Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Greatest Severity

On September 12, 1776, The New England Chronicle (Boston) reported details on the capture of General Nathaniel Woodhull by British Soldiers or “Regulars:”   

Since our Troops have evacuated Long-Island, the Tories and Regulars treat the Friends of their Country with the greatest severity.—Colonel Woodhull, late President of New-York Congress, for refusing to give up his side Arms, was wounded on the Head with a cutlass, and had a Bayonet thrust through his Arm.

The report was dated September 4, 1776 from New Haven, Connecticut. 
     Customarily, captured officers might retain some regalia of their office and mark of their rank, like the display of side arms.  In 1775, for instance, captured British officer Major Christopher French had freedom of movement on parole in
Hartford, Connecticut.  The major took umbrage when Hartford residents objected to him wearing his sword in public.     
     We learn from another account that Woodhull surrendered on condition of being treated as a gentleman.  Woodhull may have assumed that this condition allowed him to retain his side arms. 
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