AMERICANREVOLUTION.ORG

A RELIC OF THE REVOLUTION

CHAPTER VI.

More Prisoners - A Present - Visit from American Gentlemen - Black-hole - Fleet of Transports for America - Prisoners escape -Death - Prospect of War with France - First breach in the Prison wall - Fox frigate taken by the Hancock - A Newspaper - Number of Prisoners - Escape of thirty-two Prisoners - Bounty Punishment - Cruelty to the Old - Captain Lee taken in the Fancy - Hears from Home - Bad News - False Reports - Daniel Cottle died.

JUNE 23. To-day we divided the money which we had got in our charity-box, and it was only five farthings per man.

24. To-day there were two more prisoners brought in; they were taken in France. Having been invited on board an English vessel, and not knowing who they were, went on board, and were immediately seized and confined. The vessel then weighed anchor and came out of the harbor. The prisoners proved to be the captain and lieutenant of a Virginia pilot boat. The captain is now confined in the yard, in a prison by himself, and is not allowed to speak to us, but the lieutenant is in prison with us.

25. Rainy weather.

26. Continued wet, so that we keep house.

27. To-day another broke out with small-pox.

28. To-day Captain Ross, one of our prizemasters, had a present of some bread and cheese.

29. Sunday. To-day there have been great numbers to see us , but they were disappointed; for they kept the outer gate shut, and would not let the people look at us.

30. We are so confined here that we are out of the way of all news; we are not allowed a newspaper, and at present no one is allowed to come to the gate to speak to us. The week past, I have received three shillings and two pence, for boxes.

July 1. Nothing remarkable.

2, 3. Very rainy, so that we are obliged to keep house.

4. Fair weather. This is the only fair day we have had for nearly a week; and to-day a fleet of transports with troops, bound to America, put in here for a harbor.

5. To-day several American gentlemen came to see us. They came to England before the war began; they gave considerable money to some with whom they were acquainted; to one they gave two guineas, to another one, to another half a guinea, and to three more five shillings apiece. The week past I have received one shilling and two pence for boxes.

6. Sunday. A great number of persons came to see us, but the gate was kept shut, so they could not speak to us, or give us any thing; but some that were in prison took a small bag and tied a string to it and let it down at a window at the back side of the prison. About a sixpence was put into it, but the guard came in and forbid it.

7. They have placed lanterns all round the prison yard, for fear that some of us should make our escape in the night.

8. Last night the guard became alarmed by our people laughing and singing, and they came in and took one of the prisoners to the Black-hole, a place of punishment so called, where he is to lay forty days, on half allowance, and nothing to sleep on but the ground. We were all threatened to be put on half allowance. This afternoon there sailed from the Sound a fleet of transports of about thirty sail, and three convoys, bound to America. According to the best accounts, there are about four thousand troops on board.

9, 10, 11. Warm and pleasant weather. Nothing remarkable.

12. Last night, four of the prisoners that were in the hospital, one that was in the Black-hole, and one from a prison where there are a number using applications for the itch, made their escape through a drain that leads to the river edge. For this week past I have received three shillings and sixpence for boxes and ladles.

13. Sunday. Those who remain in the itch apartment are all put on half allowance, to make them tell which way the man got out who made his escape from that building; and a sentinel is set before the prison to keep us from giving them any thing, or speaking to them.

14. The Yarmouth, a ship of seventy-four guns, dropped down into the Sound, in order for sailing.

15. The prisoners in the itch apartment told the agent which way the man got out of prison, and were put upon their usual allowance. .

16. We hear of the death of Thomas Rines, one of our company, whom I left sick at the Royal Hospital; he died of the small-pox, and is the fourth of our company who has died since we were taken.

17. Several in prison have broken out with the small-pox, all of whom inoculated themselves from the first that were attacked with it.

18. There has been a great deal of talk of a French war ever since we have been taken, and it appears now to be very Dear, for the English vessels are often receiving insults at sea from the French. Three years ago they would have resented this, but now they appear to be afraid.

19. The remainder of the prisoners who have not had the small pox have had an offer from the doctor to be inoculated.

20. Last night we made a breech in the prison wall, and began to dig out, which we expect will take near a fortnight to accomplish, as we have near eighteen feet to dig under ground to get into a field on the other side of the wall.

21. For the week past I have received, for boxes and ladles, two shillings and sixpence.

22. The hole that is now in hand is to be only just large enough for a man to crowd himself out. The men that dig it have made great progress since they have been at work ; we put all the dirt into our chests, as we have several of them in prison, and when they leave work they stop up the hole with the same stones that came out, and daub it over with lime, so that it appears like the other wall.

23. Last evening transports arrived here from America, with six hundred wounded marines on board.

24. We had a present sent us of several pounds of leaf tobacco.

25. To-day three of the number who broke out or the sick ward, on the 12th of this month, were, brought back again, and put in the Black-hole, there to lay forty days, on half allowance.

