British Prison Ships

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Commonly found along the east coast during the American Revolution, British prison ships were a hotbed for disease, starvation, and death for those that found themselves onboard. Pictured is the HMS Jersey, which was known for its particular cruelty, which about a dozen men and boys dying every night from diseases such as smallpox, dysentery, typhoid, yellow fever, or from the effects of starvation and torture. If the men on board chose to join the British forces, they were told they would be released. Yet patriotism was strong, with 11,000 choosing to die on the ships rather than assist the enemy.

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