Today, people visit Princetown and are drawn by some fascination to have a peek at the one-time infamous Dartmoor Prison and I should imagine that their thoughts on the austere, granite fortress vary. Some shiver and walk away whilst others will sympathise with those locked behind its high walls. There is a lot of talk these days about human rights and many would say things have gone too far. Over the years I have become friends with many prison officers who serve at various institutions and have been told of the vast array of rights, opportunities and privileges that the inmates are allowed. At times it must be hard to remember that those ‘clients’ are in prison as a punishment as opposed to what seems a sabbatical. But go back two hundred years and those locked behind the walls of Dartmoor were subjected to a very different life style. In all of their cases the only crime that those prisoners committed was to fight for their country and for some the ultimate sentence was death at the hands of their captors.
On the 3rd of April 1813 a party of 250 American prisoners of war arrived at the War Prison at Princetown, they were mostly sailors who had been captured during the Anglo American War of 1812. For those unfortunate souls it was a case of ‘out of the frying pan into the fire’ because they had just come from the hulk ship ‘Hector’ which was moored at the Hamoaze in Plymouth. This vessel was a 74 gun French ship that was captured by Lord Rodney in 1782 and then by 1807 it was in use as a prison ship that held around 700 men. The party was taken from the hulk to The Rock at Yelverton where they were handed over to an escort of soldiers who had come from Princetown’s War Depot (now HMP Dartmoor). The prisoner’s seventeen mile trek began at Plymouth in driving rain and ended up trudging across a snow-laden Dartmoor to the prison. Not all of the prisoners ended up at the War Depot because many of the officers were lodged at Ashburton on what was known as ‘parole‘. But that privilege was reserved for the ‘few’, the rest of the men were led off behind the forbidding granite walls of Princetown War Depot. In a journal of 1852 called, ‘The Prisoners’ Memoirs’ the author being one of the 250 prisoners described his initial feelings having first seen Dartmoor Prison and the subsequent treatment he and his fellow men were subjected to.
‘Death itself, with the hopes of an hereafter, seemed less terrible than this gloomy prison‘.
The prison at Dartmoor is situated on the east side of one of the highest and most barren mountains in England, and is surrounded on all sides, as far as the eye can see, by the gloomy features of a black moor, uncultivated and uninhabited, except by one or two miserable cottages, just discernable in an eastern view, the tenants of which live by cutting turf on the moor, and selling it to the prison. The place is deprived of every thing that is pleasant or agreeable, and is productive of nothing but woes and misery. Even riches, pleasant friends and liberty could not make it agreeable.’
The actual prison was opened in 1809 and already contained Napoleonic prisoners of war and consisted of five blocks of prisons contained within a double wall. According to the journal the first thing the men saw was the following:
‘On entering this depot of “living death,” we first passed through the gates, and found ourselves surrounded by two huge circular walls, the outer one of which is a mile in circumference and sixteen feet high; the inner wall is distant from the outer thirty feet, around which is a chain of bells suspended by a wire, so that the least touch sets every bell in motion, and alarms the garrison. On top of the inner wall is placed a guard at the distance of every twenty feet, which frustrates every attempt to escape, and instantly quells every disorderly motion of the prisoners. Between the two walls and over the intermediate space, are also stationed guards. The soldiers’ guard house, the turnkey’s office, and many other small buildings, are also within these two circular wall. Likewise several large commodious dwelling-houses, which are occupied by the captain of the prison, doctor, clerks, turnkeys, etc. etc.’
By now the new arrivals must have realised the forthcoming hardships that they were to endure and it certainly would have been clear that escape wasn’t an option. As with any good host the guards then led the hapless men to their accommodation, the first impressions of which were cold granite walls with water slowly dripping down from the ceiling and equally frigid floors upon which puddles of water had collected. The prison blocks were to show no improvement:
‘… each storey contained but one apartment, and resembled long, vacant horse-stables. There were in each story six tiers of joists for the prisoners to fasten their hammocks to. The hammocks have a stick at each end to spread them out, and are hung in the manner of cots, four or five deep, one above the other.’
