1775 – BOSTON – SMALLPOX
‘From time to time throughout history, peoples and governments around the world have used micro-organisms as efficient and cost-effective weapons of mass destruction. In 1763, in the earliest recorded deliberate release of a virus, Sir Jeffrey Amherst, British Commander-in-Chief authorised the distribution of smallpox-contaminated blankets to native Americans who were harassing European settlers around the garrison at Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania’. Professor Dorothy H. Crawford, Invisible Enemies, Edinburgh University Press, 2001.
1763 – America: British General Thomas Gage served as second-in-command to General Amherst during the Indian Wars. In 1763 North American Indian tribes united under Chief Pontiac and moved against the British.
At first their efforts were successful but later when laying siege to Fort Pitt, now Pittsburgh, they were out-gunned and not only out-gunned: “We gave them two Blankets and an Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital, I hope it will have the desired effect”.
‘This act had the sanction of an impressive array of British officers, including Sir Jeffery Amherst, commander in chief at the time, and General Thomas Gage, who replaced Amherst and signed off on reimbursements for the “Sundries” used “to convoy the Smallpox to the Indians”. Professor Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1776-1782, 2001.
Britain and America – General Gage was implicated in distributing ‘smallpox-contaminated blankets’.