Book Review-‘Prisoners of War at Dartmoor: American and French soldiers and sailors in an English prison during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812’ by T. James

By Janet Macdonald, published November 2020


Although not written with naval historians in mind, this book on the early days and inmates of Dartmoor Prison holds much of interest for them, relating both to the Napoleonic War and the War of 1812. The author was born near the prison and spent the last ten years of his working life there, producing numerous booklets on the prison, as well as researching for this book. He tells us that the prison originated as an optimistic plan to found an agricultural community on Dartmoor. Like many aristocrats of the time, Thomas Tyrwhitt, who owned some 2,500 acres of moorland, had no idea about the requirements for growing crops, not least of these being fertile ploughable land. This was not present on Dartmoor, one of the bleakest, coldest, and most infertile parts of the country. Ignorant of all this, Tyrwhitt built a large house and began to develop what is now Princetown, naming it for his friend the Prince of Wales (later King George IV)…

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Filed under: Napoleonic War | War of 1812 | Mutiny & Discipline
Subjects include: Administration

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