Tag Archives: George Washington

Gay History - March 10, 1778: First Gay Solider Court Martialed At Valley Forge

Gay History – March 10, 1778: Meet Lt. Frederick Gotthold Enslin. The First Soldier Court Martialed At Valley Forge For Being Gay

Gen. George Washington’s general orders for March 14, 1776 at Valley Forge, PA., included the following description of a court martial that occurred on the 10th. of one Lt. Frederick Gotthold Enslin.

In March 1778, Enslin was brought to trial before a court-martial. According to General Washington’s report: “…Lieutt. Enslin of ColoMalcolm’s Regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy …” Washington’s secretary continues to describe the results of the trial: “His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence & Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Lieut. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning…

“At a General Court Martial whereof Colo Tupper was President (10th March 1778) Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier; Secondly For Perjury in swearing to false Accounts, found guilty of the charges exhibited against him being breaches of 5th. Article 18th. Section of the Articles of War and do sentence him to be dismiss’d  the service with Infamy. His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Lieutt. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning [March 15] by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return; the Drummer and Fifers to attend on the Grand Parade at Guard mounting for that Purpose”

Lt. Frederick Gotthold Enslin is strongly believed to be the first person to be forced out of the U.S. Army on charges of homosexual behavior.

*Source: General George Washington, March 14, 1776, General Orders. Library of Congress’s American Memory Project online here.