Court-Martial record of Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin, March 10, 1778.

Court-Martial record of Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin

On March 10, 1778, Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin became the first U.S. soldier court-martialed for “attempting to commit sodomy” with another soldier. His sentence was to be literally drummed out of the Continental Army by its regiments’ fifes and drums. Enslin was told “never to return.”

More than 230 years after Enslin’s court martial, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people are now allowed to serve openly in the U.S. armed forces.

War Dept. Revolutionary War Records, National Archives and Records Administration.

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The “National Conversation on Rights and Justice” in Chicago is presented in part by AT&T, Ford Foundation, Seedlings Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust, and the National Archives Foundation.