United States vs. Harry Randles, Seaman, USS Brooklyn

The Brooklyn's muster roll notes that Randles was transfered to the Boston Navy Yard to carry out his sentence, from where he went AWOL 13 November 1864 per his rendezvous index card.

US Flag Ship Hartford
Off Mobile Bar
June 16th 1864

By virtue of authority in me vested a Naval General Court Martial is hereby ordered to convene on board the USS Brooklyn off Mobile Bar, on the eighteenth day of June, one thousand eight hundred and sixty four or as soon thereafter as practicable for the trial of Thomas S. Cassidy, Gunner of the USS Brooklyn and such others as may be brought before it.

The court will be composed of the following named officers:
Commander J. H. Strong
Lieut Comdr W. W. Low
Lieutenant T. C. Bower
Lieutenant Stephen A. McCarty
Lieutenant O. A. Batcheller
and Robt. D. Bogart is hereby appointed Judge Advocate

D. G. Farragut
Rear Admiral
Comd'g W. G. B. Squadron

I certify the foregoing to be a true copy
Robt. D. Bogart, Judge Advocate

USS Brooklyn
10 AM 21st June 1864

Court met pursuant to adjournment and took up the case of Harry Randles, Seaman of the USS Brooklyn

Present: James W. Strong
Lt. Commander W. W. Low
Lieutenant F. C. Bowen
Lieutenant Steph. A. McCarty
Lieutenant O. A. Batcheller
Robt. D. Bogart, Judge Advocate
and the accused Harry Randles, seaman.

Names of members were called over by seniority and order for convening the court read. Charge and specifications were then read and accused was asked if he objected to any member of the Court.

Upon a negative answer being given the oath required by law was duly administered by the President to the Judge Advocate and by the Judge Advocate to the members of the Court in the presence of the accused.

Charge and specification were then read and the Judge Advocate addressing the accused said "Randles, you have heard the charge preferred against you, how say you, guilty or not guilty?"

The accused said "not guilty."

Evidence for the prosecution was then taken.

Boatswain Charles A. Brogdon of the USS Brooklyn, a witness for the prosecution, being duly sworn and the charge being read, deposed as follows:

The Brooklyn was lying at the buoy off the Navy Yard at New York. The date of the occurrence I do not exactly remember although I think it was about the thirteenth of April. I took the accused on shore with me to do some work in the Navy Yard. After I had gotten through the work and ready to come off to the ship, I turned my back for a moment and when I looked for him he was missing. I went up to the gate to inquire for him and the Sergeant of the Guard informed me that a man answering to his description had been passed out of the yard by an Acting Master of the Pensacola on pretense that he belonged to that ship and he told me it was useless to look any further for him.

I returned on board the ship and reported his absence to the officer of the deck and the executive officer likewise. That evening I reported to the executive officer that I thought I could find him. He gave me an order to go and see if I could find him and return him on board. I went to New York and requested the aid of the Deputy Marshall. He came with me and we looked until about half past eleven o'clock that night when we found the accused in a house on Cherry Street. I gave him in charge of the Marshall and we returned him to the Navy Yard and gave him in charge of the Sergent at the gate. Next morning between eight and nine o'clock we took him from the guard house and brought him on board ship.

The court and accused having no questions to ask, the testimony was read over to the witness and by him pronounced correct.

Lieut. Comd'r E. P. Lull of the USS Brooklyn a witness for the prosecution being duly sworn and the charge read deposed as follows:

About the thirtieth of April 1864 I authorized the Boatswain to take the accused and one other man to do some work in the Navy Yard at New York. The Brooklyn then lying off that yard. Upon the Boatswain's return on board he reported that the accused had left him and that he was not able to find him in the Yard. I directed him to go on shore and employ the police and attempt to find the accused. The following morning the accused was brought on board, having been arrested by the police. I afterwards authorized the payment of thirty dollars for his apprehension. The accused acknowledged to me himself that he had left the yard without authority.

The court had no questions to ask. Accused was asked if he had any to put to the witness.


Question by Accused: Will you please state to the court how you have been impressed with my conduct since I have been a prisoner at large?

