Tag: prisoners of war

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This Week on Dispatches: Tom Hogan on the Milford, Connecticut, Cartel

On this week’s Dispatches, host Brady Crytzer interviews historian and JAR contributor Tom Hogan on his research into the fate of the American prisoners known as the “Milford Cartel.” New episodes of Dispatches are available for free every Saturday evening (Eastern United States Time) on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Amazon Music, and the JAR Dispatches web site. Dispatches […]

by Editors
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The Milford Connecticut Cartel

As 1776 was ending, a group of about 225 American prisoners was released from the British prisons in New York City to be sent to Patriot-controlled New England.[1] Most of them were enlisted soldiers from Connecticut, but there were also a few from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and several officers.[2] They had so far survived the […]

by Tom Hogan
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Prisoners of the Bashaw

BOOK REVIEW: Prisoners of the Bashaw: The Nineteen-Month of American Sailors in Tripoli, 1803–1805 by Frederick C. Leiner (Yardley, PA: Westholme, 2022) As the dust jacket says, this is the story of “The Nineteen-Month Captivity of American Sailors in Tripoli, 1803-1805.” Frederick C. Leiner, a lawyer by profession, as well as an historian and author of […]

by William H. J. Manthorpe, Jr.
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Captain James Morris of the Connecticut Light Infantry

In 1812 when the British attacked the United States for the second time, Captain James Morris of the South Farms District of Litchfield, Connecticut, took quill to parchment to capture his six years of experiences during the Revolutionary War as an officer in Connecticut’s Light Infantry.[1] The light infantry was the battle-hardened, elite fighting force […]

by Chip Langston
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This Week on Dispatches: Travis Copeland on the Capture of North Carolina’s Governor Thomas Burke

On this week’s Dispatches, host Brady Crytzer interviews JAR contributor Travis Copeland on the capture of North Carolina’s Patriot governor Thomas Burke by Loyalists in the waning days of the American Revolution. New episodes of Dispatches are available for free every Saturday evening (Eastern United States Time) on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and the JAR Dispatches web site. […]

by Editors
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The Capture of North Carolina Governor Thomas Burke

When the vote came on Tuesday, July 26, 1781, before the House’s evening adjournment, it was Thomas Burke’s turn to hold the Executive office of North Carolina, beating out Samuel Johnson.[1] With the votes tallied, the legislature proclaimed to the Wake Court House in Raleigh that the, “the Honbl. Thomas Burke, Esquire” is requested in “attendance […]

by Travis Copeland
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This Week on Dispatches: Louis Arthur Norton on the Plight of the Seamen

On this week’s Dispatches, host Brady Crytzer interviews historian and JAR contributor Louis Arthur Norton on what happened to captured Continental Navy, states’ navies, and privateer sailors and officers when captured by the British. Most were interred onboard prison hulks where many perished, but others attempted to escape. New episodes of Dispatches are available for […]

by Editors
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Plight of the Seamen: Incarceration, Escape, or Secured Freedom

During the Revolutionary War, the British were particularly sensitive to challenges to their maritime sovereignty. Members of the Continental Navy, states’ navy sailors or letter of marque privateers, when taken prisoner, were usually interned onboard prison hulks moored in Wallabout Bay in New York harbor. Seamen captured far from North American shores were often incarcerated […]

by Louis Arthur Norton
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Ethan Allen’s “Motley Parcel of Soldiery” at Montreal

When Ethan Allen described his defeat and capture outside Montreal at Longue Pointe on September 25, 1775, he observed that “it was a motley parcel of soldiery which composed both parties.” The enemy included Canadian Loyalists, British regulars, Indian Department officers, and a few Native warriors. In the autobiographical A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen’s […]

by Mark R. Anderson
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Captives of Liberty: Prisoners of War and the Politics of Vengeance in the American Revolution

Captives of Liberty: Prisoners of War and the Politics of Vengeance in the American Revolution by T. Cole Jones (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020) In Captives of Liberty: Prisoners of War and the Politics of Vengeance in the American Revolution, T. Cole Jones provides an innovative study of the treatment of prisoners of war during […]

by Kelly Mielke
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This Week on Dispatches: Kevin A. Conn on the Remarkable Career of Loyalist Soldier and Spy James Moody