Not only was the accommodation dire the degradation was impounded by the inclement Dartmoor weather with the whole prison being shrouded in dense fog and subjected to constant rainfall. On the odd occasions when the sun did shine the distinct lack of windows prevented the warming rays from adding any cheer to the place. The only glimmer of comfort came from the fact that the Americans were mixing with other prisoners and that they were allowed access to the local market where, if they had the funds, they could buy some small luxuries such as tobacco and soap. But just as the men thought things couldn’t get any worse an order was received on the 1st of May to have all the American prisoners mustered and then transferred to Prison No. 4. This was where the ‘Romans’ were kept, these were French prisoners of war who had rebelled against the system by abstaining from all decent human behaviour. They wore no clothes and walked around naked, hygiene was completely lacking as they neither washed, shaved or cut their hair – in short they were no better than animals. The American prisoners were locked in their prison as soon as darkness fell and then left with no light or fire until seven o’ clock the following morning. Many of the men had worn out their clothes and they too were walking around half naked and to add to their suffering there was very little food so famine was a real concern. In the June of 1813 disease began to spread amongst the prisoners who would only receive medical attention as a last resort. Naturally complaints were addressed to the authorities but these fell on deaf ears, the only option of any respite was to enlist in His majesty’s services which basically meant turning traitor.
On the 28th of May a further 250 American prisoners were sent up from the hulk ship ‘Hector’ and deposited into Prison No. 4, these bringing the total number of men to 450 plus 700 of the naked ‘Romans’. This situation did not improve none as on the 1st of July 1813 another group of 250 American prisoners were taken off the ‘Hector’ and sent to Princetown thus swelling the numbers even more.
On the 4th of July the prisoners had somehow procured two American flags and decided to celebrate Independence Day the best they could. They divided up into two ranks of around 300 men and displayed a flag at each end of the prison, much to the annoyance of the captain of the guard. He immediately ordered troops into the yard to confiscate the flags which resulted in a fracas in which the troops opened fire on the inmates wounding two of them.
On the 10th of July a minor altercation occurred in the prison yard between the American and French prisoners but the night curfew curtailed any further escalation of the situation. However, when the Americans began arriving in the yard the next morning they were faced with an French contingent that was armed with knives, clubs and staves. Some of the French effectively sealed off the entrance to the yard thus trapping about 120 Americans and also preventing any reinforcements from coming to their aid. The ensuing ‘battle; resulted in many injuries to the unarmed Americans and was only stopped when a detachment of soldiers intervened. The result of this fracas was that Prison No.4 was divided into two by a newly built, fifteen foot wall that segregated the Americans on one side and the French on the other. Although the authorities deemed this action as a form of punishment the Americans were delighted as it meant they would not longer have to mix with the ‘Romans’. Further relief came at the end of the July when 120 American prisoners were moved to Chatham prison thus relieving the problem of overcrowding. Since their arrival the American numbers had dropped from a high of around 700 men to roughly 530, 120 went to Chatham, 45 enlisted in the King’s service and 15 had died.
In August 1813 the number of American dead was to rise significantly with the arrival of a smallpox outbreak which added to their misery along with a lack of clothing and only being issued half rations lead to many deaths. Numerous complaints were made to the American agent in charge of the prisoner’s welfare but no action was taken. The issue was then taken up with the Captain of the depot who issued the following regulations drawn up by the Board of Transport:
‘Each prisoner to receive per day, for five days in the week, one and a half pounds of coarse bread; one-half pound of beef, including the bone; one-third of an ounce of barley; the same quantity of salt; one-third of an ounce of onions; and one pound of turnips. The residue of the week, the usual allowance of bread; one pound of pickled fish, and just a sufficient quantity of coals to cook the same… the government allowed each prisoner a hammock, one blanket, one horse-rug, and a bed, containing four pounds of flocks; these articles were to serve for two years. The prisoners were to receive for clothing every eighteen months, one yellow round-about jacket, one pair of pantaloons, and a waistcoat of the same materials; and one pair of shoes and one shirt, every nine months; and a woollen cap which was to serve for eighteen months.’
It appears that the contractors responsible for weighing out the food rations were short measuring the prisoners thus making some extra cash for themselves, however, after the intervention of the depot captain the rations were restored along with the clothing and bedding allowances. For a while things began to improve for the American prisoners but still the threat of disease was ever present and claiming lives daily. The journal also explains what happened to the corpses of the dead:
‘When anyone dies in the hospital, his body is removed to the dead-house, a place made for that purpose; after being stripped of his clothes, shirt and all (which go to the government, or the nurse of the deceased) the body is then opened, to learn the nature of the disease; it is afterwards, quite naked, put into a course shell, made of rough pine boards, and remains in the dead-house for several days, till a number is collected in the same manner; when a sufficient number is heaped together to call their attention, a large hole is dug back of the prison, and all thrown together, without form or ceremony‘.
