Guards at Camp Security 5: Adam Black Part 2
Among the 56 pages in the Adam Black Revolutionary War pension file at the National Archives, two affidavits jumped out at me. While attesting that Captain Black’s company served two tours of guard duty at Camp Security, Nicholas James says that in his capacity of helping supply provisions to the camp, he was present there for much of the camp’s existence.
A word of caution is appropriate, especially I think, where he estimates the numbers of prisoners—James is giving these statements more than sixty years later of activities witnessed when he was a teenager.
Nicholas James’s first affidavit:
“Pennsylvania, York County
On this 19th day of July 1844 personally appeared before the subscriber, a Justice of the Peace in and for said county, Nicholas James aged seventy eight years who being duly sworn according to law doth say that in the Revolutionary War he was acquainted with Captain Adam Black (of Adams County later) then of York County, Pennsylvania, that he knew him at Camp Security in said County as a Captain of Militia for four or five months in the years 1781 & 1782. That in the Revolutionary War the prisoners taken from Burgoyne called the Convention Prisoners were in the early part of the year 1781 brought into the State of Pennsylvania from Albemarle in Virginia wither they had been removed sometime before from the North, that a large body of said prisoners were kept in York County aforesaid at a place called Camp Security—that afterwards the Prisoners taken from Cornwallis were brot from the South and a large part of them ordered to remain at said Camp Security—that during the years 1781-1782 and part of 1783 there must have been three or four thousand there who were guarded by the Militia Companies of the surrounding country. That Captain Black was there twice with a company in 1781 and 1782. The militia were generally required to serve two and three months at a time.
The deponent was engaged in the Commissary department generally, and among other services he rendered, it was his duty to haul and carry provisions to different parts of the Camp, & he was there all the time the Prisoners were in this County, engaged in the Commissary department and otherwise. Major Ashton and Major Bailey were the Commanding Officers at Camp Security.
[signed] Nicholas James
Sworn and subscribed the 19th day of July 1844 before me [signed] Jacob Glessner.
Nicholas James’s second affidavit reads:
“State of Pennsylvania, York County.
On the 18th day of June 1845 personally appeared before the subscriber a Justice of the Peace in and for said County, Nicholas James who being duly sworn according to law doth say that in the Revolutionary War he was acquainted with Captain Adam Black who at that time lived in that part of York County now called Adams County and where he lived until he died.
That in the year 1781 the Prisoners taken from Burgoyne were marched into said county from Albemarle in Virginia and kept at a place called Camp Security in said county. That Captain Black aforesaid was then with a company of militia in that year as a Captain acting as a guard to the prisoners, but how long he was in service at this time he cannot now recollect. The militia companies were generally required to serve two months at a time.
The second time said Captain Black was in service was in 1782, in March he believes. At that time he thinks there were other prisoners besides those of Burgoyne kept there, likely taken of Cornwallis, or a portion of them. The said Capt. Black was then in service with a company of militia as Captain at said camp for two months.
The deponent was in the employ of several persons who furnished meat and other supplies to the prisoners detained there and their guards, and it was his duty to haul and convey them to different parts of the camp in which service he was engaged for most of the time the prisoners were kept there, nearly two years, or quite that period.
[signed] Nicholas James
Sworn and subscribed before me [signed] Jacob Glessner”
Perhaps ironically, Nicholas James’s own application for a pension was rejected. I’ll explain why in a later post.