Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gen. Charles Lee Taken Prisoner

     On Dec. 13, 1776, a party of British cavalry under Banastre Tarleton captured British-born American General Charles Lee. 
     In the Battle of Wexhaws (19 May 1780) in South Carolina, Tarleton's cavalry notoriously slaughtered wounded Americans on the field. Days after a brave stand by Stockbridge Indians against Tarleton's cavalry (31 Aug. 1778), a Bronx resident recalled finding the mutilated bodies of Indians, three of whom were killed after Tarleton's cavalry promised them protection if they surrendered.
     Tarleton evinced a bloodthirsty disposition in his pursuit of Lee.  In his 2004 book, Washington's Crossing, Brandies historian David Hackett Fischer quoted Tarleton's letter to his mother boasting that the menace of "instant death" and "fear of the sabre extorted great intelligence" from two captured American sentries and a light horseman.
     David Hackett Fischer, Washington's Crossing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), page 149; Lincoln Diamant, Yankee Doodle Days: Exploring the American Revolution (Fleischmanns, NY: Purple Mountain Press, 1996), page 141; Thomas F. DeVoe, "The Massacre of the Stockbridge Indians," Magazine of American History vol. 5 (1880): pages 187-194.
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