Record of the Week: Black British POWs

Today’s Record was submitted by Jesse Wilinski, Archives Technician at the National Archives in Washington, D. C.

In the series Registers of British Prisoners of War, 1812-1815 (NAID 1807650) in RG 45 Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library, are several volumes related to British Prisoners of War (POWs) captured during the War of 1812. In one of the volumes is a list of prisoners on a separate piece of paper. This list on one side states, “Preserve this Sheets they may be wanted,” and on the other side is a list of British POWs from privateers who happened to be black.

This list of black British POWs mentioned both the first and last names of the inmates and what became of them. Many of the black POWs were sold into slavery, mostly in the southern US. This list is very rare to the point that enslaved person upon being sold do not have their first and last names mentioned in record. The list also mentioned the POWs’ occupations.


Registers of British Prisoners of War (NAID 1807650)

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