Brubaker’s Petition

Daniel Brubaker, a citizen of Lancaster County, owned the land on which the camp was situated. In December 1781, four months after the arrival of the first prisoners, he sent a petition to Benjamin Lincoln, General in the Continental Army and member of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, setting forth certain grievances regarding damages due to the construction of the camp. He stated that he owned 280 acres of land near York, for which he had paid 1,200 pound specie. This land had been selected for the prisoner of war camp. One hundred acres of land had been cleared, he complained, the persons employed by the government had cleared an additional thirty acres for timber, for which he received no pay. The guards had also used all the fall rails, which had enclosed his land. This had deprived his tenant of the Indian corn on the land and the use of his pasture. He further stated that he did not want to say anything against Colonel Wood, but regretted the condition to which his land had been subjected. Brubaker acknowledged that the prisoners could not be removed due to inclement weather, but requested that no further damage be done to his property.

According to Gibson (1886), about twenty acres of his land was cleared for the placement of the prison. The remaining hundred acres was used for the planting of provisions to feed the prisoners. The prison was surrounded by a picket fence, 15 feet high, of timbers closely fitted together, and sharpened on the tops. Inside the picket was a round stockade of similar construction, in which was built small fieldstone huts for the prisoners to live. Outside of the stockade, a second village of fieldstone huts was constructed to house the women and children. This second camp came to be known as Camp Indulgence.

Agreeable to your Excellency’s orders I have found a place for the convention troops to encamp; about four miles and a half southeast of Yorktown, which Colonel Wood had approved as a suitable and convenient place. I have also called the fourth class of the militia, who have furnished upwards of one hundred men to guard them. Colonel Wood is of the opinion it will require near double that number until the necessary works on the encampment are erected.