The Board of War to the Officer in Charge of Hessian Prisoners
[dateline] Philadelphia Septr. 16. 1777
I am directed by the Board of War to desire you, to deliver to Coll. Bird1 forty of the Hessian Prisoners2 in your Custody, to work with him as Artifficers and Labourers, if they consent.
I am your humble sevt.,
RC in JA's hand (DLC); docketed: “Order from Warr Office 16th Septr. 1777 to deliver 40 Hessians to Col.
1. Col. Mark Bird, who ran a cannon foundry in Berks co. (JCC, 8:495–496; Morton L. Montgomery, “Early Furnaces and Forges of Berks County, Pennsylvania,”
PMHB, 8:60 [March 1884]).
2. Hundreds of German mercenaries had been captured at the Battle of Trenton and had
been sent to Lancaster, Penna., where they were guarded by militia but permitted to
be hired out to work on the farms for pay. Late in August, because of the approach
of the British, the prisoners were scattered about in such towns as Reading, Carlisle,
and Lebanon (Lucy Leigh Bowie, “German Prisoners in the American Revolution,” Md. Hist. Mag., 40:187–188 [Sept. 1945]).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2016.