ARTICLE: COURTS-MARTIAL IN THE LEGION ARMY: AMERICAN MILITARY LAW IN THE EARLY REPUBLIC, 1792-1796. Skip over navigation
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Military Law Review

ARTICLE: COURTS-MARTIAL IN THE LEGION ARMY: AMERICAN MILITARY LAW IN THE EARLY REPUBLIC, 1792-1796.

Spring, 1994

144 Mil. L. Rev. 77

Author

BRADLEY J. NICHOLSON *

Excerpt

I. Introduction

From 1792 until his death in 1796, Major General Anthony Wayne was Commander-in-Chief of the Legion Army. The Legion was the major force of the United States Army, assembled to attack and defeat the Indian tribes along the northwestern frontier of the United States -- a region that ultimately would become the states of Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Two previous campaigns had ended in disaster, and it was left to General Wayne, a Revolutionary War hero, to drive back the Indians and to make the frontier safe for further expansion. The campaign began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where General Wayne assumed command in 1792. He trained the soldiers in his tactics, led them down the Ohio River to Cincinnati, Ohio, and then north toward Detroit, Michigan, then a British outpost. The four-year campaign culminated in victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, just south of Detroit. This article reviews the nature of early American military law as reflected in the court-martial records of that campaign.

Military law in the Legion reflected the need for discipline in an Army that twice had failed to subdue the Indian presence on the northwestern border of the young nation. "Another conflict with the savages with raw recruits is to be avoided at all means," Secretary of War Knox wrote to General Wayne. 1 General Wayne's orders were to whip the Army into shape, quite literally if necessary, and to create an effective and disciplined fighting force out of inexperienced young soldiers ...
 
 
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