The American army may have had trouble supplying its soldiers and keeping them fit for fighting, but in one way the Americans were superior: their propaganda writers were experts at whipping up anti-British feelings. An incident like the Baylor "Massacre," an embarrassing defeat for Washington's army, was a perfect subject for the Rebel press.
"There is certain intelligence arrived this day in town that the brave Colonel Baylor, after being twice bayoneted, still survives & is in a fair way of recovery, but that Major Clow [Clough], a gallant officer, with sundry others of his regiment, were slain, being put to the sword, & butchered in the most cruel & rascally manner by the British peace-keeping savages."
Virginia Gazette, October 23, 1778
Massacre or Tactical Success? Was the attack on Baylor's regiment a massacre? Not surprisingly, contemporary reports of the event are conflicting, depending upon the loyalties of the reporter:
By a well projected plan of Lord Cornwallis's, almost an entire regiment of the enemy's light dragoons were surprised and carried.
Sir Henry Clinton to Lord George Germain, October 8, 1778
[The enemy] after Butchering in a most inhuman manner a number of the Light Horse and militia who had surrendered themselves prisoners, they turn'd their Cruelties to Woman and Old men; whom thy treated with every kind of brutality their Perfidiousness could inveny.
From a petition by citizens of Orange County to Governor Clinton, October 18, 1778
The Major-general [Grey] conducted his march with so much order and so silently?that he entirely surprised [the dragoons], and a very few escaped being either killed or taken.
General Cornwallis to Sir Henry Clinton, September 28, 1778
Our cavalry being in a situation which did not admit of a successful defence, a considerable part of the regiment unavoidably fell a sacrifice to those cruel and merciless men.
New Jersey Gazette, October 7, 1778
?a part of Sir James Baird's company was detached to a barn where sixteen [American] privates were lodged, who, discharged ten or twelve pistols, and striking at the troops sans effect with their broadswords, nine of them were instantly bayoneted, and seven received quarter. Major Mairland's force coming up at that time, attacked the remainder of their rebel detachment, lodged in several other barns, with such alertness as prevented all but three privates from making their escape.
Rivington's Royal Gazette, October 3, 1778
What Do You Think?