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The Jersey Prison-Ship

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

August 1.—An American, now confined on board the Jersey (vulgarly called Hell) prison-ship at New York says:—There is nothing but death or entering into the British service for me. Our ship company is reduced to a small number (by death and entering into the British service) of nineteen. There is a partial cartel arrived which brought eleven prisoners, and the names of so many as make up that number, sent from Boston by somebody. Damn the villain that trades that way, though there are many such that are making widows and fatherless children—a curse on them all! The commissary told us one and all, to the number of four hundred men, that the whole fault lays on Boston, and we might all be exchanged, but they never cared about us; and he said the commissaries were rogues and liars.

“I am not able to give you even the outlines of my exile; but thus much will I inform you, that we bury from six to eleven men in a day; we have two hundred more sick and falling sick every day; the sickness is the yellow fever, smallpox, and in short every thing else that can be mentioned. I had almost forgot to tell you, that our morning’s salutation is, ‘Rebels, turn out your dead!”1


1 Pennsylvania Packet, Sept. 4.