As reveals, on April 29, 1777, Philadelphia’s Dunlap’s Pennsylvania Packet published an account of the burial of a member of the military whose death had violated the rules of warfare. 

The Reverend George Duffield, a chaplain for the Continental Congress, reported on the death of  Mr. Rosborough, a military chaplain assigned to a Pennsylvania battalion. He died on January 2, 1777, following the Battle of Trenton.

That as a party of the Hessian jagers (hunters) marched down the back of the town, after our troops had retreated, they fell in with Mr. Rosborough, who surrendered as a prisoner,” Duffield wrote in the affidavit published by the newspaper.

The British had placed the Hessians, Germans hired fighters, at Trenton. The jagers were hunting for food when they came across Rosborough. Although they knew he was a minister and a chaplain when he surrendered as a prisoner, they showed him no mercy. 

“Notwithstanding, which one of them struck him on the head with a sword or cutlass and then stabbed him several times with a bayonet, while imploring mercy and begging for his life at their hands. That this account was given by a Hessian who said he had killed him. (Save only he did not know Mr. Rosborough’s name but called him a damn’d rebel minister.)”

Their brutality increased after they killed him. 

“That after he was massacred, he was stripped naked and in that confusion left lying in an open field.”

Local residents buried the military chaplain nearby. Rosborough was one of the 6,800 men killed for the cause of America. Another 17,000 soldiers died of disease. “Disease has destroyed ten men for us, where the sword of the enemy has killed one,” Adams wrote after seeing th mass grave and 1777.

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