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Original Document
Testimony of British Atrocities at Crooked Billet, May 1, 1778

Deposition of Colonel Frederick WATTS & Saml. HENRY
14 May 1778
Bucks, ss.

Personally appeared before me, one of the Justices of the Peace for the County of Bucks, Coll. Frederick Watts and Saml. Henry, and being qualified as the law directs, deposeth & sayeth, that on the first day of May Instant, a part of Genl Laceys Brigade was attacked by a number of the British Army, both Horse & Foot; the dispute was sharp, but their numbers being greatly superior obliged us to retreat. Upon our return the same day to the place of action, we found the bodies of the dead usid in a most inhuman & barbarous manner, the field in which some of the men fell there was Buck Wheat Straw, which appeared to us they had taken & set fire to, and threw the men into, whether quite dead or not we cannot tell, but when found burnt to that degree that some of them could not be known. We viewed the Corps of most of the dead, & saw only two, as we remember, that had escaped the most cruel Barbarity that had ever been exercised by any civilised Nation; nay, Savage barbarity in its utmost exertion of cruelty could but equal it.

Fr'k Watts,
Sam'l Henry.Sworn before me, this 14th
day of May, 1778.
And'w Long.

Deposition of Wm. STAYNER
14 May 1778
Bucks, ss.

personally appeared before me, one of the Justices of the Peace for the County of Bucks, Wm. Stayner, of the City of Philada, and being quallified as the law directs, deposeth, & sayeth, that several of the British Light Infantry informed him, this Deponant, that in the Engagement with Genl Lacey on the first of May inst., they Bayoneted some of Genl Laceys men, after they had surrendered Themselves Prisoners, others they threw into heaps of Buckwheat Straw, while alive, and burnt them to death.

Wm. Stayner.Sworn before me, this 14th
day of May, 1778.
Andrew Long.

Deposition of Thomas CRAVEN
15 May 1778
Bucks, ss.

Personally appeared before me, the subscriber, one of the Justices of the Peace for the County of Bucks, in the State of Pennsyla, Thomas Craven, Inhabitant of the township of Warminster, Bucks County, deposeth & sayeth, that on the first day May, after the Skirmish between the British and Genl Laceys People, near the Billet, he was called on by one of the British Light horse to carry some milch, &c., to one of their Wounded Officers; when he came into the Field, he was asked by a Trooper if he did not see some fires round the field, to which he said he did; the Trooper said they were men, & that their own Amunition set them on fire; after the British left the Ground he went again into the field, where he saw four or five men burnt to a shocking degree.

Thos. Craven.Sworn before me, this 15th
day of May, 1778
And'w Long.

Deposition of Saml. ERWIN
15 May 1778
Bucks Co'y, ss.

The Examination of Saml. Erwin, upon Oath before me, Andrew Long, Esqr., one of the Justices of said Co'y, That the said Deponant sayeth, that on the first day of May, 1778, after the battle between the Militia, under command of Genl Lacey, and the English, he the Deponant saw a smoak in one of his Fields, and after the enemy had retreated went out to see what was the ocassion thereof; was much surprised to find one of the Militia men lying dead, his Clothes burning & near consumed, which had burnt the Body black; he thinks the man was set on fire before he was dead, from this circumstance that his arms were standing nearly erect; he further sayeth, he saw three other Bodies in Thos. Cravens Field burnt in an inhuman manner, & further said not.

Sam'l Erwin.Sworn before me, May
15th, 1778
And'w Long


Credit: Samuel Hazard, Pennsylvania Archives, vol.6 (Philadelphia: Joseph Severns & Co., 1853), 501-02.
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