During the Revolutionary War, when an American was taken into the hands of the British as a prisoner, his fate was sealed. Unlike the patriots who showed compassion for British prisoners, the British administered cruel treatment, not only in battle, but particularly to their captives. The patriots were treated more like felons than as honorable enemies, or cousins. Despite the fact that they spoke the same language and shared the same blood, the British excused their cruelty by saying that their prisoners were deserters of the King, and were to be dealt with accordingly. The patriotic seamen of the Virginia Navy were no exceptions to the rule when they fell into the hands of the more powerful lords of the ocean. They were carried in numbers to Bermuda, and to the West Indies, and cast into loathsome and pestilential prisons, from which a few sometimes managed to escape, at the peril of their lives. Respect of position and rank found no favor in the eyes of their ungenerous captors, and no appeal could reach their hearts except through the promises of bribes. Many patriots languished and died in those places, away from country and friends,whose fate was not known until many years after they had passed away. But it was not altogether abroad that they were so cruelly maltreated. The record of their sufferings in the prisons of the enemy, in our own country, is left to testify against these relentless persecutors. Researchers might examine the records in Barbadoes and other islands in the West Indies.
County and Probate Records to Help you Find your Virginia Ancestors