Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Waxhaw Massacre, Prelude

Resistance being vain, to prevent the effusion of human blood, I make offers which can never be repeated:— You are now almost encompassed by a corps of seven hundred light troops on horseback; half of that number are infantry with cannon, the rest cavalry: Earl Cornwallis is likewise within a short march with nine British battalions.
I warn you of the temerity of farther inimical proceedings, and I hold out the following conditions, which are nearly the same as were accepted by Charles town: But if any persons attempt to fly after this flag is received, rest assured, that their rank shall not protect them, if taken, from rigorous treatment.
1st ART. All officers to be prisoners of war, but admitted to parole, and allowed to return to their habitations till exchanged.
2d ART. All continental soldiers to go to Lamprie’s point, or any neighbouring post, to remain there till exchanged, and to receive the same provisions as British soldiers.
3d ART. All militia soldiers to be prisoners upon parole at their respective habitations.
4th ART. All arms, artillery, ammunition, stores, provisions, waggons, horses, &c. to be faithfully delivered.
5th ART. All officers to be allowed their private baggage and horses, and to have their side arms returned.
I expect an answer to these propositions as soon as possible; if they are accepted, you will order every person under your command to pile his arms in one hour after you receive the flag: If you are rash enough to reject them, the blood be upon your hand.
I have the honour to be,
Lieutenant colonel, commandant
of the British legion.
Wacsaws, May 29, 1780.
Colonel Buford, &c. &c.
Wacsaws, May 29, 1780.
I reject your proposals, and shall defend myself to the last extremity.
I have the honour to be, &c.
(Signed) ABR. BUFORD, Colonel.

Lieut. Col. Tarleton,
Commanding British legion.

(Source: Lieutenant-Colonel [Banastre] Tarleton, A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781, in the Southern Provinces of North America, 1787, Dublin)