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October 12 1812: Quebec`s Prison Ships


On October, 12, 1812,  Surgeon's Mate James Reynolds, an American prisoner of war held in a prison ship in Quebec City (1), makes the following entry in his journal:
12th.—Monday. Clouday and cold. The sail covered with snow. Joseph Quil's child died at 12 o'clock this morning and Saml. Lewis died at half past 12 o'clock. The Surgeon came on bord at 9 o'clock. The men something better. I took from Morgan his scrotum and left the testicles entirely naked.
Reynolds appears to have been captured at the beginning July, 1812, while on board the schooner Cuyahoga Packet as it was sailing up the Detroit River. Cuyahoga was sailing slowly past the British fort when it was captured by the British. The day before General William Hull's American Army of the Northwest had reached Lake Erie. Hull still did not know that war had been declared. He hired the  Cuyahoga and another ship to carry his personal baggage, band instruments and the sick upriver. Reynolds, a Surgeon's Mate, was put in charge of sick. He kept a Journal of his captivity in Montreal aboard a prison ship. He wrote short descriptions of the main events of the day. The American prisoners were kept on prison ships in Quebec. On October 12 there is a particularly gruesome entry.  The complete Journal can be found here.

1. An earlier version of this post mistakently stated that the prison ships were in Montreal. In fact, it appears that there were som ships and sick left in Montreal but that Reynolds was taken with others to Quebec. 


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