Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PRESCOTT, Richard, British officer, born in England in 1725; died there in October, 1788. He was appointed a major of the 33d foot, 20 December, 1756, and in May, 1762, became lieutenant-colonel of the 50th foot, with which regiment he served in Germany during the seven years' war. He was afterward brevetted colonel of the 7th foot, with which he came to Canada in 1773. On the reduction of Montreal by the Americans in 1775, Colonel Prescott, who had the local rank of brigadier-general, attempted to descend to Quebec with the British troops and the military stores, but was obliged to surrender to the Americans on 17 November In September, 1776, he was exchanged for General John Sullivan, in November he became colonel of his regiment, and in December he was third in command of the expedition against Rhode Island, where he remained in command of the British forces until he was made prisoner, 10 July, 1777, by Lieutenant-Colonel William Barton (q. v.). He was finally exchanged for General Charles Lee, and resumed his command at Rhode Island, but was almost immediately superseded by Sir Robert Pigott. He became a major-general, 29 August, 1777, and lieutenant-general, 26 November, 1782. His treatment of American prisoners was harsh and cruel. See " The Capture of Prescott by Lieutenant-Colonel William Barton," an address at the centennial celebration of the exploit, by Jeremiah Lewis Diman (Providence, 1877).
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