Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 4.djvu/32

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CH. 1.

importance, could not appear; Captain Gordon turned against him, and expressed the free opinion that Barron had never meant to resist; Captains Murray, Hull, and Chauncey, on the court of inquiry, had already made a hostile report; and the government prosecutor pressed every charge with a persistency that, as coming from the Department, seemed almost vindictive.

From January 4 to February 8 the court-martial tried charges against Barron, after which it continued until February 22 trying Captain Gordon, Captain Hall of the marines, and William Hook the gunner. The result of this long, searching, and severe investigation was remarkable, for it ended in a very elaborate decision[1] that Barron was blameless in every particular except one. He had not been negligent of his duty; he was not to blame for omitting to call the crew to quarters before he received Captain Humphreys' letter; he did well in getting the men to quarters secretly without drum-beat; he did not discourage his men; he had shown coolness, reflection, and personal courage under the most trying circumstances; he was right in striking his flag when he did,—but he was wrong in failing to prepare for action instantly on reading Admiral Berkeley's order; and for this mistake he was condemned to suspension for five years from the service, without pay or emoluments.

Barron had argued that although his judgment on

  1. Court-martial, pp. 337-350.