Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day

   Colonel Ethan Allen, a captured American officer granted parole in British-occupied New York City in the winter of 1776-77, visited the American privates detained in the city.  The British confiscated most of the cities houses of worship to serve as prisons that winter. 
   Allen met prisoners dying of starvation, reduced to mere skeletons.  By such deprivation, British officers hoped to coerce the enlistment of American prisoners.  In his 1779 Narrative, Allen recalled, “The integrity of these suffering prisoners is hardly credible.  Many hundreds, I am confident, submitted to death, rather to enlist in the British service, which, I am informed, they most generally were pressed to do.”
   For more information, consult sources listed here.  For the compassion shown by the British public, consult the posts here.  May the reflection occasion by Memorial Day in the United States include a thought for those who suffered and perished while prisoners or from deprivation and sickness endured in captivity.  
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