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Ceremony to Commemorate U.S. Military Prisoners

(Halifax, N.S., Wednesday, April 20, 2005) - After nearly 200 years, the gravesite of American prisoners who died while imprisoned here in the early 1800s and who are buried on Deadman’s Island will be formally commemorated and a marker erected during a ceremony here next month.
Historians have concluded that at least 195 American prisoners from the War of 1812 died while confined to Melville Island Prison, on the North West Arm in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and were buried on an adjoining property, Deadman's Island.

In addition, at least 104 Chesapeake black refugees, who had fled to Canada from 1812 to 1815, died from small pox while being quarantined on Melville Island and most were probably buried on Deadman’s Island as well.

In 2000, with the then-privately held land in danger of being sold to condominium developers, Halifax Regional Municipality purchased the Deadman's Island property in order to protect the burial ground. Much of the credit for protecting this site rests with the Northwest Arm Heritage Association and the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Ohio.

In the United States, the discovery of the unmarked graves of American soldiers became a matter of interest. The Society of the War of 1812 State of Ohio proposed that a memorial be erected on Deadman’s Island. The Ohio Sons of the American Revolution, the Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States and the American Legion supported this effort.

In Canada, the Royal Canadian Legion took up the cause. A Committee of Halifax Regional Council was struck to advise members on means to support the American interest to erect a memorial.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, through its Memorial Programs Service, agreed to supply a Group Memorial monument. A significant granite monument with a bronze plaque that identifies the 195 dead American soldiers will be erected on Deadman’s Island. It will be inscribed with the names of captured Americans who are buried at the site.

A special commemorative ceremony will be held on the site on Deadman’s Island on Monday, May 30, 2005. A number of dignitaries from Canada and the United States are expected to attend, and members of the United States military and the Canadian Armed Forces will be participating in the ceremony.

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Ms. Dale Crory
U.S. Consulate General
(902) 422-5034 ext.2555

John O'Brien
Corporate Communications Officer
(902) 490-6531

Above content last modified Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 1:55pm.