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by no means equal to the execution of the office, or the »777, disaffection of the people is past all belief. The change in that department took place contrary to my judgment, and the consequences thereof were predicted.—No man ever had his measures more impeded than I have, by every department of the army. Since the month of July we have had no assistance from the quarter master general, and to want of assistance from this department the commissary general charges great part of his deficiency. We have by a field return this day, no less than 2898 men in camp unfit for duty, because they are barefoot and otherwise naked.—Our whole strength in continental troops, (including the eastern brigades, which have joined us since, the surrender of Burgoyne) exclusive of the Maryland troops sent to Wilmington, is no more than 8200 in camp fit for duty.—Since the fourth our number fit, through hardships, particularly on account of blankets (numbers have been, and still are obliged to sit up all night by fires, instead of taking comfortable rest in a common way) have decreased near two thousand men.—Upon the ground of safety and policy, I am obliged to conceal the true state of the army from public view, and thereby expose myself to detraction and calumny.—There is as much to be done in preparing for a campaign, as in the active part of it." Gen. Mifflin in a letter of October the eighth, had represented to congress, that his health was so much impaired, and the probability of a recovery so distant, that he thought it his duty to return to them their commissions to him of major general and quarter master general. While the army was suffering as above related for want of shoes, &c. hogsheads of shoes, stockings and
i ^7-clothing, were at different places, upon the road ahd iff the woods, lying and perishing, for want' of teams, and" proper management, and money" to pay the"teamsters.
Nothing great has happened in the neighbourhood of New York, since the return of the troops under gen. Vaughan from their expedition up the North river: Bus it may'not displease you to read the following particulars': Ohthe 18th'of November, gen. Trydn ferft/about? too men under capt. Emmerick to bum some houses, carPhTllips's manor, Within abbot1 four mile's' of gen. Pafforrs's guards. They effected it With circUmstanceY • of' barbarity, stripping the clothing'off the women' and' children, and turning them almost naked into the streets' iff a most severely cold night. The men were' made' prisoners, and led with halters about their necks, with' rio othef clothes* thin their' shirts and breeches, in trii u'mpH to the BYitistf lines. A'few days after Parsons Wrote* to Trybrf upon the occasion, expostulating with"' ham upon' the business, and told him, That he could'' dettrby'the house's and buildings of col. Phillips and those belonging to the l3elancey family, each as near their lines a* the buildings destroyed were to his guards'; that notwithstanding all their vigilance, the destruction could' nbt be prevented j and that it was not fear of want of opportunity, but a fense of the injustice' ahd savageness" of such aiine of conduct, that hid hitherto saved-the' building;!; Tryon answered from:Kingsbridge(:oh the* 23d,: and said among other things, "Sir, could I'pdfsibly conceivcmyself accountable' to any revolted-subjects of the king of Great Britain, I might answer''ybtir* letter of yesterday respecting the conduct' of cabs.' ErtiiiSirick?S-party upon the taking of Peter and Cofrielrus'' .- '-' '' Van
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Vantassel. As-much as Is abhor every principle of1 ist-ito'j. humanity or ungenerous conduct, I should, were Is in1 more authority, burn every committee man's houses within my reach, as I deem them the wicked' instruments of the continued calamities of this country; andin order the sooner to purge this colony of them; Pam willing to give twenty silver dollars for every acting committee man who shall be delivered up to the king's troops."1 The stinging repartee made to this letter was' contained in an expedition undertaken immediately after to Greenwich, about three miles from New York, where a, small party arrived in the evening, advanced to Mr; Oliver1 Delancey's house, secured the sentry, difmisied a few ladies in peace, though rather hastily, made a few men' prisoners, burnt the house, occasioned the firing of the' alarm guns in New York, then crossed the river and got safe off.
New York reminds me-of the American prisoners- :, confined in that city, and in Philadelphia. In the course of-letters that passed between gens. Howe and Washington, the former alluded to the cases of'royal prisoners of war being injuriously and unjustifiably loaded with irons. The latter, in one of November the 14th, says—"If there is a single instance of-a prisoner of'war being in irons, I am ignorant of it, nor'can Ifind on the most minute inquiry, that there is the least foundation" for the' charge. I wish you to particularize the cases you allude to, that relief may be had, if the complaints are well-founded.: Now we are upon the subject of grieve ances, I am constrained to observe, that I have a variety of accounts-, not'only from prisoners who have made their escape* but from-persons-who have left Philadel>r
i777*phia, that our private soldiers in your hands, are treated in a manner shocking to humanity, and that many of them must have perished through hunger, had it not been for the charitable contributions of the inhabitants. It is added in aggravation, that this treatment is t6 oblige them to inlist in the corps you are raising. I must also remonstrate against the cruel treatment and confinement of our officers. This I am informed is not only the cafe of those in Philadelphia, but of many in New York* Many of the cruelties exercised toward prisoners are said to proceed from the inhumanity of Mr. Cunningham, provost martial, without your knowledge or approbation. I transmit the depositions of two persons of reputation, who are come from Philadelphia, respecting the treatment they received. I will not comment upon the subject. It is too painful." Howe particularized by saying—" Major Stockdon, and other officers of the New Jersey volunteers, were put in irons at Princeton. The major and captain of that regiment were marched out of that place, under guard and hand-cuffed together." Washington rejoined—" When major Stockdon was first captured, I believe that he and one or two officers taken with' him, suffered the treatment which you mention. This was without my privity or consent; as soon as I was apprized of it, relief was ordered. But.surely this event, which happened so long ago, will not authorize the charges in your letter of the sixth."
On the ioth of December, all the American officers were removed from the ships back to Long-ifland, from whence they had been taken and carried on board. The inhabitants received them in again, upon Mr. Lewis Pentard's engaging to pay for them at the rate of two.
hard dollars per week. There were 250 of them. He 1777* acted for Mr. Boudinot. Had he not engaged, their former board hot having been paid for, they would have been returned to the ships. All the privates there have been clothed by him. He observed when informing his principal of these particulars—" The privates should have a little fresh beef, especially the convalescents, who on leaving the hospitals are put to salt meat, and relapse immediately' the consequence of whidh is, they are dying very fast. I advise sending in weekly a quantity" of fresh provision for their consumption."
The hoard of war had a conference with Mr. Boudinot, the commissary general of prisoners, at York Town on the 21st of December, and after having carefully examined the evidences produced by him, agreed upon reporting, beside other matters—" That there are about 900 privates, and 300 officers in the city of New York, and about 500 privates and 50 officers in Philadelphia: *—That the privates in New York Tiave been crowded all summer in sugar houses, and the officers boarded on . Long-island, except about 30, who have been confined in the provost guard and in the most loathsome jails:—* That since the beginning of October all these prisoners, both officers and privates, have been confined in prison ships, or the provost:—That the privates in Philadelphia have been kept in two public jails, and the officers in the state house :—That, from the best evidence which the nature of the subject will admit of, the general allowance of prisoners at most does not exceed four ounces of meat, and as much bread (often so damaged as not to be eatable) per day, and often much less, though the professed allowance is from eight to ten ounces :-— Vol. III. C That