To the Honorable, the supreme Legislative Body of the States of Massachusetts in General Assembly convened.
The representation of the President & members of a Court Martial for the Tryal of Dudley Saltonstall Esq. Captain in the American Navy begs leave to show
That whereas the Honorable the commissioners of the Navy Board Eastern Department by their Warrant bearing date the 7th of this Inst[ant] September did constitute a Court Martial for the Tryal of Dudley Saltonstall Esq. which Court was to be held on board the Deane Frigate Tuesday the 14th Inst[ant]. In consequence of which a number of citations were tried for evidence to appear as well in behalf of Dudley Saltonstall Esq. as on the part of the United States; which evidences duly summon ed gave their attendance accordingly, expecting that the Tryal would have gone through regular process___ But the Court having rec[eive]d a requisition from the Navy Board together with a Resolve of this Honorable House requesting an adjournment to the 28th Inst[ant] and taken the same into their consideration thought proper to adjourn accordingly.
Upon which adjournment to the 28th Inst[ant] Captain Saltonstall has made representation; that by this means he should be deprived of all Evidence in support of himself unless that some method could be pointed out to order the further attendance of the Evidences already summoned; which he conceived could not take place without an application to this Honorable House, whose extensive jurisdiction might retain them in Port__The greater part of them being ready for the Seas & Resolved to embrace the first wind.
Wherefore this Court Martial willing to show every Indulgence to Capt. Saltonstall, & wishing the whole of their proceedings might evince a spirit of impartiality; Beg leave to solicit the interference of this Honorable House, and earnestly to request that some means may be made use of to retain those Evidences within the limits of the Court
Not in the least doubting but that love of Justice & attention to candour which has always been characteristic of your proceedings will strongly plead to grant this Indulgence and that no difficulty may arise the Names of the Captains are herewith rendered in.
Captain Thom’s Carnes – Salem Sam’l Nicholson, President
“ Nath’l West – “in behalf of the Court
“Nathan Brown “
“Edmonds, Beverly- late Capt. of the Defense
“ Thomas Thomas, Newburyport
“ Alex’r Holmes – Boston
“ Will’m Burke – Boston
A true copy of the Original, examined
Petition of Court Martial
To the Assembly Mass: Bay
September 17, 1779
Due to the fact that the Naval Board trial was postponed, most of Saltonstall’s key witnesses were already at sea when the trial commenced. His witnesses were:
Thomas Jenner Carnes: Captain of the Marines in the Continental Marines. In the August 1 raid on the Half Moon Battery, he led the left column of marines that captured the battery, although it was recaptured the next day by the British.
Nathaniel West of Salem: Privateer Captain of BLACK PRINCE, owned by George Williams of Salem.
Nathan Brown of Salem: Captain of the privateer HUNTER, owned by Bartholomew Putnam.
John Edmonds of Beverly: Captain of the DEFENCE, owned by Andrew Cabot and Morris Brown of Beverly. The DEFENCE was sunk in Stockton Harbor during the Penobscot Expedition and in the 1970s, underwater archeologists excavated the wreck and the artifacts are now in the collection of the Maine State Museum.
Thomas Thomas of Newburyport: Captain of the privateer VENGEANCE and former commander of a local Rhode Island militia.
Alexander Holmes of Boston: Captain of the CHARMING SALLY, owned by William Erskine of Boston.
William Burke of Boston: Captain of the privateer SKYROCKET, owned by Ebenezer Parsons of Boston.