Saturday, December 31, 2011

January 1, 1777: Hessians

On January 1, 1777, George Washington wrote to Congressmen Robert Morris, George Clymer and George Walton, "The future and proper disposition of the Hessian Prisoners, struck me in the same light in which you view it, for which Reason I advised the Council of Safety to seperate them from their Officers, and canton them in the German Counties."

Agreeing with the Congressmen's recommendations of December 28, 1776, Washington explained, "If proper pains are taken to convince them, how preferable the Situation of their Countrymen, the Inhabitants of those Counties is to theirs, I think they may be sent back in the Spring, so fraught with a love of Liberty and property too, that they may create a disgust to the Service among the remainder of the foreign Troops and widen that Breach which is already opened between them and the British."

On December 29, 1776, Washington expressed his wish to the Pennsylvania Council of Safety that the captured Hessian officers "may have such principles instilled into them during their Confinement, that when they return, they may open the Eyes of their Countrymen, who have not the most cordial Affection for their English fellow Soldiers."
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