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Proceedings of the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Committee



At a meeting of the Committee of Observation, Inspection, and Correspondence, at the house of Adam Reigart, the 5th August, 1776:

Present: Edward Shippen, Mathias Slough, William Atlee, Adam Reigart, Jacob Krug, Christopher Crawford, William Bowsman, Michael Musser, Henry Dehuff, John Miller, Casper Shaffner.

William Atlee in the chair.

On Saturday, the 3d instant, a report being circulated through this town, that a company intended for the Camp in the Jerseys, from Cumberland County, had, in their passage through Carlisle, wantonly fired upon and wounded some of the prisoners of war there, and had particularly attacked the house wherein Lieutenant Andre resided, fired several shot through his windows, and had wounded him, and had otherwise behaved to the officers, prisoners there, in a cruel and ungenerous manner, and that the said company might be expected in Lancaster that evening, — the Committee recollecting that many of those persons who were lately so barbarously butchered and ill-treated after their surrender to Captain Forster, of the British troops, in Canada, had been inhabitants of Cumberland County, and much respected there, and not knowing the officer who commanded this company, nor the character of himself and men, were induced to give some credit to the report, and therefore gave directions that the prisoners of war here should confine themselves to their rooms, or at least to the walls of their barracks, from the hour of five in the afternoon until the next morning, and that they should before five o' clock aforesaid, bring into the barracks water and other necessaries to last them that time, being determined to draw out the town companies and defend them from any attack which might be made on them to the utmost of their power. Orders of this kind alarmed the prisoners at the barracks; they had, by some means or other, found out the reason of them, and were arming themselves with clubs from the cordwood. Intelligence of this being brought to the Committee, a member was sent up to inform them that every method should be used for their safety, and to desire they would keep themselves quiet. About eight o' clock in the evening, the Committee had notice that the company was in the woods near the town, and immediately sent out two officers to meet


them, with directions to inform the commander of the party of the report, and to request that no injury might be offered to the prisoners here. In about half an hour the officers returned, with an account that the officers and men of the company were very uneasy at the charge against them, and assured them it was false. This answer was directly circulated to quiet the minds of the inhabitants; and about nine o' clock the company marched in under command of Captain Thomas Clark, of the Fourth Battalion of Associators in Cumberland County, in great good order, without offering injury to any one, and quietly retired with their billets to the places assigned them. Upon Captain Clark' s request, the person who had propagated a report so injurious to himself and company, was sought for and placed in the guard house for examination, where he was continued until this morning, that, by the delay, we might have an opportunity of hearing from Carlisle. Agreeable to expectation, Captain George Hubley (a gentleman who is a native of this place, and well known to the Committee) arrived here yesterday evening, and now being introduced to the Committee, declares, upon oath, that he left Carlisle yesterday morning; that he arrived there from the westward on Saturday morning last about ten o' clock, and staid there the remainder of the day. That he saw the officers prisoners of war there, very cheerful at dinner, at Mr˙ Polk' s, with their servants attending them; that some of them spoke to him; that he was in conversation with different companies in the town that day; that he heard Captain Clark, with his Company, had passed through the town the day before, and heard not a word of any disturbance or ill-treatment to any of the prisoners. And the said informant (George Huber) being also brought into Committee, saith, that at Carlisle, on Wednesday evening last, he did see two men discharge their pieces down the street, but whether they belonged to Captain Clark' s Company or not, or whether they intended injury to any one, he don' t know; and that as to the remainder of the report, he had it from a woman who washed in the house occupied by the officers' servants, and others.

The Committee, therefore, do now, in justice to Captain Clark, and at the request of himself, his officers, and Company, (who have been basely charged with an action which, if true, must have reflected great dishonour upon them,) with great cheerfulness certify the foregoing narrative to be true; that the said charge against the said Captain Clark and his Company, upon the evidence adduced to them, is false and groundless, and that the behaviour of his Company, during their stay in Lancaster, and on leaving it, hath been remarkably decent and orderly.

Doctor John Sensinney having certified to this Committee that John Freeser, of Captain Andrew Bare' s Company of Associators in Lancaster County, is unfit for service as a soldier, and Captain Bare being satisfied that the Committee shall direct him to continue at home with his family, the Committee do therefore agree that the said John Freeser continue at home with his family, he here in Committee engaging to afford to the families of such Associators as are gone into service from his neighbourhood every assistance in his power.

Ordered, That the Chairman write to Captain Harris informing him that it is the sentiments of the Committee that Jonas Keeler, an apprentice of Isaac Hains, be kept at the Gunsmith' s business with his master, and be not obliged to do duty as a soldier.

Ordered, That Peter Dillen, an apprentice to Isaac Hains, Gunsmith, now an Associator, and doing duty in Captain Hoofnagle' s Company, go home with his said master, and continue at that work with him.

John Okely, of the Twenty-Sixth Regiment, is permitted to work with Christian Bough, Tailor, he here in Committee engaging to be answerable for him, agreeable to the resolves of the Committee.

Richard Savory, of the Seventh Regiment, is permitted to work with Casper Singer, Farmer, he here in Committee engaging to be answerable for him agreeable to the resolves of the Committee.