Originally Posted by pikeshot1600
German (Hessian) POWs were at Carlisle, PA close to my hometown, and some stayed after the war, with offers of land and other incentives. Some soldiers used the opportunity of coming here to stay, often through desertion. Whether that was an original intention or developed from their exposure to the Colonies, is hard to say - probably some of both. POWs, when exchanged, were sometimes persuaded to desert and a good number did...
Here's a little his fun side note regarding British and Hessian POWs with a Thomas Jefferson spin.
After the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga there was a lot of British and Hessian POWs, about 4000 that the
Continental Congress called them "convention army" and decided to march them to barracks near Boston. But overall the
barracks seemed vulnerable to any effort by the British to rescue their soldiers, Congress was confused on what to do next.
In stepped Thomas Jefferson with the idea of sending all the prisoners to Charlottesville on land owned by fellow Virginian John Harvie
and federal money used in supporting the prisoners would be a great bonanza for the local economy. Congress agreed.
The British soldiers leaving Boston would be under the command of General William Phillips and the 'Brunswickers' or 'Hessians', would
be under the command of Major General Friedrich Riedesel. Their final camp would be only a few miles from Monticello.
"Desertions became common, particularly among the Hessians. One Hessian soldier wrote of being attracted to young "nymphs" who appeared
along the roads, exhibiting their "exceeding the white teeth, pretty lips, and sparkling laughing eyes." One "roughisly offered us an apple,
accompanied by a little courtesy," a Hessian soldier wrote, explaining how "the fair sex were the cause of our losing some of our comrades" to desertion."
The German settlements in Pennsylvania and the western side of the Blue Ridge in Virginia also encouraged Hessians to consider desertion."
"Some local German families offered to pay Hessian prisoners. Such Hessians "were persuaded to stay behind, and the girls did their best to keep
them for husbands. By the time the prisoners reached Charlottesville, they had lost between 300 to 400 deserters.
Jefferson, the seed the encampment from his house, had even heard that among the Hessian officers that there were many excellent musicians, he hoped to meet them.
At one point due to the bad weather, roads in and around Charlottesville were very difficult to travel upon. The conditions were so bad that
a rumor was spreading that Congress was born to the moon of prisoners yet one more time, and then Jefferson heard of this rumor, he wrote
a letter to Gov. Patrick Henry, a 3,000 word letter, reminding him that the prisoners were contributing about $30,000 a week to the Albemarle Country
economy. Jefferson then argued that the officers should be allowed to rent local houses.
Jefferson saw to it that General Phillips moved into an estate called Blenheim, just seven miles from Monticello, and was waited on by staff of slaves.
Jefferson sent General Phillips a letter stating, "The great cause which divides our countries is not to be decided by individual animosities, we keep
up the intercourse which has begun between our families."  Phillips responded by inviting Jefferson to dinner and taking in a play being put on by British prisoners.
Commander Riedesel, with his wife and daughters, soon moved into a home owned by Phillip Mazzei. Soon Jefferson's daughters bonded with the girls
of Riedesel and often visited with them. Riedesel himself often went to Monticello and played the Jefferson on the harpsichord, pianoforte and on violins.
The friendship between Jefferson and Riedesel was real enough that Jefferson wrote a letter on his behalf, asking for the officer to be freed in a
prisoner swap so that he might build to travel home to visit his sick father.
1. Michael Kranish, Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War
(Oxford, University Press, 2010), 105.
2. Ibid., 106.
3. Ibid., 110.