Justin Jones

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History



First Advisor

Elisabeth A Cawthon


The War of 1812 is a conflict best characterized by two adjectives: ironic and forgotten. Conventional histories of the War of 1812 focus almost exclusively on the land engagements of the war, despite the occurrence of several crucial engagements at sea. In what is perhaps the greatest irony of all, one of the most infamous incidents of the war--the shooting of several United States prisoners-of-war at Dartmoor prison in 1815--has received virtually no scholarly attention. The general topic of prisoners-of-war during the War of 1812 has received almost no treatment. Owing to the lack of substantial scholarly literature on Dartmoor Prison during its time as a place of incarceration for both French and American prisoners-of-war, this study's primary focus is on the autobiographical accounts of the men held there. For this study, the author has discovered ten narratives that each tell a slightly different story of what it was like within the prison on the moor. Without exception, all of these narratives are autobiographical in scope.Building upon the prisoner-of-war autobiographies, the thesis concludes with a discussion of the two most important events in Dartmoor's history as a prisoner-of-war compound. The first, a riot over bread, bears a direct correlation to what would take place on April 6, 1815, the date of the Dartmoor Massacre. To what degree did the former influence the latter? What did actually take place during both events? Was the Dartmoor Massacre really a massacre? Or have time, sensationalism, and political rhetoric obscured the truth?


Arts and Humanities | History


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

History Commons