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Hazen, Moses (1733-1803) to Benjamin Lincoln

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01147 Author/Creator: Hazen, Moses (1733-1803) Place Written: Lancaster, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 27 May 1782 Pagination: 2 p. ; 23 x 18.3 cm.

Summary of Content: Written by Hazen as commander of prisoners at Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the Huddy-Asgill Affair to Lincoln as Secretary of War. References letters of General Washington from 4 and 18 May 1782, which he received on 25 May 1782. Writes that lots were drawn and Captain Charles Asgill was chosen to be executed in retaliation for the hanging of Captain Joshua Huddy. Asgill was a seventeen-year old youth, "a most amiable character, an extensive fortune and great interest in the British Court and Army." Says the British officers are enraged at Sir Henry Clinton's conduct and that they want Hazen to send an officer to New York on their behalf. Says all the letters going to New York will remain open for him to view. Wants to send Captain Ludlow to New York with a servant if Lincoln allows it. The Huddy-Asgill Affair, an embarrassment for Washington, began when the Associated Loyalists received permission from General Clinton to take Captain Huddy and two other prisoners for an exchange. The Loyalists then hanged Huddy in retaliation for the killing of one of their partisans, Philip White. Washington wanted Captain Lippincott, who was responsible for hanging Huddy, turned over to him. When he was not, Hazen was directed to select a British officer to die in retaliation.

Full Transcript: Lancaster 27 May 1782.
Dear Sir,
I received his Excellency's the Commander in Chief's letters of the 4th and 18th current, on the subject of a British Captain being sent to you; ...which came to hand on [inserted: the evening of] the 25th - at ten oClock this morning the lots even drawn in the presence of Major Gordon, and all the British Captains, that are prisoners of War within the limits prescribed - The unfortunate lot has fallen on Captain Charles Asgill of the Guards a young gentleman of Seventeen; a most amiable character, an extensive fortune and great interest in the British Court and Army.
The British Officers are enraged at Sir Henry Clinton's Conduct - they have sollicited my leave to send an Officer to New York, on this unfortunate occasion; or that I would intercede with you to obtain [2] obtain it. All the letters for New York will of course go open to your Office, and you will thereby see, the subject of this embassy - Good policy dictates to me the strongest recommendation in favor of this indulgence, humanity in the present case seems to require it.
I am therefore under the necessity of recommending in the strongest manner, your leave for Captain Ludlow to pass to the Enemy's lines at New York. He takes his Servant with him, and a serjeant [sic] as far as Philadelphia - All of, whom will wait your Orders, as soon as they reach the war Office.
I have the honor to be
Dr. Sir
Yours Most Sincerely
Moses Hazen
The honble
Major Genl. Lincoln
Secrety. at War
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Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: LoyalistPrisoner of WarPrisonerRevolutionary WarMilitary HistoryGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyDeath PenaltyMilitary Law

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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