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Veterans Remember the War

Massacre of American Prisoners
Massacre of American Prisoners (1845)

Veterans wrote about their experiences in the War of 1812 with a variety of intentions. Some simply were inclined to share an interesting story of a momentous life experience. Others sought to expose the horror of war, as in writings about the treatment of prisoners at Dartmoor prison or the miseries of impressment. A number of biographical accounts were created to influence elections in which veterans were seeking office.

A few allegedly autobiographical accounts were fictional. Several small books were published on the experiences of women who served in the navy, disguised as men. Though women were often present on naval ships and in the company of armies, there is no evidence that any of the War of 1812 narratives were anything more than lurid tales of adventure.