a lawyer.  (="

                        Jim

                        --- On Tue, 11/2/10, meredith lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

                        From: meredith lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
                        Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                        To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 1:25 PM

                         

                        Ah, all those years in law enforcement are showing. I'd be willing for you to defend me if I were the middy.

                        --- On Tue, 11/2/10, jim davis <jhdavis19@...> wrote:

                        From: jim davis <jhdavis19@...>
                        Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                        To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 6:03 PM

                         
                        Good point, as I dont see anything specifically saying you may disobey an order.But article 10 specifically points out you must prepare to fight and engage the enemy.  So I would argu if you must fight, and may avoid preparing to fight, the Masters Mate could not surrender at that point, and if he could not surrender he could not order his men to, on the principle that he could not order his men to disobey the Articles of War.  So his order to surrender is null and void.
                        Buyt thinking about the masters mate, I might make allowance for his only being an NCO and not trained or fit for command of a ship, and allow that his decision was not due to cowardice, so commute the sentence to some lesser punishment.

                        Art 10.   Every flag officer, captain and commander in the fleet, who, upon signal or order of fight, or sight of any ship or ships which it may be his duty to engage, or who, upon likelihood of engagement, shall not make the necessary preparations for fight, and shall not in his own person, and according to his place, encourage the inferior officers and men to fight courageously, shall suffer death, or such other punishment, as from the nature and degree of the offence a court martial shall deem him to deserve; and if any person in the fleet shall treacherously or cowardly yield or cry for quarter, every person so offending, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of a court martial, shall suffer death.


                        Jim D

                        --- On Tue, 11/2/10, meredith lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

                        From: meredith lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
                        Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                        To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 8:30 AM

                         
                        Interesting reasoning although I don't think the master's mate being hanged would have necessarily excused the midshipman. Is a bad order necessarily unlawful??? To clarify, the French privateer was a large brig. Also, at the time the midshipman fired, the English sloop had lowered its flag if that affects anyone's thoughts on the subject.

                        --- On Tue, 11/2/10, jim davis <jhdavis19@...> wrote:

                        From: jim davis <jhdavis19@...>
                        Subject: Re: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                        To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 5:27 AM

                         
                        Interesting as they are both guilty.
                          The Masters Mate should have fired at least one gun "for the honor of the flag".  I dont remember the whole incident, so I am not sure if it was a fair sized frigate or a smaller ship.  In any case, if there were crew enough to man one broadside, even at some reduction in man, he had the obligation to fight.  The risk to the Govt official does not enter into the question.   He can always be sent to the orlop deck for safety.  And  they can always strike after that first exchange..
                        So guilty as charged and the RN was a hard school, so sentenced to be hanged.  If the Govt official is important enough, and grateful ( not likly ) he can try and get it commuted. 
                        Midshipman Lewry is charged with disobeying the lawful ofder of a superior.   But in so doing obeying the Articles of War,  I am not sure that a masters mate is that much superior, but It is not an important point.  AS the order itself is in violation of the articles of War, and the individual who gave the order has just been sentenced to hang for that order, it was NOT a Lawful Oder.  Dismissed. 
                        But I did cheat as i know Lewry is the main character.
                        Jim

                        --- On Mon, 11/1/10, m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...> wrote:

                        From: m_lahmann <m_lahmann@...>
                        Subject: [Bolitho] Court Martial/How would you vote
                        To: Bolitho@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Monday, November 1, 2010, 8:15 PM

                         
                        In The King's Coat by Dewey Lambdin, the ship is hit by Yellow Jack. The captain is sick and utterly disabled as are all ranking officers; the ship's crew is severely depleted by the illness and a master's mate is in charge. A high ranking government official and his wife are on board. When a French privateer is about to take the ship, he orders the midshipman to strike the colors since he thinks that they cannot withstand a broadside attack from the French. In his view the ship and the official would be lost. Meanwhile Midshipman Lewrie, who is the artillery officer has double shotted every cannon and swivel gun with everything from chain shot to fire arrows (yes a kind of exploding shot designed to cause fire). He has suggested that they gamble that they can damage defeat the French if the privateer comes close enough to see that they have Yellow Jack on board by showing them the corpses. As the privateer comes along side, he orders everything fired. I won't ruin it by telling those who haven't read it, how it comes out.
                        Clearly, the master violated the tenth article of war by ordering his ship surrendered without putting up any resistance, not a single shot. Midshipman Lewrie disobeyed his order. Both would be liable to court martial. Both could be hanged for their offenses.
                        If you were a captain on those court-martial panels, how would you vote in each man's case and what would be your penalty?






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