The details of the War of 1812 are not known to many, despite that fact that it gave us the most famous flag in American history - the Star Spangled Banner, our National Anthem and the nickname "Old Ironsides" to the frigate USS Constitution. One of the aspects of the second war with the British Empire is the imprisonment of servicemen at Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Great Britain had a large naval installation there and was a marshaling site for troops coming from Europe. In the harbor there was a prisoner of war internment camp and a prison hulk, the HMS Magnet. Men from the United States as well as from Napoleon's Armies were held there. From 1812 through 1815 some 8, 100 Americans went through the facility - 195 are still there on in an unmarked cemetery.
Some were army personnel, many being captured at the Battles of Beaver Dam and Lundy's Lane. This includes men from the 6th , 14th , 16th , 21st and 23rd Army regiments.
Most were captured on the high seas, including crews from the frigate USS Chesapeake; the schooners Growler, Vixen and Julia; the brig Rattle Snake; sloop of war the Wasp; privateers Thomas, Enterprise, Montgomery, General Plummer, Cossack, York Town, Revenge, Lizard, Rolla, Snap Dragon, Saratoga, Diomede, Guerriere; merchantmen: Porcupine, Ulysses, Thomas, George, Nonsuch, Frolic, Three Sisters, Hazard, Montesella, Perseverance, Romp, Mary Ann, Hiram, Leander, Ten Brothers, Eagle, Isabella, Nancy, Wave, Sukey, Financier, Friendship, Jane, Flash, Ambitous, Experiment and the Fair American.
There are sixty three Frenchmen and nine Spaniards interned there. In addition there are 104 Negro slaves that died at Halifax who joined the British forces in the Chesapeake Bay area when Washington was captured and the attack on Baltimore occurred.
A condominium had been proposed to be built on the site of the cemetery. This required a zoning change from the city of Halifax. Concerned citizens of the area and others interested in the historic value of the place appealed to the city council. The Municipally of Halifax purchased the land and made into a Site of Historic Interest.
Resolutions on Deadman's Island, asking that the United States become
active in the preservation of this hollowed ground and to have a suitable
monument be erected thereon, have been passed by the following organizations:
The American prisoners of war who gave the supreme sacrifice need to be recognized and not be lost to history.
A ceremony was held on May 30, 2005 to honor the 195 American prisoners of war that are in unmarked graves on Deadman's Island. A four foot by six foot bronze plaque, supplied by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, was unveiled that has the names of those who died.
Among the dignitaries present were the US Consul General to Halifax, the Mayor of Halifax, President of the Northwest Arm Heritage Association, General Society of the War of 1812, War of 1812 Society in the State of Ohio, the Kings Orange Rangers, the 78th Regiment of Highlanders and a detachment from the USS Constitution.
Those that die in service to the United States should not be forgotten.
Photos of Deadman's Island
Melville Island Prison
Star Spangled Banner
Ohio Society War of 1812