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AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR, 1812-1815

American Prisoners of War, 1812-1815

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American Prisoners of War, 1812-1815

Part 20 of the BOA series, British Records on the Atlantic World, 1700-1900.

These records form a part of the Admiralty records in the National Archives. The General Entry Books published here are part of a series of 648 such volumes; most of those volumes have not been included here because they are in relation to French, rather than American, prisoners. These records are part of an advanced prisoner management system developed during the Napoleonic Wars and previous Anglo-French wars. The General Entry Book for Prisoners on parole at Ashburton, Devon, is also missing, but most men paroled there were initially recorded at Plymouth or Dartmoor. There is a gap in the Plymouth records from May 1814 to January 1815. However, the Dartmoor General Entry Books appear to be complete and nearly all prisoners received in Plymouth by 1814 were sent on to Dartmoor. There may have been Americans held at other locations, but the evidence for their being held elsewhere in any numbers is lacking.

Each depot or prison ship was supervised by an agent of the Transport Board, who was usually an officer of the Royal Navy. Generally speaking these agents would be Lieutenants, though larger depots like Dartmoor could have a Captain. Some Books covering prisoners held outside England reference these agents in their titles. In the war of 1812-1815 about 8 per cent of the total of the seafaring manpower of the United States ? roughly 7500 Navy and private seamen ? were held as prisoners for at least part of the war.

The General Entry Books in this collection were published in five different formats:

Type 1 General Entry Books were to record details of prisoners to be held in England for a relatively long period of time and therefore contain personal information on their captives which enables their captors to readily identify individuals after some time spent in captivity.

Type 2 General Entry Books were to record details of captives in transit, these details focus upon where the prisoners were taken and where they were delivered to.

Type 3 General Entry Books were to record details of sick prisoners for whom more detailed records are held in other General Entry Books. The 'Names' and 'Number on The General Book' [sic] fields are therefore designed to permit easy cross-referencing. Unfortunately, whilst these books do record the length of hospital stays, they do not record the reasons why these prisoners were admitted to hospital.

Type 4 General Entry Books were to cover those prisoners who died in custody, the level of detail in these records is greater than in GEB type 3 books. Fields such as prisoners' General Entry Book number, 'rank', and 'ship or corps' are common to both General Entry Book type 1 and General Entry Book type 4. The information unique to these records is the date and cause of death.

Type 5 General Entry Books were to cover prisoners of war on parole, these records do cover where and how the prisoners were taken; however, great pains are taken to ensure that prisoners' appearance is recorded in as much detail as possible. Parole arrangements do not appear to have been particularly secure as a significant quantity of prisoners on parole are recorded as having managed to run away.

The detailed information on these men recorded in the General Entry Books is the richest single source of data relating to early American seafarers.

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9781851173068

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Prison Ships and Depots in England - Chatham, 1812-1814

Prison Ships and Depots in England - Chatham, 1812-1814

These records reveal that the average prisoner held at Chatham was from 21 to 26 years old and was native to either Baltimore, Boston, Maryland, New York, or Philadelphia. The data... (more...)

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Prison Ships and Depots in England - Dartmoor, 1813-1815

Prison Ships and Depots in England - Dartmoor, 1813-1815

These records reveal that the average prisoner held at Chatham was either from 21 to 24 or from 30 to 32 years old. With most native to either Boston, New York,... (more...)

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Prison Ships and Depots in England - Plymouth, 1812-1815

Prison Ships and Depots in England - Plymouth, 1812-1815

These records reveal that the average prisoner held at Plymouth was aged from 18 to 25 years old; with most native to either Boston, Massachussets or New York. The data on... (more...)

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Prison Ships and Depots in England - Portsmouth and Stapleton, 1812-1814

Prison Ships and Depots in England - Portsmouth and Stapleton, 1812-1814

The records for Portsmouth reveal that the average prisoner held at Portsmouth was aged from 24-34 years old; with most native to either Massachussets, New York, Philadelphia, or North-Western France. The... (more...)

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Prison Ships and Depots in Overseas Locations - Barbados, 1812-1815

Prison Ships and Depots in Overseas Locations - Barbados, 1812-1815

These records indicate that this base was mainly used as a stopping-off point from which those captured would be either be discharged to another part of the penal system or exchanged.... (more...)

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Prison Ships and Depots in Overseas Locations - Bermuda, 1812-1815

Prison Ships and Depots in Overseas Locations - Bermuda, 1812-1815

These records indicate that this base was mainly used as a stopping-off point from which those captured would be either be discharged to another part of the penal system or exchanged.... (more...)

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Prison Ships and Depots in Overseas Locations - Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1812-1815

Prison Ships and Depots in Overseas Locations - Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1812-1815

These records indicate that this base was mainly used as a stopping-off point from which those captured would be either be discharged to another part of the penal system or exchanged.... (more...)

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Prison Ships and Depots in Overseas Locations - Miscellaneous Records, 1812-1815

Prison Ships and Depots in Overseas Locations - Miscellaneous Records, 1812-1815

These records indicate that these bases were mainly used as a stopping-off point from which those captured would be either be discharged to another part of the penal system or exchanged.... (more...)

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Parole Locations, 1812-1815

Parole Locations, 1812-1815

Most of these records are very detailed in regard to the prisoners' physical appearance, they also include details of when the prisoners arrived and where they were to go next. The... (more...)

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Prisoner Deaths, Exchanges, and Transfers, also Brokers and Correspondence for Exchanges, 1812-1815

Prisoner Deaths, Exchanges, and Transfers, also Brokers and Correspondence for Exchanges, 1812-1815

Commencing with details of deaths at Bermuda, Halifax in Nova Scotia, and Jamaica; these papers then shift their focus to their main subject, the movement of prisoners. The lists cover which... (more...)

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