COWARDICE. Pusillanimity; fear.
2. By the act for the better government of the navy of the United States, passed April 21, 1800, 1 Story, L. U. S. 761; it is enacted, art. 5, "every officer or private who shall not properly observe the orders of his commanding officer, or shall not use his utmost exertions to carry them into execution, when ordered to prepare for, join in, or when actually engaged in battle; or shall, at such time, basely desert his duty or station, either then, or while in sight of an enemy, or shall induce others to do so, every person so ofending, shall, on conviction thereof by a general court martial, suffer death, or such other punishment as the said court shall adjudge.
3. - Art. 6. "Every officer or private who shall, through cowardice, negligence, or disaffection, in the time of action, withdraw from, or keep out of battle, or shall not do his utmost to take or destroy every vessel which it is his duty to encounter, or shall not do his utmost ondeavor to afford relief to ships belonging to the United States, every such offender shall, on conviction thereof by a general court martial, suffer death, or such other punishment as the said court shall adjudge."
4. By the act for establishing rules and articles for the government of the armies of the United States, passed April 10, 1806, it is enacted, art. 52, " any officer or soldier, who shall mishehave himself before the enemy, run away, or shamefully abandon any fort, post, or guard, which he or they may be commanded to defend, or speak, words inducing others to do the like, or shall cast away his arms and ammunition, or who shall quit his post or colors to plunder and pillage, every such offender, being duly convicted thereof, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a general court martial."