With the onset of winter came a reduction in the number of disease related deaths but this was no cause for celebration as they were simply replaced by prisoners freezing to death. The journal reminds us how many of the men simply stayed in their hammocks all day and only got up for the morning roll call and their one daily meal. This in itself caused problems as it meant the men standing in the freezing yard for a good hour with very little clothing to keep them warm. Indeed, several men actually died from exposure whilst waiting for the tally-count to be finished. The New Year of 1814 saw heavy snowfalls and it was reported that the twelve quart buckets in which the prisoners water was kept froze solid within four hours, additionally the leat which supplied the prison with water also froze up. The snow continued falling until the 19th of January by which time the prisoners were forced to eat the snow as their only source of water. In fact it got so cold that even the sentries that were posted along the walls were forced to abandon their posts and retire to the guard house. This did not escape the attention of the Americans and one night a group of 8 men made their bid for freedom by scaling the unguarded walls by means of a ladder. The men succeeded in climbing the first wall but were then discovered as they attempted the outer wall, the guards re-captured seven of them but one did actually make good his escape. Sadly, after wandering aimlessly around the moor for a while the escapee came across a cottage where he sought help. The moorfolk soon realised he was an escaped prisoner and promptly marched him back to the War Depot where they received the statutory reward of £3.
Still more snow fell and there were real concerns as to the rapidly dwindling supplies of food and provisions, it was reported that the snow lay around four feet deep with drifts up to fifteen feet. At this time conditions meant that during the coldest winter for 50 years the men were:
‘without fire or light, during the night, without stockings, and many without shoes, and nearly naked, half starved, buried in snow, upon the top of an uninhabited and uncultivated mountain, the camp distemper among them and overrun with vermin; great numbers dying, and death grimly threatening every man.’
By mid February 1814 the snow had melted only to be replaced by constant rain and the men still remained in their sorry conditions. But for a few there arose an opportunity to officially leave the War Depot. The Government announced that any prisoner belonging to any country that was allied to Britain should be released. Accordingly some American prisoners who could speak the language of any of Britain’s allies managed to convince the authorities that they came under the edict and secured their freedom.
On the 22nd of February, after many complaints regarding their behaviour the black Americans were segregated from the whites. It appears that despite many floggings the black Americans persisted in stealing from the whites and so the 90 blacks were removed to the upper storey of the prison block. Around this time the prisoners also began to recieve an allowance of a penny halfpenny a day which meant they could start to buy some of the much needed necessities of life. They were also given the freedom of the entire depot thus enabling them to attend the market and buy or barter with the French. With the onset of Spring came warmer weather and in general life was becoming more bearable for the American prisoners. They even set up a coffee shop which sold cups of coffee at a penny a pint. On top of the daily allowance some prisoners began to receive money from home which enabled them to start buying and selling various goods. Before long there were men selling tobacco, butter, potatoes, molasses and the like. For those who did not have the funding to start such businesses they had the opportunity to work for the many enterprises within the depot. Men were employed to weave straw flats, make shoes and jewellery whilst others made ornate ships carved from beef bones.
During April the French prisoners received the news that they were soon to be repatriated back to France, this then gave some Americans the chance to buy any of the businesses and/or tools that belonged to the them thus expanding the American trade. As a sign of improving times the Americans managed to establish a beer shop where small beer was sold for twopence halfpenny a pot.
The coming of May saw the arrival of another 170 prisoners from Plymouth and their arrival coincided with a much needed supply of clothing, each man receiving a jacket, shirt, pair of trousers and shoes. Now the men had decent clothing and a regular income their lives began to vastly improve. On the 20th of May 500 of the French prisoners were released and taken to Plymouth from where they sailed home to France. Before they were allowed out of the Depot the men were mustered in the yard and each one had their names called out and were ordered to step forward. It soon became clear that many of the names being called out belonged to dead Frenchmen and that the authorities had no idea of their demise. A few quick thinking Americans who could speak French adopted the names of the dead and by doing so tricked their way out of prison. At the end of May another draft of 1,000 Frenchmen were released on the same basis as before, this time 20 Americans once again tricked their way to freedom. The journal tells of one tragic event that happened during one of the draft releases, before any prisoner could leave the depot they had to return the bedding they were first issued with and in the case of the French it could be anything up to eleven years old. One man was called forward and unfortunately he didn’t have his bedding and so was promptly ordered to go back and fetch it. He shortly returned without his bedding as he could not find it, again he was told to go and find it or there would be no release for him. After a frantic search he once again came back empty handed and was refused his pass so in a moment of deep despair he produced a knife and slit his own throat in front of the entire assembly – so near yet so far.
