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Cornwallis’s Cruelty

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

A writer in England says:—”A Scotch officer, lately arrived from America, hath assured some particular friends, that on the day of the action near Camden, Lord Cornwallis’s orders to the army were: ‘To take no prisoners in the field of battle, but to put all to the bayonet without distinction, however supplicating for mercy they may be found!’ (which accounts for the great and disproportionate slaughter made among the American troops,) but, after the action, and on the day following, his lordship gave leave for receiving alive such of the rebels as applied for quarter! Bella, horrida bella! Is it possible that such a kind of war can be approved of by a Christian Prince, reigning over a free and civilized people, once as renowned for humanity as for their valor in war? If the fact be as thus represented, what would be the consequences if the fortune of war should render that same noble lord a prisoner in the hands of the American army? In the rage of revenge following his conduct, they might honorably entomb him alive, with a number of the putrid carcases he had so inhumanly butchered, to be his companions during the time that starvation was finishing his wretched existence. Most Reverend Father in God, Prelate of Canterbury, highest spiritual teacher and preacher of mercy and peace, under the blessed Jesus, Lamb of God! know thou, Right Reverend and Christian sir, (who seem to be not many stages on this side the bar of justice at which all mortals must appear,) that this human butcher is thy nephew! and that until now, in est dementi forti! had ever been considered as an established maxim. Doth such inhumanity meet with your approbation? “1

 

1 New Jersey Journal, March 7.