Answer: I have seen but little of the accused since then. I have always been favorably impressed with his conduct - so much that before his action I had placed him in the position of a Captain of the Fore Top.

The testimony was then read over the witness and by him pronounced correct.

The Judge Advocate here announced the prosecution closed.

Boatswain Charles A. Brogdon a witness for the prosecution was, by request of the accused, recalled.

Question by the Accused: When arrested by the policeman did I return with him cheerfully or did I offer any resistance?

Answer: No, the accused came without resistance.

Question by the Accused: What has been my general character before and after this occurrence?

Answer: It has been very good. I can not complain of it.

Accused having no more witnesses asked for time to prepare his defense.

The Court therefore took a recess until 2 PM for that purpose.

Court reassembled at 2 PM.

Present all the members, Judge Advocate and accused.

The accused presented and the Judge Advocate read the written defense appended to these proceedings.

The statements of the parties being thus in possession of the Court, the Court was cleared for deliberation and after maturely considering the evidence adduced do find the accused Harry Randles, Seaman of the USS Brooklyn

Of the specification: Proven
Of the charge: guilty

and the Court do therefore sentence the said Harry Randles to be confined at hard labor in such prison or penitentiary as the Honorable Secretary of the Navy shall direct for three years; to forfeit all pay and prize money due or to become due him and to receive a dishonorable discharge from the service at the expiration of the term of confinement. Sentence to be read on board of all vessels in commission in the Navy.

Commander J. H. Strong
Lieut Comdr W. W. Low
Lieutenant T. C. Bower
Lieutenant Stephen A. McCarty
Lieutenant O. A. Batcheller
Robt. D. Bogart, Judge Advocate

In consequence of the recommendation of the Court of the general good character of the accused, two years of the sentence is hereby remitted and the rest of the sentence approved.

D. G. Farragut
Rear Admiral commanding
June 23, 1864

In consequence of the general good character born by the accused, the Court are unanimous in respectfully recommending him to the favorable consideration of the Rear Admiral commanding as deserving of clemency.

Commander J. H. Strong
Lieut Comdr W. W. Low
Lieutenant T. C. Bower
Lieutenant Stephen A. McCarty
Lieutenant O. A. Batcheller
Robt. D. Bogart, Judge Advocate

The Court then adjourned until 10 AM tomorrow the 22nd inst.
R. D. Bogart, Judge Advocate

Charge and Specification of Charge preferred by Rear Admiral D. G. Farragut, comd'g W.G.B. Squadron, against Harry Randles, seaman, serving on board the USS Brooklyn

Charge: Desertion

Specification: In this that on or about the thirtieth day of April, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, the said Harry Randles, seaman serving on board the USS Brooklyn, the said steamer then lying off the Brooklyn Navy Yard, did, while duty in the said yard, desert, and did not return until he was arrested by the police and brought on board the USS Brooklyn on the day following.

D. G. Farragut
Rear Admiral, comd'g
W. G. B. Squadron

Chas. A. Brogdon, Boatswain
Lieut. Comdr. E. P. Lull

To the Gentlemen of the Court

I can only plead in extenuation of the offense with which I am charge, the absence of any inhibition on my part to desert. I am aware that the mere assertion of this can have but very little weight with the court, but as I can not prove it, I can do nothing more than say it in my defense.

As an evidence, I would state that the house in which I was found was one in which I have lived for more than four years. Had I intended to desert would I have been likely to have gone to a place where everyone knew I was most apt to be found?

I would also state to the Court that I have already been in irons for thirty days for this offense and although I do not question the legality of second punishment, I can not but think that I have suffered quite sufficient for the crime. Upon my release from irons, I was assured by the executive officer that my being before a Court Martial depended upon my further conduct. Since then I have been zealous in the performance of my duty and have tried in every way to conduct myself properly.

How well I have succeeded I will leave for the Court to judge from the evidence of both witnesses for the prosecution.

I would further state that I have been trusted with arms and ammunition and have been assigned duties of a responsible nature since my release seemingly with the utmost confidence on the part of my superior officers.

In conclusion I trust that the court will deal with me as leisurely as justice will allow and with that hope I throw myself at its mercy.

Harry Randles.