Many of the French were employed at the depot in various jobs; carpenters, blacksmiths, masons and nurses to name but a few. Obviously once they had left the depot there were numerous opportunities for employment and so the Americans were given permission to fill the vacancies. In total around 100 men were given jobs and earned for themselves sixpence a day as well as the opportunities for smuggling various goods in and out of the depot. To ensure that none of the men took the chance to escape whilst moving around the prison they were to be under the constant eye of a guard and also if any man should escape the entire work force would loose their accrued wages (paid quarterly) and their jobs. This ensured that the prisoners themselves policed each other and prevented any escape attempts.
In June 400 prisoners were transferred from Stapledon to Dartmoor and lodged in the already overcrowded Prison No.4. Their numbers soon dropped to 350; 17 men enlisted in the King’s service, 8 died and 25 escaped.
By the time August came around the Americans, although now living a tolerable life, could see no hope of repatriation and so to a man decided to make several escape attempts. These came in the form of three tunnels that were to be dug at various points in the depot, all ending up outside the prison walls. There were two main problems the excavators faced, firstly how to dispose of the earth that was dug from the tunnels, secondly, how to light the tunnels and lastly how to maintain a supply of fresh air in the tunnels. The spoil from the tunnels was cleverly disposed of in two ways, some of it was tipped into the water leat and the rest was turned into mortar which was plastered on the rough, granite prison walls and then whitewashed. The light and fresh air problems in the tunnels was solved by simply lighting candles which provided light and burnt off any stale or noxious air. The route of the tunnels was to be straight down for 20 feet and then in an easterly, horizontal direction for 250 feet which would bring the tunnel exit out near the road which runs outside the prison walls. Once a tunnel had been completed the plan was to make good the escape at 10 pm and then the prisoners would make for Torquay where they would steal as many fishing boats and crafts as possible and sail to France. The men were to be armed with daggers that had secretly been manufactured in the blacksmith’s shop. Every American swore on a bible not the inform their captors of the plans and it was agreed should anyone break his oath then the punishment was to be death by hanging. However, someone did break his vow and on the 2nd of September one of the tunnels was discovered by the guards and the yard in which it lay was promptly sealed off.
On the 10th of September another intake of men arrived from Chatham prison, this then took the total number of men at Princetown to 3,500. After a short break to let things calm down, work on the tunnels recommenced as before and soon the tunnels were within 30ft of their destination. Excitement was growing at the prospect of deliverance from the ‘hell hole’ and the ensuing freedom. Then fate took a cruel turn in the form of two men called Bagley and Sinon who decided to betray their comrades in return for a passport to wherever they wished. The men informed the guards as to the whereabouts of the tunnels which were then discovered and filled. The remaining prisoners were transferred to prisons 1 and 3 whilst the tunnels were made inoperable and in order to pay for the work all the men were put on two thirds allowances for ten days.
In October 1814 the Americans received news that there was to be a partial exchange of prisoners between Britain and America which heartened the men at Princetown. During this month there were several escapes from the depot, effected by bribing the guards who would escort the men from the depot wearing soldier’s caps and coats. This scheme was soon discovered by the authorities who immediately took steps to ensure it wouldn’t happen again but that was after 8 prisoners had made good their escape. During this period the atmosphere at the War Depot was changing, the numbers of inmates began to cause concern with regards to them heavily outnumbering their guards. Daily news was arriving at the depot of American victories and British losses all of which unnerved the guards. One dark night some men played a trick by lowering a jacket tied to a rope down one of the prison walls. The guards immediately spotted it and supposed it was a prisoner trying to escape. A troop of armed soldiers was mustered in the yard and the order was given to the escapee to give himself up. No reply was forthcoming and so the captain of the guard ordered his men to open fire, a volley of shots thudded into the jacket which was then dropped to the ground. The troops then rushed over to the supposed body when they immediately discovered the prank. The following night the guards spotted a candle burning in one of the prison widows and issued an order for it to be put out. Nothing happened and so they sent a volley of shots through the window which luckily missed the inmates inside, such was the edginess of the guards.
On the 18th of October 62 men who were the crew of the American brig ‘Frolic’ were released as part of an exchange of prisoners, they were taken to Dartmouth where they joined a ship called ‘Janey’. Another order was issued whereby all American prisoners of war in Britain were to be housed in one prison and accordingly 5,000 arrived on the doorstep of Dartmoor War Depot.
