The road from Dartmoor prison
I would like to have titled this ’The road to Dartmoor prison” but unfortunately I was looking the other way. Dartmoor prison, a couple of miles behind me, in Princetown, Devon was built between 1806 and 1809 to house prisoners taken during the Napoleonic war, then in the war of 1812 between the Unites States and Britain. American prisoners of war were also kept there.From the spring of 1813 until March 1815 about 6500 American sailors were imprisoned at Dartmoor.
While the British were in charge, the prisoners created their own governance and culture. They had courts which meted out punishments, there was an in-prison market, a theater and a gambling room. Many of the prisoners were black Americans.
Behind the prison is a fine memorial to 271 American prisoners who died while in prison.