The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

From Lord Cornwallis,

Has heard unauthenticated reports of "cruelties" against the troops captured by Gen. [Daniel] Morgan; was "shocked" that British prisoners found in the Salisbury jail had been "denied common sustenance." Does not, however, "impute" the prisoners' situation to NG, who, because of his distance from them, "may have been unacquainted with their Sufferings." Proposes an exchange from "motives of humanity"; it would begin with the prisoners "in possession of this army" and would include the Americans held at Charleston, S.C. Wants an immediate answer, as "the Close manner" in which the Charleston prisoners are confined "to prevent their escape must prove fatal to many of them when the warm weather commences."[1] If an exchange is not settled by the end of next month, Cornwallis will have to send those prisoners to the British West Indies, "where they will be more commodiously confined or if they chuse it, be permitted to serve in the British Regiments employed there, or on the Spanish Main."[2]
Draft (PRO 30/11/91) 3 pp.
    [1.] Although NG was just across the Yadkin River, he did not receive this letter until 19 February; he replied on 24 February (PGNG, 7: 342).
    [2.] Cornwallis wrote to Nisbet Balfour, the British commandant of Charleston, S.C., on 21 February: “I have written to Greene to threaten to send the Prisoners of War to the West Indies in case he does not consent to an Exchange; I would therefore have you make every publick demonstration of doing it, & inform the Principal officers that you cannot answer the delaying it longer than the first Week of April. A Convoy should likewise be required without letting the officers of the Navy doubt my being in Earnest.(PRO 30/11/85)”