18-19 May 1781 — Torbay Prison Ship, Charles Town Harbour, Charleston, SC
Letter from Lieut. Col. Stephen Moore and Maj. John Barnwell, Prison Ship Forbay,
to Lieut. Col. Nesbit Balfour, 18 May 1781
From Gibbes, Documentary History of the American Revolution, Vol. 3, p74
PRISON-SHIP, TORBAY, CHARLESTON HARBOUR, May 18, 1781.
In conformity to your letter of yesterday, we embrace your offer of forwarding a copy of the same, together with a roll of the prisoners on board this ship, and a letter addressed to Major Genl Greene, all which are enclosed. We could wish one of our number might be suffered to attend the flag of truce. We are, sir,
Your most obedient humble servants,
STEPHEN MOORE, Lieut. Col.
JOHN BARNWELL, Major
18 May 1781 Lieut. Col. Stephen Moore and Major John Barnwell to Gen. Greene, Prison Ship Torbay, Charleston Harbour, May 18, 1781. A number of them are shown in Bobby Moss', Roster of SC Patriots as having been captured at the fall of Charleston. The same letter below appears in Walter Clark, ed., North Carolina State Records, Vol. 17, p.1044-46; very similar to the original, but with some differences (e.g., dates by names of officers). A third version appears in "Prison Ship Torbay Prisoners", Papers of the Continental Congress M246-175 i155 v2, pg 218.
National Archives & Records Administration.
PRISON SHIP, TORBAY, CHARLESTON HARBOUR, May 18, 1781.
We have the honor of enclosing you a copy of a letter from Col. Balfour, commandant at Charleston, which was handed us immediately on our being put on board this ship; the letter, speaking for itself, needs no comment; your wisdom will best dictate the notice it merits. We would just beg leave to observe, that should it fall to the lot of all, or any of us, to be made victims, agreeably to the menaces therein contained, we have only to regret that our blood cannot be disposed of more to the advancement of the glorious cause to which we have adhered. A separate roll of our names attend this letter.
With the greatest respect, we are, sir,
Your most obedient and humble servants,
STEPHEN MOORE, Lieut. Col. N. Carolina Militia.
JOHN BARNWELL, Major So. Ca. Militia,
for ourselves and 130 prisoners.
On board the Prison-ship Torbay.
William Axon, Samuel Ash, George Arthur, John Anthony, Ralph Atmore, John Baddeley, Peter Bonnetheau, Henry Benbridge, Joseph Ball, Joseph Bee, Nathaniel Blundell, James Bricken, Francis Bayle, William Basquin, John Clarke, jr., Thomas Cooke, Norwood Conyers, James Cox, John Dorfius, Joseph Dunlap, Rev'd. James Edmonds, Thomas Elliot, Joseph Elliot, John Evans, John Eberly, Joseph Glover, Francis Grott, Mitchell Gargie, William Graves, Peter Guerard, Jacob Henry, David Hamilton, Thomas Harris, William Hornby, Daniel Jacoby, Charles Kent, Samuel Lockhart, Nathaniel Lebby, Thomas Liftor, Thomas Legare, John Lesesne, Henry Lybert, John Michael, John Minott, sr., John Moncrief, Charles M'Donald, John Minott, jr., Samuel Miller, Stephen Moore (Colo. 16th Aug. 80), George Monck, Jonathan Morgan, Abraham Mariette, Solomon Milner, John Neufville, jr., Philip Prioleau, James Poyas, Job Palmer, Joseph Robinson, Daniel Rhody, Joseph Righton, William Sayle (protd. 61 yrs. of age does not to be exchanged) [sic], William Snelling; John Stevenson, jr., Paul Snyder, Abraham Seavers, Ripley Singleton; Samuel Scottowe, Stephen Shrewsbury, John Sawunders, James Toussiger, Paul Taylor, Sims White, James Wilkins, Isaac White, George Welch, Benjamin Wheeler, William Wilkie, John Welch, Thomas You.
On board the Schooner Pack-Horse.
John Barnwell, Edward Barnwell, Robert Barnwell, William Branford, John Blake, Thomas Cochran, Joseph Cray, Robert Dewar, H. W. Desaussure, Thomas Eveleigh, John Edwards, jr., John W. Edwards, William Elliot, Benjamin Guerard, Thomas Grayson, John Gibbons, Philip Gadsden, John Greaves, William H. Hervey, John B. Holmes, William Holmes, Thomas Hughes, James Heyward, George Jones, Henry Kennon, John Kean, Stephen Lee, Philip Meyer, George Mosse (Dr), William Nuefville, John Owen, Charles Pinckney, jr., Samuel Smith, William Wigg, Charles Warham (Adjt), Thomas Waring, sr., Richard Waring, John Waters, David Warham, Richard Yeadon,
Published by order of Congress,
CHARLES THOMSON, Sec'ty.
Letter from Lieut. Col. Stephen Moore, Prison Ship Forbay, to Lieut. Col. Nesbit Balfour, 19 May 1781
Fr om Gibbes Documentary History of the American Revolution, Vol. 3, p. 76-77
TORBAY PRISON-SHIP, OFF CHARLESTON,
May 19, 1781.
Yesterday we transmitted to you a letter, enclosing a copy of yours, with a list of one hundred and twenty-nine prisoners of war, confined on board this ship, which we hope is forwarded to Major Genl Greene, agreeably to your promise, and make no doubt but that your feelings as a gentleman will, upon this occasion, induce you to do every thing in your power to liberate, from a most injurious and disagreeable confinement, those against whom there can exist no charge of dishonor, and whose only crime, if such it can possibly be termed by men of liberal ideas, is an inflexible attachment to what they conceive to be the rights of their country, and who have scorned to deceive you by unmeaning professions. In justice to ourselves we must say, that if the Americas have at any time so far divested themselves of that character of humanity and generosity, which ever distinguished them, we feel ourselves most sensibly mortified, but are induced, from the generous treatment of Cols. Lechmere, Rugely, Fenwicke and Kelsell, and their parties, and from a number of other instances which might be easily adduced, to believe, that the outrages which you complain of, must be the effect of private resentment (subsisting between British subjects and those who, after having availed themselves of the royal proclamation, have resumed their arms, in opposition to that government) and totally unsanctioned by any American officer, and which we are well convinced they would reprobate and would punish in the most exemplary manner, could the perpetrators of such horrid acts be detected.
In a war, circumstanced as the present, there will be some instances of enormities on both sides. We would not wish to particularise, but doubt not there are acts of cruelty frequently committed by the irregulars of your army, and are convinced, that on your part, as well as our own, they are generally to be attributed to an ignorance of the rules of warfare, and a want of discipline; but the idea of detaining in close custody as hostages a number of men fairly taken in arms, and entitled to the benefits of a solemn capitulation, is so repugnant to the laws of war, and the usage of civilized nations, that we apprehend it will rather be the means of increasing its horrors, than answering those purposes of humanity you expect.
As a most strict adherence to the terms of our paroles, and a firm reliance on your honor, have been the only reasons of our being in your power at present, we trust, that upon equitable proposals being made for our exchange by Gen. Greene, no objections will be raised, but every thing done to bring the matter to the most speedy issue.
As you have thought proper to publish your reasons for seizing upon our persons, we request our answer may also be inserted in the next Gazette. We are, sir,
Your most obedient servants,
STEPHEN MOORE, and others.