The Life of John Kalb Major General in the Revolutionary Army

Cover of book The Life of John Kalb Major General in the Revolutionary Army
Categories: Nonfiction

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condemned to death a deserter who, after having sold his uniform in a foreign country, had returned to France, and been arrested. A minority of the judges dissented, and voted for the gauntlet, on the ground that capital punishment was only incurred where the deserter was arrested out of the kingdom. On the 20th of August, 1751, Kalb submitted the case to the minister of war, Count d' Ar- genson, who, on 21st of September, decided in favor of the milder sentence, on the ground of the ordinances of the regiment. The independent jurisdiction of the regimental court- martials often led to the most intolerable abuses. In the absence of a regular course of procedure, particularly in police matters, the accused was often exposed to the arbitrary crnelty of narrow-minded judges. Kalb did what he could to redress these grievances, and corresponded with the officers of detail of all the other German regiments in the service, with the view of approximating harmony in the distribution of punishments. Thus, for instance, it was the rule with most of the regiments, that public women detected in the barracks fell under the jurisdiction of the colonel. The latter usually had them publicly whipped by the very soldiers in whose company they had been caught. It was revolting to the men to be made the instruments of such a chastisement, and they often vented their aversion to so sudden an exchange of the functions of a paramour for those of the beadle, in acts of flagrant insubordination. On one occasion of this kind in Nancy, in 1748, three grenadiers were hung for mutiny. Though unsuccessful in his efforts to bring about the total abolition of this degrading punishment, Kalb at least effected the dispensation of the men of his own regiment from being the instruments of it.4 No...

The Life of John Kalb Major General in the Revolutionary Army
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