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Not all British soldiers went home after the American Revolution. Many chose to stay in the new United States. William Dorrell was one of the thousands of captured British soldiers of General John Burgoyne's army that had met with disaster at the battle of Saratoga in New York in 1777. Dorrell settled in Massachusetts and went on to found a religious sect known as the Dorrelites in 1786. Among other beliefs, the Dorrelites refused to kill animals for food or clothing. This early nineteenth century cavalry sabre was found in Dorrell's house in Leyden, Massachusetts, after he died in 1846. The knuckle guard is broken off and, curiously, the leather covering has been removed and the twine underlayer retained by copper wires. Perhaps William Dorrell found the leather offensive in light of his Dorrellite beliefs.


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