Request for Prisoner Exchange

Request for Prisoner Exchange

A year after being taken prisoner by the British in Charleston, South Carolina, Commodore Whipple wrote to General Washington, requesting that a British officer imprisoned by the Colonists be exchanged for himself. Here is that letter. (Submitted to the Whipple Website by Ralph W. Lange [].)

Transcript | Facsimile, p. 1 | Facsimile, p. 2

Providence March 5th 1781


Having been in the War ever since June 1775 invested with a Command by Sea which held in service of the United States on board their Ships Columbus & Providence who when ... ... ... ... ... ...felt the surrender of Charlestown So. Carolina by capitulation to the British Armie when became Prisoner to Vice Admiral Arbuthnot who admitted me to Parole as Commanding Officer of the Ships of the United States on that station and allowed me the liberty of returning home to wait an exchange as should be effected. Which Exchange I would beg leave to acquaint your Excellency have not been able as yet to procure although have made every Application. No prospects presenting of facilitating an Exchange. The United States having noted Officers of my Rank in their population. I finally addressed myself to his Excellency the French Admiral at Newport desiring the favour of being exchanged for Captain Geo. Gayton of the Romulus forty Gun Ship late taken by a part of his Most Christian Majesties Fleet from Rhode Island, to which was pleased to return for an answer by the Major of the Fleet, that he could not effect it without your Excellencys permission as he concieved your concurrence necessary for his justification.


[Page 2]

My situation being such as mentioned and having been a Prisoner so long I cannot but flatter myself with the hopes that your Excellency will grant me the favour of your kind interposition with the French Admiral and restore me again to all the immunities of a free Citizen by processing my ability to Exchange for Commod. George Gayton --
inclosed I have a copy of my Parole -- and have the honour to remain with every Sentiment of the Deepest Respect

Your Excellencys
Most Obedient
Very humble servant
Abraham Whipple