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In this section of
Gaspee HistoryPage Up


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Go to
Gaspee Raiders
for biographical information on the Americans in the boats attacking the Royal Navy ship Gaspee.

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Books: American Colonial and Revolutionary War history or the people involved. We have suggestions for you.

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This is a history education and research web site of the
Joseph Bucklin Society.

References in brackets [  ] or in curly brackets {  } on any page in this website are to books, or other materials, listed in the Joseph Bucklin Society Gaspee Bibliography, or to materials held by the Joseph Bucklin Society.

An English Royal Navy sea captain was the subject of a court-martial if his ship was destroyed.

A court-martial is both a name for an institution and also for a process, A court-martial is a  military or naval court of officers appointed by a commander to try persons for offenses under military law.  It is also the trial by such a military tribunal.

In the 18th century, in the English Royal Navy, any Navy sea captain who lost his ship for whatever reason automatically was the subject of a court-martial.  One of the court-martials of the navy probably in Dudingston's mind was the 1757 court-martial of Admiral Byng.  Sent on the relief of Minorca without what he claimed were sufficient forces, he finally gave up the attempt.  Found guilty of neglect of duty, he was taken to his ship and publicly and promptly executed (by shooting) on the quarterdeck of his own  ship in Portsmouth Harbor.   Following that event, probably few English captains felt it proper to give up a ship without the death of much of the crew!

Lieutenant William Dudingston was reluctant to testify in any civil inquiry.  He wanted to only testify at his court-martial.   His fear of testifying, in any place his testimony could be used against him in a court martial,  was not without basis.

Use the links below to go to major areas of this site.

Summary of Attack ] Law as Weapon ] Theory of Attack ] Forensic History ] Attack Force ] Persons Involved ] Witnesses Said ] Post Gaspee Events ] JBS Library ]