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"The Release of Prisoners of War from Britain in 1813" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP01 Oct 2018 9:39 p.m. PST

….and 1814

"Napoleon's abdication in April 1814 brought not only peace to Europe after many years of conflict, but allowed many thousands of prisoners of war held in Britain to be released. However, the advance of the Allies across the continent in 1813-14 had allowed many prisoners to be returned prior to this date, as not all were Frenchmen. As French forces were pushed back into France, countries that had once been part of the French Empire now found themselves included in the alliance against Napoleon, and began rebuilding their armies to take their place within the ranks of the victors. This allowed Britain to release many thousands of prisoners of war and thus alleviate the pressure on a prison system that had expanded (both in physical size and cost) since the outbreak of war in 1803. Release of these men reduced the burden of the system on Britain's finances, but release and freedom (however that was defined) produced mixed feelings amongst the men concerned. This paper examines their story

While the war on the continent came to an end in 1814, the war prison system in Britain continued until 1816 when the last prisoners from the 1815 campaign were returned to France. The latter years had seen an increase in the prisoner population. While the war at sea generated French captives, from 1808 the conflict in the Iberian Peninsula generated a regular and ever-increasing haul of prisoners, and the war with Denmark from 1807 and that with the United States from 1812 increased the prisoner population in Britain. That the system continued to function and many thousands of prisoners of war were administered effectively is testimony to the efficiency of the Transport Office of the Admiralty, who had responsibility for these captives…."
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