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Hessians Tortured And Killed Americans, But Did George Washington Torture Them?

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Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript “On August 28, the Hessians bayoneted a couple hundred Continentals, killed them right there on the spot, no mercy whatsoever.  Same thing happened in October when Fort Washington fell on Manhattan Island to the Hessians and to the British regulars.  The British regulars, for the most part, didn’t participate in this.  They let the Hessians do the dirty work. So don’t tell me there’s no precedent here and that it’s not the same because it is.  These guys were actually here.  They actually did invade the United States.  So what did General Washington tell his men to do when a Hessian was captured or when a British regular or officer was captured?  Well, why don’t we read the letter?”  Check out today’s transcript and Clip of The Day for the rest….

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Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

Mike:  There were hundreds upon hundreds of Continental soldiers that were roundly defeated at the Battle of Long Island.  They tried to surrender to a Hessian guard.  What did the Hessians do to the men that tried to surrender, ladies and gentlemen?  Here, since no one will answer my questions, I’ll answer them.  They bayonetted him to death.  They stabbed him to death.  This is documented.  We have several accounts of this.  As a matter of fact, Major Sullivan saw it with his own eyes and was then captured.  Because he had an officer’s uniform, he wasn’t bayoneted but taken prisoner.  He was interrogated by Lord Howe.  That’s right, he was interrogated by Howe.  He wasn’t strung up.  He wasn’t fed through his rectum.  He was interrogated.  On September 11, he was traded for a British officer that had been captured and held in what’s called a prisoner exchange.

On August 28, the Hessians bayoneted a couple hundred Continentals, killed them right there on the spot, no mercy whatsoever.  Same thing happened in October when Fort Washington fell on Manhattan Island to the Hessians and to the British regulars.  The British regulars, for the most part, didn’t participate in this.  They let the Hessians do the dirty work.  The Hessians, in other words, when they captured Continental Army positions or when they captured Continentals, they, more often than not, were in the practice of killing the Continental soldiers, executing them on the spot as they pleaded for their lives.

Now, using your logic about the Mohammed in some of you people, what should Washington have done upon capturing 932 enlisted and 64 officers at Trenton?  He should have lined them all up, right?  He should have killed them all, right?  Maybe he should have rectally fed them for a couple of days to see if he could pump some info out of them before killing them, right?  Or maybe he should have just constructed really large gallows and hanged them all slowly.  Maybe he could have done it by firing squad.  Hey, I got an idea.  Since so many of you are so rejoicing in the torture these days, the Delaware River was nearly frozen.  I got a great idea.  Let’s just march the Hessians out onto the frozen river because there are soft spots in it.  What will happen?  Find a soft spot, Hessian walks out and bammo, sinks to the bottom, a dead, frozen Hessian.  Mission accomplished, right?

Remember in the last Batman movie — Paul, did you see the last Batman movie, the last Christopher Nolan Batman movie?

Paul:  Was that The Dark Knight?

Mike:  This is the one where the bad guys had captured some of the citizens of Gotham City, including Commissioner Gordon — I think that was the last one — he marched them out onto the banks of that river that looks like the Hudson or whatever it was.  If they didn’t do what he told them to do, even if they did, what did they do?  They marched them out until the ice so thin that they fell through the ice and froze to death and drowned.  Washington should have done that to the Hessians.  That might have even been fun.  This is not to say that some of the Continental soldiers wouldn’t have condoned this, because they would have, as you will learn in just a moment here.

Just think of all the wonderful, different, and inventive ways that Washington could have done to take the lives of those Hessians.  Remember now, the Hessians denied — in the 18th century, for you military historians, this is what would have been called quarter.  They denied quarter to the Continentals, wouldn’t give it to them, would not accept their surrender peacefully so that they could be detained as a prisoner of war and negotiated for their release later on.  They bayoneted them to death on the spot.  So don’t tell me there’s no precedent here and that it’s not the same because it is.  These guys were actually here.  They actually did invade the United States.  So what did General Washington tell his men to do when a Hessian was captured or when a British regular or officer was captured?  Well, why don’t we read the letter?

[reading]

Orders to Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Blachley Webb

8 January 1777

Sir, You are to take charge of [Mike: Then he leaves a blank here so that someone after him can fill the number in.] [X] privates of the Brittish Army & to Conduct them by the shortest and best rout from this place to Peekskill in the State of Newyork—Treat them with humanity, and Let them have no reason to Complain of our Copying the brutal example of the Brittish Army in their Treatment of our unfortunate bretheren who have fallen into their hands, provide every thing necessary for them on the Road, and draw orders on the Quarter Master General for the amount of your several Disbursements, you will Deliver the prisoners to General Heath or the officer Commanding there who is desired to forward them to Governor Trumbull, who will dispose of them in such parts of the State of Connecticut as he will think proper. Given at Headquarters Morristown 8th January 1777.

