Mount Vernon welcomes author Robert P. Watson to the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Auditorium to discuss his book The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn: An Untold Story of the American Revolution on Thursday, December 6, 2018.

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Header Image: “View of Mount Vernon, the Seat of General Washington,” engraved by I. Weld and S. Springsguth. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. The illustration comes from the book, Travels through the states of North America, and the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, during the years 1795, 1796, and 1797, by Isaac Weld [London: 1799]. 

About the Book

Moored off the coast of Brooklyn until the end of the war, the derelict ship, the HMS Jersey, was a living hell for thousands of Americans either captured by the British or accused of disloyalty. Crammed below deck - a shocking one thousand at a time - without light or fresh air, the prisoners were scarcely fed food and water. Disease ran rampant and human waste fouled the air as prisoners suffered mightily at the hands of brutal British and Hessian guards. Throughout the colonies, the mere mention of the ship sparked fear and loathing of British troops. It also sparked a backlash of outrage as newspapers everywhere described the horrors aboard the ghostly ship. This shocking event, much like the better-known Boston Massacre before it, ended up rallying public support for the war.

Revealing for the first time hundreds of accounts culled from old newspapers, diaries, and military reports, award-winning historian Robert P. Watson follows the lives and ordeals of the ship's few survivors to tell the astonishing story of the cursed ship that killed thousands of Americans and yet helped secure victory in the fight for independence.

About the Author

Robert P. Watson is an award-winning author, professor, historian, and analyst for numerous media outlets. He has published three dozen books on history and politics, five works of fiction, and hundreds of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and reference essays. He also serves as the series editor for the long-running scholarly book anthology on the American presidency published by the State University of New York and as the editor of two popular encyclopedia sets – The American Presidents and American First Ladies – which are currently in their fourth and third editions, respectively.

AUTHOR WEBSITE

 

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