(Note: According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 97, "there is no indication that the crew and officers of the other two prizes, the Hope and Constance, were removed from their vessels. Since these were not fighting ships, these captives were most likely kept below or supervised by a few armed marines". But, the crew and marines of the frigate South Carolina were divided among all of the British men-of-war and taken under close guard to New York City harbor. Some of the crew and marines must have remained on board the frigate South Carolina and voyaged under guard on board their own captured ship from the site of their capture off Cape Henlopen to New York City.)
(Note: The three different captive lists of the British men-of-war were all posted on different dates. The captive list for the HMS Diomede was posted on "03/24/2015". The captive list for the HMS Quebec was posted on "03/25/2015". The captive list for the HMS Astrea was posted on "03/26/2015". All of these can be found below on the appropriate date. Also, the lists are contained in Middlebrook's work, The Frigate South Carolina, on pages 18-25. These lists are rather cumbersome to use due to the fact that none of these lists are alphabetized or organized in any manner.)
The first group of prisoners that will be addressed are the former Crown Forces soldiers. The Hessians formed the largest contingent of these troops. According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 99, "most of the former Hessian and British soldiers were sent to military headquarters in New York to explain how they had ended up fighting for the other side. These veterans were not only guilty of treason but had violated their oaths of enlistment. Records exist for the court-martial of the Hessians..... The German soldiers explained their conduct satisfactorily, arguing that it had been a question of survival; they were returned to their regiments." These men had been incarcerated by the Americans for more than five years at this point in time, having been captured along with the rest of General "Gentleman" John Burgoyne's army at Saratoga in October 1777. They had been imprisoned at Reading and Lancaster, PA where they had been subjected to separation form the officers and possibly, their NCOs also. They had no uniform issuance since they had been captured and their food was sparse and wretched, if their depositions are to be believed. Many of them, in order to adequately eat, had hired themselves out to local farmers as common laborers and earned a living wage in order to eat or pay off the guards for food and water. According to the Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, in a letter dated January 1-4, 1783 New York, apparently, some degree of confusion reigned among the prisoners-of-war because after they received the patriot overtures for recruitment onto the frigate South Carolina, they requested to send a letter written "...by the prisoners at Lancaster to Sergeant Vaupel at Reading the 22nd September begging him to write a letter to New York describing their situation, and that without money or clothing they cannot hold out much longer but, must enlist with the enemy or indent themselves to the farmers". These men had resisted overtures before and as time passed and they heard nothing of an exchange or release for their long imprisonment, they must have questioned if they were forgotten or overlooked by their European sovereigns. They quite simply had reached the limits of their endurance. One last item that would be interesting to know would be what, if any, punishments were meted out to these men when they returned to their original regiments.
(Note: According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 202, n.11, "a number of others were sent first to headquarters instead of to prison ships. Many of these were German-speaking Pennsylvanians, who may have been targets themselves of recruitment or suspected of being veterans of service in British forces". It is supreme irony that the Hessian soldiers had been subjected to recruitment practices at the hands of the Americans and now it was the turn of the colonists to decide for themselves if they were to resist recruitment or sign on with the enemy.)
The British soldiers found on board the frigate South Carolina experienced an almost identical fate. They, too, were sent to military headquarters for an explanation as to how they ended up fighting for the opposite side in this war. But, at the end of whatever type of investigation was carried out, they, too, escaped punishment but, according to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 99, "...Gen, Sir Guy Carleton sent a number of them to Jamaica to serve in the army units there; he thought they might find it too tempting in New York to change sides again". This point concerning General Carleton implies that these men could not be trusted to continue in their allegiance to their Sovereign Lord and needed to be placed somewhere they could not defect. Also, the locale to where they were sent may also imply a type of punishment. The Caribbean Sea islands were seen in the 18th century as place of sickness and ill health due to the climate. Regiments of troops placed there suffered high rates of disease and death due to fevers and other sicknesses. General Carleton may have wanted to make use of their manpower presence in the ranks of far-flung regiments, at the same time wanting to somewhat punish them for serving the rebels.
These former "Redcoats" are a curious lot, when one considers them. Their names and associated regiments are cited in the post dated "01/08/2015". There, eleven names appear, along with the associated regimental numbers. Eight of these men appear to be British soldiers, while three of them are almost certainly Loyalists. Unlike the Hessian prisoners who served on board the frigate South Carolina, all of these men except two come from different regiments. The Hessians came from four regiments or battalions, all of them taken prisoner after General Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga on October 17, 1777. As a matter of fact, the bulk of the Hessian prisoners came from two regiments, in particular - Regiment von Reidesel and Erbprinz. But, with the British prisoners, only two come from the same regiment - the 17th Regiment of Foot. All the remainder of the British, as well as the Loyalists, come from different regiments. This could possibly indicate that these men were all deserters. These men could all have voluntarily and clandestinely left their regiments and through one avenue or another ended up on the decks of the frigate South Carolina. This understanding on the part of General Carleton may have persuaded him to "punish" these men by sending them to the disease-ridden islands of the Caribbean for service in one of the regiments stationed there.