Go: Washington

[end reading]

Mike:  Washington knew that some of these men to be captured were Hessians.  He knew what the Hessians had done, yet he didn’t order them to be bayoneted.  He should have, using 2014 “conservative” logic, reasoning, sick, twisted reasoning, right?  Maybe there’s more that we can read about this.  Maybe there were other opportunities where Washington could change his mind and, seeing the error of his ways, could correct himself.  There was.  Now I’d like to share another piece of anachronistic history with you.  This was Washington’s policy pretty much through the war, even though he knew many of the men that he had that were in his army that had been captured, he knew that they had been captured and that their care was not the kind of care that he was extending to the ones that he had captured.  Nevertheless, he thought that the United States and his army should set a better example and should lead in these affairs and not play the same game that the violent, disgusting, despicable enemy was playing, so he never did.  [mocking] “Well, I’ve heard stories.”  You’ve heard about individuals.  You have not heard about Washington issuing orders for this stuff to happen.

Let me take you now to the year 1781.  The war is nearing a close.  On the 1st of October, little Jimmy Madison, not knowing that Washington basically has Lord Cornwallis surrounded at Yorktown but he will in a week or so, does have reports that American soldiers are not being treated very well on British ships and in  prison camps in New York and New Jersey.  Little Jimmy Madison is a member of Congress at the time.  He writes a manifesto and introduces it to the Continental Congress to see if he can get a vote on it and to see if this policy can be implemented.  I’m going to read this to you verbatim.

[reading]

The United States in Congress assembled taking into their serious consideration the various scenes of barbarity by which the present war has from its beginning been characterized on the part of the British arms, and the perseverance of the British Commanders in carrying into execution the sanguinary and vindictive denunciations of the Commissioners of their King in their manifesto of — the day of — — [read the entire Manifesto here] The United States in Congress assembled have further Resolved, and do hereby declare, that British officers now prisoners to the American arms, or which may hereafter be made prisoners shall answer with their lives, for every further destruction by fire of any town or village, within any one of the U. States which shall be made by the enemy contrary to the laws of war observed among civilized nations, and the Department of War is hereby ordered to cause all the officers in the service of the King of G. B. now in their custody to be duly secured, and on the first authentic notice of the burning of any town or village in any one of the U. States unauthorized by the laws of war to cause such and so many of the said officers as they shall judge expedient to be put to instant death.

[end reading]

Mike:  Just try to think of 2014, 2010, 2006, and yes, unfortunately, tragically, 2001.

[reading]

The United States in Congress assembled taking into their serious consideration the various scenes of barbarity . . . . any one of the U. States unauthorized by the laws of war to cause such and so many of the said officers as they shall judge expedient to be put to instant death.

[end reading]

Mike:  What happened?  Madison sounds like he’s angry, doesn’t he?  He sounds like a lot of you.  [mocking] “You’re gonna do that?  We’re gonna capture your guys.  Wait till you see what we do to them.”  Great policy by the way.  The motion is tabled.  In the journal of the Continental Congress for the day, what it says is “Motion is tabled pending opinion of Commander in Chief,” meaning Washington, meaning they’re not even going to have a vote on this until they send it to Washington, he gets a gander at it, and then sends it back and says, “Meh, I don’t think so” or “Oh, yeah, you should see what I did to those Hessians.”  By the way, all 994 of the Hessians captured at Trenton were all safely and successfully transported back to the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, save for half a dozen or so that froze to death — and there were two Continentals that froze to death as well — on the journey back. [/private]

george Washington
One of a Kind – Washington’s Retreat & Crossings Map on parchment, signed and numbered by the artist, Mike Church

So this was then sent to Washington.  What did he say in response?  Well, he receives the manifesto and writes a letter to Nathanael Greene telling Greene: Here, relay this to the Continental Congress since you’re already in Philadelphia.  This letter was written on 15 December 1781:

[reading]

I really know not what to say on the subject of retaliation. Congress have it under consideration, and we must await their determination. Of this I am convinced, that of all laws it is the most difficult to execute, where you have not the transgressor himself in your possession. Humanity will ever interfere and plead strongly against the sacrifice of an innocent person for the guilt of another; and, as to destruction of property within the enemy’s lines, it is in fact destroying our own.

[end reading]

Mike:  That’s not the end of the story.  So Congress never votes on this. They table it and never go back to it.  The war basically ends.  They wouldn’t have voted on it anyway because they got the gist that Washington was not going to be happy ordering his officers to carry out Congress’s commands.  They could order him to do it, because he did take orders from them, but they just wouldn’t have done it.

End Mike Church Show Transcript

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