Black American Prisoners of War Held by the British Royal Navy during the War of 1812


This is a transcription of Black American prisoners of war from the U.S. Navy, the privateers, and the merchant vessels who were captured and then interned by the British Royal Navy during the War of 1812. These men were held in various prisoner of war facilities in North America, in Europe (mainly England), and in Africa before being discharged and returned to the United States at the end of this conflict.

This volume was compiled from copies of the "General Entry Book of American Prisoners of War" ledgers of the British Admiralty held by the Public Records Office in London, Great Britain (ADM 103 series). These ledgers contain the information on 34,423 American prisoners of war (POW) who were interned during the war, of which, 2,998 were Blacks.

The actual number of Americans being held in British POW facilities is misleading since many men were transferred from one POW camp to another during the war. At each POW camp, these men were issued new prisoner numbers. Of the 2,998 Blacks that were identified on these ledgers, there were actually only 1,551 men, of which 109 died in captivity.

There were many other Black POWs that have not been identified since they were either exchanged or paroled at one of the British overseas POW facilities and returned to the United States. They would have had to have been transferred to an English POW facility in order to have had their ‘race’ recorded on a ledger. There were two exceptions: the ledgers for Jamaica and Sierra Leone did indicate the race of the men.

Mr. Johnson is a lineal descendant of seven veterans of the War of 1812, and he is the past president of the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Ohio (2008–2011). He is currently the District Deputy President General for the Great Lakes for the General Society of the War of 1812, and he has served as the Registrar General (2017–2023), the Archivist General (2014–2017), the Historian General (2011–2014), and the Vice President of Publications (2005–2011) for this society.

Eric Eugene Johnson

2023, 8½x11, paper, index, 214 pp.

ISBN: 9780788430428