1500-1799 | Battlefield butchery | Burning towns and cities | Massacres | Prisoners murdered | United States

NEW LONDON BURNED AND THE GARRISON SLAUGHTERED

6 September 1781 In the late eighteenth century, New London was a small port at the mouth of the river Thames on the Connecticut coast connecting American agricultural communities with the outside world. During the American Revolutionary War, the rebels used it as a base to attack British naval vessels and their supply ships, but…

1500-1799 | United States

OUR MORNING’S SALUTATION – ‘REBELS ! TURN OUT YOUR DEAD !’

10 August 1781 During the American Revolutionary War, the British kept so many captive rebels in New York that it became a virtual city of prisons. Thousands were confined in squalid conditions and with little to eat, in makeshift jails converted from old sugar refineries, churches and warehouses. Captured officers were sometimes able to purchase…

1500-1799 | Slavery

British slave ship throws its ‘cargo’ overboard and claims on its insurers

29 November 1781 On 29 November 1781, Captain Luke Collingwood, commanding the British slave ship Zong, on route for Jamaica, ordered his crew to murder one third of his ‘cargo’ of African slaves by throwing them overboard.  Two months earlier, he had gambled on cramming 470 slaves into the dark humid hull of the 110 ton square…

1500-1799 | United States

Lord Cornwallis expels his black troops from Yorktown

14 October 1781 In October 1781, the British army at Yorktown in Virginia was besieged by American rebels and French troops and rapidly running out of supplies. Lord Cornwallis, commanding the garrison, was concerned that his white British soldiers and Hessian mercenaries should have enough to eat, so on Sunday 14 October he gave orders…

1500-1799 | Biological weapons | United States

13 JULY

GENERAL’S PLAN TO USE AFRICAN AMERICANS TO SPREAD SMALLPOX [ 13 July 1781 ] On this day in 1781, during the closing months of the American War of Independence, Brigadier General Alexander Leslie outlined his plan to use African Americans suffering from smallpox, as biological weapons to spread the disease among the slave populations on…