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Frederick Gotthold Enslin was the focus of one of three possible cases of sodomy documented in the Continental Army under General George Washington. The case began with a charge against an ensign for slander against another soldier. At Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in February 1778, Ensign Anthony Maxwell was brought before a court-martial charged with "propogating a scandalous report prejudicial to the character of Lieutt. Enslin." The Ensign was ultimately acquitted of the charge. In March 1778, Lieut. Enslin was brought to trial before a court-martial. According to General Washington's report: "...Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcolm's Regiment tried for attempting to commit Sodomy ..." Washington's secretary continues to describe the results of the trial in negative, descriptive terms: "His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence & Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Lieutt. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning...." It seems that Ensign Maxwell had witnessed Lieut. Enslin in bed with another soldier. There is no record of the sentence ever being carried out, nor what happened to the dismissed Lieutenant.


  • [1], William Benemann, Male-Male Intimacy in Early America: Beyond Romantic Friendships Haworth Press, 2006 ISBN 1560233451


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