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Saturday, January 1, 2011

The American Revolution and the prison ship "Packhorse"

I wrote Letters for Catherine after coming across an 1852 article from the NY Times. The article was about American POWs during the Revolution that had taken over their prison ship and sailed it into a North Carolina port.
Search as I could, I could find almost nothing about the incident, one that I feel deserves to be much better known. With this in mind, I started amassing what scant information was available on the Packhorse.
Once I was able to build a creditable timeline, I began to fill in the blanks using other sources and my best guesses. I chose as the hero of the story, William Hunter, a real person who served in the revolution and who was imprisoned on one of the prison ships in Charleston. Which one? I don't know. I do know that he married a Catherine DeLoach and that he died sometimes in the 1850's at the age of 106. Incidentally, he died on Christmas day along with his wife, Catherine. What are the odds of that?
If any readers of Letters for Catherine come across this post, and if they happen to have any information about the prison ship Packhorse that was not used in the writing of the novel, feel free to post that information on this blog. These men deserve to be remembered.
For the more lengthy, in-dept article about the prison ship Packhorse, see "The Disappearance of the Prison Ship Packhorse" on , or go to page 12 of the Palmetto Patriot.

1 comment:

  1. Hello-
    I am thinking through (composing in my head:-) a historical novel set in Georgia and South Carolina during the War for Independence. I have done quite a bit or research and this character (a real character, Daniel Stewart of Liberty county) was captured and later escaped from a prison ship in Charleston harbor. Amazingly, even though he returned from fighting in the Carolina low country a hero, very little other than the capture and escape, his enlistment under Capt. Youngblood, and his general service "under Sumter, Marion" are known, and SAR and DAR applications under his name have been suspended due to lack of service record! Still, I think what is known, and what I can surmise about his situation could make a good read. So the research and thinking continue:-)
    I am looking forward to reading your book.