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The World Turned Upside Down


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I just received a muster roll for British POW's from the 24th Regiment who were captured at Saratoga.



If buttercups buzz'd after the bee,

If boats were on land, churches on sea,

If ponies rode men and if the grass ate the cows,

And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse,

If the mamas sold their babies

To the gypies for half a crown;

If summer were spring and the other way round,

Then all the world would be upside down.

Battle of Saratoga

October 17, 1777

American General Gates v British General Burgoyne

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I'd never seen the LYRICS to the tune! :beer:

Frederickstown, Maryland! :speechless1: That was a HECK of a long way to be marched-- and not exactly "out of the way" given how the theater of operations moved south after 1777!

Up around here, POWs (British and German) from Saratoga and earlier were "farmed out" on parole as voluntary labor (Choice 1: sit in a fetid jail and rot waiting for war's end Choice 2: get out in the fresh air and earn money for whatever came "afterwards" Tough decision!!!!) to area farmers and merchants. Maybe it was the hopelessly of running away to anywhere--

Canada, from here? :speechless1:

but I've never heard of any escapees.

Many, in fact, simply settled down and married into local families. :catjava:

Indeed, two earlier (I think) British POWs were hanged up here in a notorious case where one (and I suspect neither was sure) had gotten their local farm wife "jailer" pregnant and she got them to murder her husband when he came back from the American army. Bathsheba Spooner, daughter of Tory exile Brigadier Timothy Ruggles (1711-1798) was the last woman hanged in Massachusetts as a result, at Worcester on 2 July 1778. She and her two sad dupes are commemorated in a gigantic mural on one side of the staircase of the county courthouse-- the other side being the angry mob shutting it down in Shay's Rebellion in 1787. (Rather odd choices for "the halls of justice") :rolleyes:

It might be interesting to see how many of the prisoners on your list show up in the 1790 United States Census down there.

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The song itself was a very popular pub song from the 18th century. It purportedly had vague Jacobite sentiments-or "radical" ones, depending upon who you read. the tune is catchy though.

One of my ancestors was one of the senior officers killed at Bemis Heights-he was shot scalped and hacked to bits -as was his father 20 years before -and his son in 1814! They put his remains in a basket and canoed him down the Hudson for burial at the family house plot in the Rennslarwyck. His gravestone has a tomahawk on it.

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