George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas R. Harris and William Metcalfe, 29 April 1776

From Thomas R. Harris and William Metcalfe

City Jail [New York] 29 April 1776. “Having upon us the strongest symptoms of a contagious distemper; and being confined in a close room, together with three other gentlemen, they undoubtedly have the greatest reason to be apprehensive of its consequences. As we believe it foreign from your intention to endanger our lives, or the lives of others, we should be glad if you will order our case to be looked into.”

Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 4th ser., 5:1129.

Thomas R. Harris and William Metcalfe, both of the British sloop Savage, were apparently among the ten prisoners captured on 7 Aug. when Capt. Hugh Stephenson’s Virginia riflemen attacked a British watering party on Staten Island (Hugh Stephenson to Israel Putnam, 8 April 1776, DLC:GW). On 8 May Horatio Gates delivered Harris’s and Metcalfe’s petition to the New York committee of safety and informed the committee “that many such prisoners have been enlarged, and are prisoners on their parol. That His Excellency General Washington thinks it necessary that some inland town or village in this Colony, should be fixed on, where the above mentioned prisoners, and such others as may from time to time be thought proper to be enlarged, may be sent to and lodged.” The next day the New York provincial congress designated Goshen, N.Y., as the proper place to send paroled prisoners (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:436).

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