On this week’s Dispatches host Brady Crytzer interviews AP History teacher and JAR contributor Kevin A. Conn on the remarkable career of New Jersey Loyalist soldier and spy, James Moody, who carried out daring raids, was captured by Patriots and escaped, and ended up in England after the war. New episodes of Dispatches are available for […]

by Editors
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A Moonlighting British Army Surgeon

During the American War of Independence, the British Army officer corps routinely relegated its surgeons and physicians to a secondary status among its ranks. A few regimental surgeons made contributions to medical science, but the vast majority were relatively unknown both in their time and today.[1] American military doctors fared a bit better, but are mostly […]

by Gene Procknow
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What Killed Prisoners of War?—A Medical Investigation

Editor’s Note: This article contains graphic medical descriptions. Throughout the Revolutionary War, prisoners learned that dysentery accompanied starvation. Confined to the prison ship Jersey in 1781, Christopher Hawkins described rations “not sufficient to satisfy the calls of hunger.” In the next two sentences, Hawkins mentioned that “the bloody flux or dyssenterry” prevailed on the Jersey, from […]

by Brian Patrick O'Malley
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“Dispatch’t Him for America”: the Journal of Dr. Edmund Hagen, Privateer and Prisoner of War, Part 1 of 2

Edmund Hagen presumably never intended the publication of his daily journal of his 1776 stint as the surgeon on a successful, but ultimately ill-fated, privateer. But it is exactly the fact that his journal contemporaneously records what he at the time regarded as the important facts of the day, rather than retrospectively identifying important events […]

by Kadri Kallikorm-Rhodes
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Trading Generals

During the American Revolution, many players were removed from the chess board of war as a result of capture. From individual soldiers and sailors to entire armies, captives fell into the hands of the enemy, the largest numbers usually after defeats. Negotiations to repatriate these men varied from fairly successful to complete failures. In fact, […]

by William M. Welsch
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Rutland’s Rebellion: Defending Local Governance during the Revolution

Typically, countries at war do not detain enemy prisoners in the backyards of their citizens. During the Revolutionary War Britain’s soon-to-be independent North American colonies proved an exception to this rule. For the fledgling nation, the action was a matter of necessity, one which forced host towns across the colonies to confront the fight for […]

by Susan Brynne Long
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Giving Thanks: John Gridley’s Prayer Bill

Housed in the Medfield Historical Society is a rare collection of prayer bills containing the prayers of thanksgiving from Massachusetts soldiers and their families during the American Revolution. These commonplace slips of paper include fascinating stories and spiritual requests of ordinary Continental soldiers. One of these late-eighteenth-century prayer notes was written by a veteran named […]

by Roberto O. Flores de Apodaca
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This Week on Dispatches: Katie Turner Getty and the Notorious Prison Ship Jersey

In this week’s Dispatches host Brady Crytzer interviews JAR contributor and editorial board member Katie Turner Getty about a dark side of the American Revolution, the notorious prison hulk, HMS Jersey. Thousands of American prisoners—some as young as twelve—died daily aboard British prison ships, mostly from disease. Fortunately for historians, a number of survivors wrote […]

by Editors
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1776—The Horror Show

The British Army held New York City from 1776 to November 25, 1783. In prisoner exchanges, royal forces in New York periodically released prisoners of war who were “sickly and emaciated.” Sometimes the prisoners numbered a few dozen, sometimes a few hundred. In 1776, however, British military commander Lt. Gen. Sir William Howe released more […]

by Brian Patrick O'Malley
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Death Had Almost Lost Its Sting: Disease on the Prison Ship Jersey

“There, rebels, there is a cage for you.”[1] Forced to row under guard of British marines, a boatload of captured American sailors approached the forbidding black hulk of the old British warship, HMS Jersey. Nicknamed “The Hell Afloat,”[2] the Jersey and other decommissioned British warships were moored in Wallabout Bay, just off Brooklyn, New York, where […]

by Katie Turner Getty