Friday, October 18, 2013

October 28 1779

     On Monday, November 1, 1779, two Boston newspapers reported the arrival of 238 American prisoners of war from British-occupied New York City.  The Independent Ledger, and the American Advertiser and The Boston Gazette, And The Country Journal reported a British exchange ship arrived in Massachusetts on Thursday, October 28.  The prisoners' voyage from New York to Boston lasted seven days.
     The prisoners "have been in captivity several months, and have been used very inhumanly" by Tory and British captors.  American successes in Georgia and possible fear of reprisals, however, "contributed greatly to abate their inhumanity."
     Most of the prisoners were Americans from "the Westward," that is, not from the New England states of the American northeast.  Even though two ships from Massachusetts waited in New York to exchange prisoners, British personnel insisted on sending to Massachusetts men from distant states, "in order more effectually to harrass them."*

*The report, identical in both papers, misspelled "harass" as "harrass;" it is not a difficult error to make.

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