26. We hear that Captain Manley, of the Hancock frigate, has taken the Fox frigate, of twenty-eight guns.

27. For the week past I have received eighteenpence for boxes.

29. The remainder of the prisoners who have not had the small-pox, removed into a seperate building, in order for inoculation.

30. Although we are not allowed newspapers, yet we have them almost weekly, and we now have one that gives an account of the before mentioned frigate being taken; also of Captain Giddson, in the "Civil Usage," being seen off the Lizzard.

August 1. To-day six more of our people came on shore from the ship; the occasion of their not being brought to prison sooner was, that they were detained with small-pox in the Royal Hospital. One of these is yet very unwell, and has been put in the prison hospital.

2. We learn, by those who came in yesterday, that Captain Adams, who was taken in a merchantman, was set at liberty last Sunday. The week past I have received two shillings for boxes.

3. Sunday. The number of prisoners now in these wards, is one hundred and seventy-three.

4. Some of our people who first broke out with small-pox in prison, are so far recovered as to be able to come up from the hospital.

5. Pleasant to-day, but stormy last night; during the storm, some of our people made their escape through the hole which they began to dig on the nineteenth of last month. This hole is dug eighteen feet under ground, and comes up in a field the other side of the wall. Thirty-two in number went out, three of whom have been brought back. We are told that they have five pounds bounty for taking up any rebel prisoner that attempts an escape; and when taken, the prisoners are to be put on half allowance, and placed in the Black-hole for forty days.

6. To-day one more was brought back that went out night before last.

7. Four more were brought in to-day, so that there are eight out of the thirty-two taken already. The four who were brought back to-day are put in with us, as the Black-hole is full, but they will be put on half allowance, the same as if in the Black-hole.

8. The guards are now so very suspicious of us, that they number us two or three times a day, and visit us as often by night; and once or twice they will overhaul all our chests to see that there is no dirt in them, or any tools secreted that we can dig out with. To-day an old man was put into the Black-hole for only complaining that our meat was not good.

9. To-day there was one more brought back that passed under the wall. For the week past I have received three shillings for boxes.

10. We hear that an American privateer is taken.

11. To-day nine more prisoners came on shore to the prison from the Blenheim. Eight of the number were taken in one of Captain Weeks' prizes, bound to France; the other was one of our company, who has been sick at the Royal Hospital. They inform us that Captain John Lee is taken in the brig Fancy, twelve guns, fitted out at Newbury, belonging to the Traceys, and forty-two of his hands came on board the Blenheim before they left her. To-day two more were brought back who went out at the hole.

12. To-day eight more prisoners came to the prison from the Blenheim; three of the number were taken in the Fancy with Captain Lee. They inform us that they were chased on shore at Mount Bay, near Land's-end, by the Fieutryant, a ship of eighty-four guns. They are only about eight weeks from America, and had taken four prizes.

13. Ten more of Captain Lee's men came to prison.

14. Ten more were brought to-day.

15. To-day Captain Lee and his first and second lieutenants came to prison. From Captain Lee I hear of the health of my friends.

16. A number more of Captain Lee's men came to prison to-day.

17. Sunday. For the week past I have received six shillings and three pence for boxes and ladles.

18. Warm and pleasant, so that we carried our hammocks out into the yard to air. The remainder of Captain Lee's men were brought to prison. Those who came to-day were the last who were taken after they got on shore. They inform us that they are all here now except their doctor, who, in all probability, has made his escape.

19. To-day three more were brought to prison who belonged to the Literal Mark, fitted out of Philadelphia.

20. Warm and pleasant weather, so that we can comfortably go barefoot; but many of us would be obliged to do so if it were in the middle of winter, for want of stockings and shoes.

21. To-day fourteen of Captain Lee's men, who have not had the small-pox, were inoculated. The prisoners who are on half allowance have had a meal of victuals sent them by some friend.

22. We hear that Ticonderoga is taken by the King's troops, and also Philadelphia; that the Hancock, Captain Manley, is taken, and the Fox retaken ; but we cannot tell what to believe by what we hear; for since we have been taken we have heard, nearly twenty times, that Philadelphia was taken, and as many times that Washington was killed; that Congress was divided, that continental money was disgraced, that the Americans had laid down their arms, and that they were starving to death for want of provisions, and naked for want of clothing; all these things have been published in the newspapers, times without number, since we have been taken.

23. For the week past I have received three shillings for boxes.

24. Sunday. This is the greatest market day for our wooden ware, as most people come on this day to see us.

25. Yesterday Daniel Cottle died in the prison hospital of the small-pox; he is the sixth of our company that has died since we have been in England.

26. It is reported that general Prescott is taken by the Americans.

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