Dartmoor Prison, English prison, at Princetown, Devonshire, built (1806–9) to house French captives during the Napoleonic Wars. During the War of 1812 many American prisoners were confined there, and their brutal mistreatment was investigated after the war by an Anglo-American commission that awarded compensation to the families of those who had died there. Between 1812 and 1816 about 1,500 American and French prisoners died in the prison and were buried in a field beyond the prison walls. Unoccupied for over 30 years, Dartmoor was reopened in 1850 as a civilian prison for convicts sentenced to long terms of imprisonment or to hard labor.
See A. J. Rhodes, ed., Dartmoor Prison; A Record of 126 Years of Prisoner of War and Convict Life, 1806–1932 (1933); T. Tullett, Inside Dartmoor (1966).