The Dartmoor Massacre by Vivian Bird


The Dartmoor Massacre by Vivian Bird

The Dartmoor Massacre: A British Atrocity Against American POWs at Princetown Jail During the War of 1812 by Vivian Bird

In a letter to his parent’s after the Dartmoor Massacre, prisoner Perez Drinkwater celebrated his escape from the British attack but lamented the treatment of his fellow prisoners:

“They killed some while begging for mercy… after being wounded they likewise kicked and mangled the dead right before our eyes.”

The aftermath of the affair was grisly. Seven Americans were killed instantly and several more would die in the coming weeks from the more than a score that were wounded. No members of the British garrison were killed or injured in any way. Rumors circulated throughout the prison depicting Captain Shortland’s attempts to hide and bury the dead before the prison doctor, George McGrath, could produce a body count. Shortland was also rumored to have followed—and threatened—the wounded as they were being taken to the prison infirmary. Once in the hospital, the doctor was able to remove Shortland, but only after “receiving several blows from the Captain.” Regardless of any final body count, Dr. McGrath quickly requested aid from neighboring towns and sent a dispatch to Plymouth “to inform the admiral, commodore and commander in chief of the military department” of the terrifying affair…

Learn more about this British atrocity against American POWs during the War of 1812 in The Dartmoor Massacre by Vivian Bird. Also includes: a list of those killed and wounded and how they died; the ships from which almost all were impressed by the Royal Navy; depositions from eyewitnesses on all sides; an official report from the time; the history and lore of the Dartmoor region; an early history of the storied prison; the tale of French Napoleonic prisoners at Dartmoor; the War of 1812; little-known details of the massacre; photos and diagrams; much more.

Paperback, 108 pp

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