The Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board

Chrisman's Battalion

Note: This occurred just before Chrisman's Battalion became part of Dobbin's Arkansas Cavalry.

Head Quarters District of Arkansas,
Little Rock, Ark., April 23, 1863.

General Orders, No. 17.

I. Before the military court, appointed by the President, to attend Lieutenant-General T. H. Holmesí corps, under Act of October 9, 1862, providing for the appointment of military courts, to attend to the Army, and of which Colonel Trusten Polk is presiding judge, were arraigned:

1. Captain Geo. W. Rutherford, Co. C, Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S.

Charge I. Positive and willful disobedience of orders.

Specification 1st: In this, that the said Capt. Geo. W. Rutherford, commanding Company C, Major Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S., on or about March 3, 1863, at Camp Massey, Arkansas, being ordered by his superior officer, Major F. M. Chrisman, commanding Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S., to make a correct report to him of all horses and money, both counterfeit and genuine, and all other effects whatsoever, that had been handed over to him, and that had been taken from soldiers, citizens or speculators, while he, the said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford, was in command of said battalion, during the absence of said Major F. M. Chrisman, which occurred in the month of February, 1863, and also to make a correct report of the disposition that had been made of such prisoners as had fallen into the hands of Captain Geo. W. Rutherford, while in command of said battalion, during the absence of said Major F. M. Chrisman, did fail, and positively and willfully refuse, to obey said order.

Specification 2nd: In this, that on or about March 4, 1863, at Camp Massey, Arkansas, said Major F. M. Chrisman, commanding Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S., ordered the assistant quartermaster of the battalion to proceed to find and retain in his possession, the horses and other articles taken from prisoners, whilst said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford was in command of the battalion, and during the absence of said Major F. M. Chrisman, which occurred in the month of February, 1863, and that said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford did fail, and positively refuse to obey said order, when the same was exhibited by said quartermaster.

Charge II. Striking and abusing a commissioned officer, in the execution of his office and duty.

Specification: In this, that on or about March 3, 1863, at Camp Massey, First Lieutenant Rufus Stone, acting adjutant of Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S., being ordered by his commanding officer, Major F. M. Chrisman, of said battalion, to go and require from said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford, commanding Company C, Chrismanís battalion, a tent belonging to said Major F. M. Chrisman; that, when Lieutenant Stone went for said tent, said Capt. Geo. W. Rutherford asked, ďIt is Major Chrismanís orders?Ē, to which he replied, ďIt is,Ē when said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford used these words and others in like import, ďYou are a liar and a scoundrel,Ē seized him by the collar, and about the same time struck him with a camp stool, and, presenting a pistol to his breast, threatened his life.

Charge III. Theft of property.

Specification: In this, that on or about February 28, 1863, in Woodruff county, Arkansas, a prisoner, to wit: one Richardson, was brought into camp, said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford then being in command of Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S., during the absence of said Major F. M. Chrisman, and that the said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford, then and there, with force and arms, did feloniously take from said prisoner a watch and eleven hundred (1100) dollars in coin, the private property of said prisoner, and fraudulently carry away said watch and coin, and convert the same to his own use against the consent of Richardson, and the peace and dignity of the State of Arkansas.

Charge IV. Conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline.

Specification: In this, that on about February 25, 1863, in Woodruff county, Arkansas, two prisoners, citizens of Augusta, Arkansas, to wit: one Simons and one Davis, were brought with their horses into camp, while Captain Geo. W. Rutherford was in command of Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S., and during the absence of Major F. M. Chrisman, and that said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford seized and appropriated said horses without any return thereof to the quartermaster or the commanding officer, Major F. M. Chrisman, aforesaid.

Charge V. Contemptuous behavior towards his commanding officer.

Specification: In this, that said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford, commanding Company C, Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S., did, on March 3, 1863, write and send to his commanding officer, Major F. M. Chrisman, Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S., an insulting and vulgar letter of the following report, to wit: That said Major Chrisman should furnish said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford for his accommodation and use, a certain night glass; and further, in this, that when Major F. M Chrisman placed said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford under arrest, and took his side arms, on or about the date aforesaid, said Captain Rutherford used these words or others of import, to wit: That it would not be well for Major Chrisman to go into a fight with him, that his hide would not hold shucks, and that he wanted Major Chrisman to give his pistol to the meanest and most degraded man in his company, that he would rather him have it, than Major Chrisman.

Charge VI. Breach of arrest.

Specification: In this, that the said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford, commanding Company C, Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S., whilst under arrest at Camp Massey, Arkansas, by order of his superior officer, did, on or about March 9, 1863, leave his place of confinement, and ride out from said camp, before being set at liberty, and without the permission of Major F. M. Chrisman, Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S., his commanding officer, and against his order.

Charge VII. Neglect of duty.

Specification: In this, that the said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford, commanding Company C, Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S., on or about January 12, 1863, captured a claybank mare from the Federals, near Helena, Arkansas, and that said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford has neglected to account for property to the Confederate government, or any officer thereof, but, on the contrary, send said mare to his brother-in-law, in Jackson county, Arkansas, to be there kept for the private advantage of Captain Geo. W. Rutherford.

Verdict:

Of the 1st specification of 1st chargeóGuilty.
Of the 2nd specification of 1st chargeóGuilty.
Of the 1st chargeóGuilty.
Of the specification of 2nd chargeóGuilty.
Of the 2nd chargeóGuilty.
Of the specification of 3rd chargeóNot guilty.
Of the 3rd chargeóNot guilty; but the court finds that Captain Geo. W. Rutherford has possession of certain money and other property, taken from one Richardson, a captured prisoner, to wit: between eleven and twelve hundred dollars in gold coin and a quantity of notes of the Confederate States, amount unknown to the court, and also a gold watch with its chain, which Confederate property the court adjudge the said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford to deliver over to the chief quartermaster of the District of Arkansas.
Of the specification of 4th chargeóNot guilty.
Of the 4th chargeóNot guilty.
Of the 1st allegation of specification of 5th chargeóGuilty.
Of the 2nd allegation of specification of 5th chargeóNot guilty.
Of the 5th chargeóGuilty.
Of the specification of 6th chargeóThe fact proven, but not with guilty intent, and therefore, not guilty.
Of the 6th chargeóNot guilty.
Of the specification of 7th chargeóNot guilty.
Of the 7th chargeóNot guilty.

Sentence:

The said Captain Geo. W. Rutherford, commanding Company C, Chrismanís Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry, P.A.C.S., to be suspended from his command for the period of one month, and from the pay and emoluments of his office for the period of six months, and if he should not have complied with the foregoing order for the delivery of the aforesaid coins, Confederate notes and watch with its chain to the chief quartermaster of the District of Arkansas within the period of the aforesaid suspension from his command, that he be further suspended from his command until he shall have delivered over said coin, Confederate notes, and watch and chain to said chief quartermaster.

By command of Lieutenant-General Holmes.

S. S. ANDERSON,
Assistant Adjutant-General.