The Minute Book
Sunday, 2 April 2017

Court of Enquiry---Cornwall (1866)
Topic: Discipline

But while expressing his strong condemnation of such unsoldierlike conduct, His Excellency must remark that if the general discipline of the administrative battalion had been better, such a discreditable occurrence would probably not have taken place.

Militia General Orders

Headquarters Ottawa, 10th August 1866

General Orders Volunteer Militia

Court of Enquiry—Cornwall

No. 1.

The proceedings of a Court of Enquiry, lately assembled at Cornwall, to investigate the circumstances connected with a disturbance which broke out in camp at that place, have been forwarded by the Major General Commanding to His Excellency, the Commander in Chief, who is pleased to order the publication of the following remarks:

It is clear from the evidence that the discipline of the administrative battalion at Cornwall was by no means creditable.

1.     One non-commissioned officer states that he had been drinking in the canteen with two of the officers. If such was the habit in the battalion, it is not surprising that the officers had little influence over the men under their command; for it is one which is certain to destroy all discipline.

2.     Another evidence states that he was kept on sentry from six p.m. on the 3rd until three a.m. next morning, that is to say for nine consecutive hours.

3.     Lt.-Col. Hawkes states in his evidence, as the reason of not being able to discover the men who fired their rifles on the night of the 3rd July, that the rifles had been fired with blank ammunition on the morning of the 3rd July. That is to say, Lt.-Col. Hawkes allowed his men to return their rifles to the arms racks after firing without having cleaned them. This is most discreditable, and it is little surprising that the rifles in the hands of the volunteers should become worthless, if such a practice is permitted by the Lt.-Colonel of a battalion of volunteers, who has had considerable experience in the regular service.

The evidence given before the Court is very conflicting, but it tends to show that shots were fired by both the Ottawa Volunteers and men of the Hochelaga Regiment. But while expressing his strong condemnation of such unsoldierlike conduct, His Excellency must remark that if the general discipline of the administrative battalion had been better, such a discreditable occurrence would probably not have taken place.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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