Congress has prepared sixty articles for the government of the officers and men in the navy. They have special reference to offenses committed against discipline, good order and morality, and the penalties attached to these and infractions of duty; the composition and powers of courts-martial and courts of inquiry, the sale or misuse of government property, the treatment of prize vessels and prisoners of war, the general conduct of all persons in the navy, etc.

Punishment With Death

The following offenses are punishable with death, and the code applies to all persons in the navy: Mutiny, disobedience of orders, striking a superior officer, murder, acting as a spy, intercourse with an enemy without leave, receiving secret messages from an enemy, desertion in time of war, deserting a trust, sleeping on watch, leaving a station without orders, willful stranding or injuring of a vessel, unlawful destruction of public property, striking his flag or treacherously yielding to an enemy, cowardice in battle, desert-ing duty in battle, neglecting orders to prepare for battle, neglecting to clear ship for action, or to join in attack when signal is made to give battle, failing to encourage the men to fight, failing to seek an encounter with an enemy when duty requires it, or failing to relieve and assist other vessels of the fleet or squadron when in battle.

Other Punishment

Courts-martial may adjudge the penalties of imprisonment for life, or for a stated term, at hard labor, and have jurisdiction in this respect over the offenses of profanity, falsehood, drunkenness, gambling, fraud, theft or other conduct tending to the destruction of good morals; cruelty, oppression; quarreling and fomenting quarrels; challenging or fighting duels, or acting as a second in a duel; contempt of superior offi-cerss seeking to form combinations against a commanding officer to weaken his authority; using mutinous words; neglect of orders; not endeavoring to prevent the destruction of public property; negligent stranding of any vessel of the navy; misconduct in convoying merchant or other vessels; receiving goods or merchandise for freight on board of a naval vessel without high authority; aiding or abetting in making false muster-roll; wasting public property; plundering or abusing citizens on shore; refusing to apprehend offenders or to receive prisoners; absence from duty without leave; violating general orders or regulations; desertion in time of peace; harboring deserters, etc.

Duties of commanders in active service are designated respecting accurate accounts of men transferred to and from their respective ships, showing their exact positions in the navy at the date of transfer; complete lists of the officers, men and passengers, sent quarterly to head-quarters; noting deaths and desertions on board ship; care of the property of deceased persons; inspection of provisions; the health of their crews; presence at the final payment of crews; promulgation of the articles for the government of the navy, etc., and liability to be court-martialed for neglect of these rules and restrictions.

What Constitutes A Court-Martial

Rules prescribe that no officer shall be dismissed from the service except by an order of the President, or by the sentence of a general court-martial. A general court-martial may be convened by the President, the Secretary of the Navy, or the commander-in-chief of a fleet or squadron. It consists of not more than thirteen nor less than five commissioned officers, not more than one-half of lower rank than the officer to be tried.

The Duty Of A Court-Martial

It is the duty of a court-martial, in all cases of conviction, to adjudge a punishment adequate to the nature of the offense. In a sentence to suffer death, two-thirds of the members must vote in favor of such sentence, or it cannot be inflicted; in all other cases, sentences are decided by a majority of the votes of the members. No sentence of a court-martial extending to the taking of life or to the dismissal of a commissioned or warrant-officer can be carried into execution until confirmed by the President. All other sentences may be carried into execution on confirmation of the commander of the fleet or officer ordering the court.

The Duty Of A Court Martial 491