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Miscellaneous and non-naval books.

Click here to see larger images of this book.ESCAPE IN AMERICA:

The British Convention Prisoners 1777-1783 by Richard Sampson.

First published in 1995 by Picton Publishing (Chippenham) Limited. ISBN 0948251778.

Condition: A green cloth bound book with silver lettering to spine and decoration to front board in FINE condition. Dust wrapper whole in FINE condition in mylar sleeve. As new!

£10.00 plus Postage..

Jacket front flap blurb:

During the War of American Independence and after the British defeat at Saratoga, 3,000 British soldiers from the Royal Artillery and 10 British infantry regiments, on orders from their commanding officer, Lieutenant General John Burgoyne, laid down their arms. The story of what happened to these men, often distorted, has been largely ignored by British military historians. Now for the first time, Escape in America disperses some of the mystery which has surrounded their story.

In the terms of the Convention of Saratoga, the men were to march to the Atlantic coast, there to wait for British vessels to return them to England. American politicians reneged on the treaty made by their victorious general and on the flimsiest of excuses, the men were held prisoner for the duration of the war. While other prisoners of war were exchanged, from being a privileged group with treaty rights to be repatriated, the Convention Prisoners were held hostage for over five years. The price set for their freedom was the recognition by Britain that the Congress of the United States was a sovereign government. The majority of the men, supported by their junior officers, refused to accept the then official British policy requiring them to remain put until the political disputes surrounding their future could be settled. Large numbers embarked on a series of remarkable escapes from captivity. The story of their adventures has been reconstructed from British, American and Canadian records. The sheer volume of the escapes and the number of successful "home runs" in reaching British lines are noteworthy, and compare favourably with the level of escape efforts made in later wars.

The first two chapters recount the campaign, the two bloody battles of Freeman's Farm and Bemis Heights and the making of the treaty. Thereafter the trials and tribulations of the men are traced, as they are marched by the Americans to various places around the United States in an effort to foil their recovery by invading British armies. The starvation conditions and lack of accommodation provided are described in detail. At the same time the political developments surrounding them are explained. Weaved into the story are the individual and group escapes of those men who, as time passed, decided it was time to try and rejoin one of the British armies. In most cases, these escape records have never previously appeared in print.
Major John Andre, head of British intelligence in the mid- Atlantic states, and who was later executed by the Americans, played an important part in the success of the escapees. Records show that without his agents and the safe houses he established, many could not have succeeded in reaching British lines.

George Washington became personally involved in the men's escape when many joined American regiments, but only to use them to reach British lines. Washington quickly recognised they had no love for the American cause and had great difficulty in making his officers understand what the British soldiers were up to. He had to resort to threats against his officers to make them aware their regiments were being used only as a convenient means of transportation through American-held territory.
On the British side it seems that contrary to orders, Burgoyne's second in command, Major General William Phillips, Royal Artillery, broke the conditions of his parole by conspiring to effect the escape of the men. Likewise, General Sir Henry Clinton, commanding in New York, did all he could to encourage escape and did much to support the prisoners actions.

Jacket back flap blurb:

In this carefully researched book Richard Sampson is fair to both sides. He has concluded that the American army cannot be blamed for the conditions of incarceration under which the men were held. He is critical of the Americans only when thepoliticians in Congress broke the treaty, at the same time giving orders to their soldiers which were impossible for them to carry out, and which adversely impacted both the prisoners and the surrounding American population.

There are not many books published about the 18th century British soldier, and even fewer describing their experiences in America. Richard Sampson's Escape in America fills one of the gaps in our knowledge of the 18th Century British prisoners of war.


Richard Sampson, a Londoner, served in both the Royal Navy and the Rhodesian Army. His naval service was on Atlantic convoys during World War II, after which, in 1948, he settled in Lusaka, the capital of Northern Rhodesia. In 1955, with the anticipated decline in the Central African security situation, the government mustered a Territorial Force, the ranks of which consisted of young conscripts. The word went out for former experienced WW II officers and NCO's to command these units and he volunteered his services. Although an ex-sailor, the 3rd (Northern Rhodesia) Battalion, The Royal Rhodesia Regiment reluctantly accepted him, because he was the only resident of Lusaka prepared to volunteer without a commission! Eleven years later he ended his service with the rank of Major. During the many "alarms and excursions" which developed in Central Africa, he was called to active duty on several occasions which included; the Nyasaland Crisis (1959); the Katanga revolt in the Belgian Congo (1960); the Northern Rhodesia Constitutional Crisis (1961) and the very bloody Lumpa Church Uprising in 1964. After Northern Rhodesia became Zambia, he continued to serve in the Zambia Rifles. In 1966 he was awarded the E.D.
During his 25 years in Central Africa the author developed a keen sense of history and he published three books on the experiences and records of the early European settlers in what became Northern Rhodesia. The results of his research reflected in those books have been widely used as sources by professional historians.

Richard Sampson also served 14 years on the Lusaka City Council, and was elected Mayor of the capital for two terms. In recognition of his services he was made a life Alderman of the city.


These images show the condition of this book which is "As New" !
These images show the condition of this book which is "As New" !
These images show the condition of this book which is "As New" !

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