Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 14: Prisoners in Halifax

On October 15, 1778, a writer in Boston, Massachusetts reported a cartel or exchange vessel that carried prisoners returning from British custody in Canada: "Yesterday afternoon arrived here, a cartel from Halifax, with 400 unfortunate American prisoners, who have long been starving in their gaols, and on board guard ships."  

The Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser (Philadelphia), 27 October 1778.  Any suffering of American prisoners in Canada was not the fault of the Canadian people.  Canadians were generous to American soldiers who arrived in the country early in the war, as Thomas A. Desjardin wrote in Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec, 1775.  When Americans suffered in jails and prison ships in Canada, it was the fault of British military officers.  For the 1778 report from Boston, please visit the database 
Early American Newspapers.  
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