Court-Martial of Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin

On March 10, 1778, Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin became the first U.S. soldier court-martialed for “attempting to commit sodomy” with another soldier.


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14 March 1778 – General Orders

His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence & Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Lieutt Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return

Gen. George Washington

15 March 1778 – Diary Entry

I this morning proceeded to the grand parade, where I was a spectator to the drumming out of Lieut. Enslin of Col. Malcom’s regiment. He was first drum’d from right to left of the parade, thence to the left wing of the army; from that to the centre, and lastly transported over the Schuylkill with orders never to be seen in Camp in the future. This shocking scene was performed by all the drums and fifes in the army—the coat of the delinquent was turned wrong side out

Lt. James McMichael