With winter fast approaching the men were once again poorly dressed and shod and pleas for new clothing were sent. This especially applied to the new intake, many of whom had no shoes and were walking around barefoot. November saw the withdrawal of all work privileges to those men employed by the authorities. The reason for this was that a Captain Swain had decided to take an unauthorised stroll away from the prison and as a result the promised reprisal of the withdrawal of all work and pay for the entire workforce was carried out.
With the coming of December came the arrival of the first heavy snowfalls which soon had the prisoners suffering its effects. The prisoners requested permission to light fires in order to keep warm, a privilege that had previously been granted to the French, however this plea was flatly refused with strict orders that to do so would be in breach of regulations. On the 29th of December news reached Princetown that a peace treaty between Britain and America had been signed in Ghent of the 24th and that this treaty was to be taken to the United States for ratification by means of a sloop of war called ‘Favorite’. The men were also informed that in three months they would all be repatriated. As of the 31st of December 1814 the Princetown War Depot held a total of 5,326 men. At this time two men arrived at the War Depot who had previously taken up the offer of enlisting in the King’s service. Having done so they soon discovered their mistake because the British sailors made their lives hell. In the end they requested to be returned to prison which was another big mistake. As soon as the inmates realised that they were traitors they were captured and whilst being held down had the letters U, S and T tattooed on their faces by means of some India ink and a needle. The letters stood for. ‘United States Traitor’.
The New Year saw another epidemic of disease at the Depot with many, many prisoners coming down with ‘distemper’. So serious was the outbreak that the chief surgeon of England was sent for and after inspecting the prisons came to the conclusion that the outbreak was caused by the ‘bad air’ which the prisoners were breathing. To demonstrate the fact he took the outside temperature and then compared it to that of the prisons, he found the inside temperature to be 25ºF warmer. This is not startling until you realise that there was no form of heating inside the prison and the high temperature came from the body heat of 1,200 men packed into each prison.
On the 14th of March 1815 news arrived at Princetown that the peace treaty had been ratified by the President of America and was now aboard the ‘Favorite’.
Just as light was appearing at the end of the tunnel the American prisoners were to witness one final act of cruelty. On the 6th of April 1815 at about 6.00pm the Captain of the guard found a hole in the wall which separated the barrack yard from Prisons 6 and 7. For whatever reason he then placed guards along the walls, then ten minutes later the alarm bells were rung and the drummers beat the order to arms. By now all the prison yards were full of inquisitive men trying to see what the commotion was, especially those of Prisons 1, 3 and 4. The captain then ordered his men into the inner square where they took up battle formation. The order was then given to fix bayonets and charge which the soldiers did, scattering prisoners to all corners of the yards. Most of the fleeing prisoners were trying to get back to the safety of their respective prisons when the order to open fire was given. Several volleys of shots were sent into the mass of stampeding men which left many dead or wounded. As the men tried in desperation to get back into their prisons the soldiers continued firing upon them. This day became known as the Dartmoor Massacre and it left seven dead from gunshot wounds, six men with either arms or legs amputated because of their injuries, thirty eight men badly wounded and fifteen classified as ‘slightly wounded’. An inquiry was immediately ordered and a jury of local farmers sat along with the coroner for the inquests of the dead men. Statements from all parties were taken and the many witnesses evidence heard.
Captain Shortland the commander of the guard maintained that the alarm bells were rung because a large number of prisoners were attempting to escape through the hole in the wall and that some other prisoners had broken the lock on the gate and were trying to brake the gate down. When he and his troops arrived they came under a barrage of rocks, iron bars and lumps of wood by which time the mob had gained entrance to the square. It was at this point he ordered his men to open fire in an attempt to prevent the mass break-out. The outcome of the inquests and the ensuing enquiry was that Captain Shortland and his men were acquitted of all charges. To this day nobody can be sure whether this was a massacre or mutiny.
Shortly after the incident prisoners began to be shipped out and on the 19th the first large draft of men was sent to Plymouth where there ship was waiting to take them home. The final punishment being that many of the men had no shoes and were forced to march barefooted the sixteen odd miles to Plymouth.
From the April of 1813 until the December of 1814 there were 59 American prisoners who turned coat and enlisted for his Majesty’s services. From April 1813 until February 1815 the doctor’s report showed that 196 American prisoners died whilst being held in the Dartmoor War Depot. Likewise, between February and April 1815 a further 65 American men died. On a brighter note, between September 1814 (when the first American escaped) and April 1815 the grand total of 23 men managed to find their way to freedom by escaping from the War Depot.
