concerned veterans for america


On 1 Jan 1781, 1,500 soldiers from the Pennsylvania Line–all 11 regiments under General Anthony Wayne’s command–insisted that their 3-yr enlistments had expired, killed 3 officers in a drunken rage and abandoned the Continental Army’s winter camp at Morristown, NJ.

British General Clinton sent emissaries from NY to meet the mutineers and offer them full pardon and the pay owed them by the Continental Army in exchange for joining the Redcoats. Instead, the men turned south towards Princeton, which they captured on 3 Jan, intending to march on Philadelphia and Congress. From Princeton, the mutineers dispatched envoys to meet with General Wayne, who was following behind them. They aired their grievances and handed over Clinton’s men for eventual execution.

With this show of devotion to the Patriot cause, the mutineers strengthened their position in negotiations with Congress. General Wayne and Congressional President Joseph Reed met with the mutineers on 7 Jan; they came to an agreement 3 days later. Half the men accepted discharges; the other half took furloughs coupled with bonuses for reenlistment. Those who reenlisted formed the Pennsylvania Battalion, which went on to participate in the southern campaign.

These excellent terms prompted 200 New Jersey men to follow suit with their own mutiny. This response was quite different. General Washington used New England soldiers to disarm their NJ compatriots and executed their two leaders.

These actions kept the Patriot army from disintegrating, but it still faced severe challenges–early 1781 saw more Americans fighting for the British than fighting for Washington.

People who fight against America for the enemy are enemies of our nation, regardless of where they were born or what nationality they claim. They are traitors and should be shot, not tried in a civilian court.

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Further reading

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