The Baylor Massacre - September 28, 1778

Digitized by Steve Gilbert

A letter from Lt. Colonel Charles Stuart of the 26th Foot

7 October 1778
"A few days ago Ld. Cornwallis and General Grey marched with two Columns to surprise a Rebel post near Old Tapan. To render it effectual three Batts marched from hence and crossed the N River to attack their rear at the same instant; but two deserters from one of our Regts acquainting the Enemy with our intention, the party, which consisted of 300 men, retreated, but forgot to inform a hundred and 10 of their number who were near them. General Grey had the good fortune to surround their cantonment before they were alarmed, by which means 60 were killed, including a Lt Col and a Major, and 50 taken, most of whom were wretchedly wounded with Bayonets.
"As they were in their beds and fired not a shot in opposition, the credit that might have been due to the Corps that effected the surprise is entirely buried in the barbarity if their behaviour."

A Prime Minister and His Son p., 136-137.

Captain John Peebles, 42nd Grenadier

"Monday 28th, march'd last night at 10 oClock, one Column under Lord Cornwallis conissting of the Guards 1st Battalion of Grenadiers, & the 42d moved from the Picquet Ground in front of the Liberty pole at 12 on the road to Tapawn where we arrived about sunrise & found the Village evacuated by about 500 militia who had got intelligence of our coming by two deserters, another column under Genl Grey consisting of the 2d Battalion of Light Infantry & Grenadiers and 2 Regts march'd by another road to the northward and about an hour before day surprized a Cantonment of the Enemys Light horse of about 100 whom they Bayoneted some 40 or 50 took between 30 and 40 prisoners the remaining few escaped, they were Lady Washingtons Light Dragoons The Col:(Bailer) & the Major both very badly wounded & taken..."

John Peebles' American War, p. 222-223.

Dr. David Griffith, Surgeon and Chaplain
to General William Woodford's Virginia Brigade

Griffith attended the injured and collected testimony...pp. 43:
"It appears that very few, or none of the British Officers entered the quarters of our Troops on this occasion, that no stop might be put to the Rage and Barbarity of their Bloodhounds. It appears, indeed, that ONE of their Lt Infantry Captains, had the feelings of remorse & ventured to disobey his Orders. He gave Quarter to the whole 4th Troop, & not a man of them was hurt, except two that happened to be on guard: For the Honour of Humanity it is to be wished this Gentleman's name had been known."
pp. 44...
"We the undernamed Persons, Soldiers in the Regmt of Light Dragoons commanded by Col. George Baylor, do severally, Swear and declare, Solemnly, as in the Presence of Almighty God, that the undermentioned facts, as related by each of us are true...
"Southward Cullency 1st Troop - has 12 wounds, 10 of which are in his Breast, Belly & Back.
"He says, that, on the Enemys entering the Barn where his Troops lay, He and all the Men asked for Quarter, which was refused - that the British Captain (Ball of the 2nd Light Infantry) asked his Men how many of the Rebels were, actually dead; and, on being told the Number, he order'd all the men to be knock'd on the head - that the Soldiers muttered about it, and asked, why they had been made to kill them all at once? and WHY THEY NEED HAVE TWO SPELLS ABOUT IT? He adds that 5 or 6 of the wounded were knocked on the head".
"Thomas Talley 2nd Troop, has 6 wounds, all of them in his Breast and Belly.
"He declares that after The Enemy had taken him prisoner and Stripped him of his Breeches, they sent their Captain to know what they should do with him, who commanded him to be killed; on which they ordered him into the Barn where they, immediately, gave him three wounds in the Breast with their Bayonets, and three afterwards. [Two more wounded privates of the same 2nd Troop also indicate that the British Commander ordered them killed well after their capture and after looting had occurred.]"
"James Southward 5th Troop.
"He says that he escaped unhurt by concealing himself in the Barn which the Enemy entered - that there were 13 Men of this Regiment in the Barn, 5 of whom were killed outright, all the rest, except himself, were Bayoneted. - that he heard the British Officer order his Men to put all to Death, & afterwards, ask if they had finished all? That they offered quarters to some who, on surrendering themselves were Bayoneted."

Thomas Demarest
"The Baylor Massacre - Some Assorted Notes and Information."
Bergen County History 1971 Annual
River Edge, NJ: Bergen County Historical Society, 1971, pages 28-93.