Pennsylvania Volunteers
in the Spanish-American War

1898-1899

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PA Spanish-American War

Court-Martial of a PA soldier, Weller E. Stover
First Lieutenant, Company C, Eighth PA Infantry

Tale of a Typewriter

A typewriter belonging to the commonwealth of Pennsylvania was the innocent cause of a court-martial of one of Uncle Sam's commissioned officers. First Lieutenant Weller E. Stover , Company C, Eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, of Chambersburg, had been, prior to his enlistment, instructor at the Scotland Soldiers' Orphan Industrial School of Stenography and Typewriting.

While his regiment was at Camp Alger he was appointed Acting Adjutant, and borrowed from Gen. Frank J. Magee, the superintendent of the school, the typewriting machine to facilitate the work of that office. After the troops had been removed to Camp Meade, the Lieutenant declined promotion to the position of adjutant, and John G. Gilbert, a Harrisburg lawyer, succeeded him.

Stover returned to his company, and, as the Scotland School authorities had need of and asked for the return of the typewriter, he arranged to send it to the consulting General Gobin, Vice President of the Orphan School Commission, in relation thereto. The new adjutant, desiring the use of the machine in making out his pay roll, sent an orderly to Stover for it, telling him it was to be sent home. Stover refused to deliver. Then the orderly returned with an order from Colonel Hoffman for the machine, to receive the same answer.

The next order put Stover under arrest, and took his sword from him. The charge against him was violation of No. 21 of the Articles of War, the maximum penalty for which is death. The court-martial extended over three days, and General Gobin was called for the plaintiff, but proved the best witness for the defense. Lieutenant Stover was his own counsel. He was acquitted, and went again on duty. The typewriter was again at the Scotland School.


Source: Thrilling Stories of the War by Returned Heroes, Young, Hon. James Rankin, 1899





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