"But of all atrocities, those committed in the prisons and prison ships of New York are the most execrable, and indeed there is nothing in history to excel the barbarities there inflicted. Twelve thousand suffered death by their inhuman, cruel, savage, and barbarous usage on board the filthy and malignant prison ships. Cunningham, the like of whom, for unpitying, relentless cruelty, the world has not produced, thirsted for blood, and took an eager delight in murder."
William Cunningham was the most hated man in America during the Revolution. Today, he would be branded a war criminal, and tried for crimes against humanity. His inhuman treatment of American POWs during the Revolution should be well known, but, his dark deeds have been forgotten. The sufferings of the patriots who gave us freedom must be remembered today, and Americans should count the cost of obtaining liberty, before surrendering it.
"I then told him I was an American, making my escape, from a long confinement, and was determinedto pass,and took up a stone. He immediately drew his bayonet, and ordered me to go back with him. I refused and told him to keep his distance. He then run upon me and pushed his bayonet into my side. It come out near my navel; but the wound was not very deep; he then made a second pass at me, and stabbed me through my arm; he was about to stab me a third time, when I struck him with the stone and knocked him down. I then run, but the guard who had been alarmed, immediately took me and carried me before the Governor, where I understood the man was dead."
John Blatchford was one of the lucky ones. As a POW of the British during the American Revolution, he should have died. Most of the captured did die: of disease, of starvation, of exposure, of poisoning. They were dumped in unmarked graves by the thousands. They died to give you freedom. Today, their sacrifice is little known. Yet John Blatchford did survive, through beatings, stabbings, sea voyages, and jungle treks, and wrote his story down. It's quite a tale. Click "Read More" to begin the article.
"I now continued my journey as well as the weak state of my body would permit,--the weather being at the time extremely hot and rainy. I frequently lay down and would wish that I might never rise again;--despair had almost wholly possessed me; and sometimes in a kind of delirium I would fancy I heard my mother's voice, and my father calling me, and I would answer them. At other times my wild imagination would paint to my view scenes which I was acquainted with. Then supposing myself near home I would run as fast as my legs could carry me. Frequently I fancied that I heard dogs bark, men cutting wood, and every noise which I have heard in my native country."
In Part 3 of "The Case of John Blatchford," our hero escapes from the British yet again, and treks 800 miles in an attempt to gain his freedom. He faces the elements, wild animals, and starvation. Just before he reaches the safety of a Dutch possession, he is discovered by a native woman who sounds the alarm. To read the final installment of the story, click "Read More."
"The fall, together with the beating was so severe that I was deprived of my senses for a considerable time. When I recovered them I found myself in the carpenter's berth, placed upon some old canvas between two chests, having my right thigh, leg and arm broken, and several parts of my body severely bruised. In this situation I lay eighteen days till our officers, who had been on business to Dublin, came on board. The captain inquired for the prisoners, and on being informed of my situation came down with the doctor to set my bones, but finding them callused they concluded not to meddle with me."
In Part 2 of "The Case of John Blatchford," the American patriot is transported across the Atlantic, for "service" in the East India Company. He is beaten, escapes, is captured, and sentenced to bear 800 lashes. To read the next installment of the story, click "Read More."