George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Huntington, 12 January 1781

Philadelphia January 12. 1781


Your Excellency will be informed by the enclosed Copies No 1 & 2 of the 8th Inst: that Brigadier General Hand is appointed Adjutant General—And also of the Measures Congress have adopted to procure Speice for the Use of the Prisoners in New York & its Vicinity.

I have also enclosed the Deposition of George Bateman Batterman No. 3, giving an Account of the Manner in which our People Prisoners with the Enemy are treated. I have the Honor to be with the highest respect & Esteem Sir your most obedient & most humble Servant

Sam. Huntington President

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


19 December 1780

The deposition of George Batterman passenger on board the brigantine Providence from Turks Island bound to Rhode Island of lawful age testifies and declares that he was captured the fifteenth of September last by the Intrepid a sixty four gun Ship belonging to the british King commanded by James Anthony [ illegible Mewloy] whom with his own hands took every stitch of Cloths the prisoners brought on board and shoved them overboard on purpose to distress them or they were of no servise to him and on the 28th of said month put on board of the prison Ship at New York where we were served about eight ounces of condemned Bread per day and about eight ounces of meat per Week from thence transported on board the Jersey a sixty four gun Ship where there was supposed to be eleven hundred Americans on board when we were told that we were now in a Kings Ship and that if we ran away that we should be brought to the gangway and floged according to the Articles of War where we were supplied with the same quantity of bread and Meat though neither of them fit to eat. And after we were on board there a few days there came on board recruiting Officers and finding that our Officers perswaded our people not to inlist or enter into their service they came on board and told all the officers that they should give their Names to be exchanged. The day following there came on board several boats and took them on shore where we were informed they were sent to the provost then telling the people that they never would be exchanged. They inticed them to [lish] after they found that this scheme would not take They took a new method made another draught of Officers and sent them on board of the Yarmouth a sixty four gun Ship where they informed us that they were sent to England and that all officers of Commisson’d Vessels should be sent to England. The [Tenth] day of December they made another draught to se[nd] in the fleet which they call their names over before we came away on the 5th day of December we were served l pint of water when there was seventy five puncheons in the hold. They have taken this method of Starving us for the want of water to kill us or ma[ke] us enter into their service. They never allow a m[an] that is sick to go to the hospital ship till that they are so weak and low that they often expire before they get out of the Ship. They never allow the sick to be m[   ]ed only when there is a wet or damp Air. The commanding Officer on board told us that his orders were that if the Ship took fire that we should all be burned below and perish in the flames which we experienced one day. By accident the Ship took fire in the Steward[’s] room the commanding officer ordered the Hessian guards to turn us below and if we offered to resist th[at] they should fire among us and if any of us should get into the water they should fire on us and hit us if possible.

George Batterman

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