In the 1860s the prison turned some pigs out to forage on the ground in which many of the prisoners of war had been buried and it didn’t take long before they were unearthing the bones and coffins of the dead men. This then prompted the decision to create two separate cemeteries in which the remains of the dead prisoners could be buried. As there was now way of telling which nationality the bones belonged to they were all dug up and then divided into two assemblages which were then reburied in the American and French cemeteries.
In 1928 an organisation called, ‘The United States Daughters of 1812’ donated money to Dartmoor prison for the erection of a memorial gate and plaque that still stand at the entrance to the American Cemetery. The purpose of these was to commemorate the lives of their fellow countrymen that died at the Dartmoor War Depot. The Plaque reads:
‘TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF
THE TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN
AMERICAN SAILORS AND SOLDIERS
OF THE WAR OF 1812 WHO DIED HERE
THIS MEMORIAL GATEWAY
IS ERECTED BY THE
NATIONAL SOCIETY UNITED STATES
DAUGHTERS OF 1812
30TH MAY 1928′
Inside the cemetery stands an obelisk on which the following words are engraved: ‘IN MEMORY OF THE AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR WHO DIED BETWEEN THE YEARS 1809 TO 1814 AND ARE BURIED HERE – DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI. The Latin roughly translates as: ‘It is sweet and honourable to die for one’s country.’ In 1987 the Daughters of 1812 presented Dartmoor Prison with a Star and Anchor emblem which was then fixed to the obelisk just below the inscription and can be seen in the photographs above.
Over the following few years the American cemetery became neglected and concern was expressed as to its appearance. Accordingly a group of US Naval men based in the UK undertook the clean-up operation in 2001, sadly this coincided with the foot and mouth outbreak so work had to be postponed. Part of the restoration scheme was to build a monument that listed all the names of the American who died at the Dartmoor War Depot from 1813 – 1815. This presented a slight problem insomuch as there were several varying ‘estimates’ of their numbers, as can be seen when comparing the journal numbers with that on the 1928 memorial plaque. With the help of various American and English historians a new ‘official’ list of the deceased was compiled which changed the numbers from, ‘217 to 271’ which is a lot closer to the number listed in the journal of 1852 (161). The new revised 2002 list of Americans who died can be found on this website – HERE. In addition to the research, funds needed to be raised in order to pay for the new monument which was also accomplished and as can be seen from the photograph above there are in fact two monuments that carry the names of the dead Americans. Each memorial is inscribed with the words:
DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHO DIED
AT DARTMOOR PRISON DURING THE WAR OF 1812
… YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FORGOTTEN …
In addition to the two memorial slabs a flag pole was also added which now stands behind the monuments.
PLEASE NOTE – the American Cemetery at Dartmoor Prison does NOT have public access as it stands within the limits of the modern-day convict prison.
That in a very small ‘nutshell’ outlines the fate of those American prisoners who were detained on ‘the mountain’ in the infamous Dartmoor War Depot prisons. The whole story would, and indeed has, taken up an entire book and should anyone be interested in reading further into the subject then the books below will more that suffice.
If anyone is researching their family history and want to know more about the American prisoners at the Dartmoor War Depot then the complete journal, The Prisoners’ Memoirs of 1852 is downloadable for free on Google Books. This journal includes a list of those those prisoners who either enlisted for the British, escaped or died it van be found – HERE
My thanks go to Brian for kindly arranging for me to visit the American Cemetery
Andrews, C. & Andrews, C. M. 1852. The Prisoners‘ Memoirs. New York: Printed for the Authors.
Barber, C. 2005. The Story of Dartmoor Prison. Exeter: Obelisk Publications.
Endle, R. 1983. Dartmoor Prison. St. Teath: Bossiney Books.
James, T. 2002. Dartmoor Prisoner of War Depot and Convict Jail. Chudleigh: Orchard Publications.
James, T. 2001. About Dartmoor Prison. Chudleigh: Orchard Publications.
James, T. 1999. There’s One Away – Escapes from Dartmoor Prison. Chudleigh: Orchard Publications.
Joy, R. 2002. Dartmoor Prison – Volume I, Tiverton; Halsgrove Publishing.
Joy, R. 2002. Dartmoor Prison – Volume II, Tiverton; Halsgrove Publishing.
Stanbrook, E. 2002. Dartmoor’s War Prison & Church, 1805 – 1817. Brixham: Quay Publications.