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Sunday, December 31, 2006

December 31. 1777
Tomorrow the act committing us to this prison passed by Parliament in February will expire. Considerable discussion and speculation runs through the yard about what will happen to us next. There are rumors that we shall be soon exchanged. Others anticipate that Parliament will renew the act and that we shall remain here indefinitely. However, with the capture of Burgoyne’s army it seems that our situation is changed and that we may be considered prisoners of war rather than rebels and pirates. Our treatment has started to improve of late. Perhaps we shall leave this place yet with our lives.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

December 30. 1777
Clothing was handed out to those of our company in need. I gratefully received a hat which I have been in want for these past months. Some of the men and boys were nearly naked having traded away their clothing for food. Those of us who are more industrious have been able to earn some extra money thereby keeping ourselves fed without jeopardizing the clothes on our bodies. We look forward to the coming New Year and the promise of a swift return to our homes.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

December 26. 1777 St. Stephens Day
Today is overcast. We were made a present of 100 penny loaves by Mr. Tolcher, grandfather of the Lord Mayor of Plymouth. These were well received.

Monday, December 25, 2006

December 25. 1777 Christmas Day
Today dawned fair after several days of rain leaving the yard a muddy mess. The butcher and baker are in a charitable mood on this Christmas day so our fare today was much better than one year ago. We have white bread instead of brown, mutton, turnips, salt and oatmeal for our soup. Some Newbury men also invited us to share their plum pudding and so we are better fed than I can remember while here in Mill Prison.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

December 24. 1777
It has been one long year to the day since we were captured by the Raisonable off the Spanish coast. Never did we expect to be spending a second Christmas Eve in captivity.

Although we have little money several of the messes including ours are sending out for additional supplies to celebrate the Christmas holiday tomorrow.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

December 23. 1777
Today Cowdry mustered us into the yard where new regulations of conduct sent from the Commissioners were posted. We were warned that these must be strictly observed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

December 20. 1777
We hear that Lord North has made a petition before parliament calling for peace but he was overruled since he was the one calling for war in the first place.

6 men have come out of the Black Hole after forty days.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

December 17. 1777
Yesterday a newspaper was brought to us by some friends from outside that gave us further details of the defeat of Burgoyne’s army. This paper has been passed throughout the prison and read aloud for the benefit of those who cannot read.

Four days past we were mustered into the main prison yard to have our clothing inspected to see who was in want.

Monday, December 11, 2006

December 11. 1777
Today we received confirmation from Captain Henry Johnson’s brother, recently come from London, that Burgoyne’s army was totally defeated near Saratoga. We could not rely on earlier reports but this news seems solid and has greatly raised our spirits.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

December 9. 1777
Two days ago Mr. Cowdry informed us of a letter that he had received from the Board in London instructing him to place us all on half allowance until the man guilty of planning the latest failed escape was given over. We took up a collection to be applied to pay a volunteer who would be committed to the Black Hole. This volunteer came forward today and is committed to the Black Hole for 40 days. Mr. Cowdry shows uncommon humane behavior by allowing him as many indulgences as possible within the bounds of his instructions.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

December 2. 1777
We have word that Philadelphia is taken but that the Americans destroyed a British 74 which was in the river near Philadelphia.