Winter 2009 | Volume 58, Issue 6
Revolutionary War Prison Ships
The sad, inhuman, and long-untold history of the Revolutionary War
prisoners of war, “Patriots or Terrorists?” which occurred in New York and Brooklyn, as told in American Heritage’s Fall 2008, issue was exceptional.
It brought back memories of childhood excursions my Mother took us on Sunday afternoons. We would walk to many of the Borough’s Parks, including Ft. Green Park, and home again, because we had no car. Before leaving Ft. Green Park, Mother always stopped at a 200-foot tower, a monument to the Revolutionary War sailors and soldiers who died, condemned by England to the “hell ship prisons” in Wallabout Bay, Brooklyn, and Manhattan waters.
—Marguerite C. Ajootian
White Stone, VA
I take issue with the description of the British prison ship Jersey in the article “Patriots or Terrorists?” in your Fall 2008 issue. The Jersey is described as “a fourth-rate frigate of 64 guns. No frigate in the 18th-century carried 64 guns. And Jersey did not carry her guns “on two decks below the main deck.” Since ships carried guns on their main decks, that would have made Jersey a three-decker.
—Peter C. Knickerbocker
Slavery and Sally Hemings
I find your coverage about blacks and slavery in the U.S. to be surprisingly good. I never thought the your magazine would be so openly critical of the dark side of America’s past.
I was ecstatic to hear that American Heritage was back in business and renewed my LONG standing subscription. However, I was dismayed at your speculation posing as “history. ” As a civilized society, we all must abhor slavery and all that it stands for. However, why was the Jefferson/Hemings “relationship” treated as settled history? There was no mention that there is still controversy on the subject. Maybe there is some new scientific data that I am unaware of that conclusively links Thomas Jefferson to Ms. Hemings. I believe that only “a” Jefferson (possibly his nephew?) has been established as having relations with Ms. Hemings.
Los Angeles, CA
I just saw the renewed issue of American Heritage on the library shelf. I have read American Heritage for over 30 years and felt that much was lost when it suspended publication last year. Thanks to you and your staff and those who invested in the venture for recovering the premier American History periodical. It does make a difference in educating people as to how the present circumstances are derived from the past.
I wish to tell you that American Heritage is one of the best history magazines that I have ever seen. I bought my second issue, “American Heritage, Fall 2008, Volume 58, No. 5” I can’t wait to find a quiet spot to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate, just to enjoy this magazine.
—Darlene V. Farmer