History - In brief

Camp Security, an American prison built in 1781, was first occupied by the troops of General John Burgoyne, who had been captured at Saratoga in 1777. In the fall of 1781, a stockade and living quarters were built on the 270-acre farm taken for the camp. Early in 1782, Burgoyne's men were joined by troops from Cornwallis' army that had been recently captured at Yorktown. Mostly enlisted men from both armies were held at Camp Security, as the officers had returned to Britain or were sent to other prisons. Period memoirs indicate that members of the Convention Army lived in the village, while all of Cornwallis' troops were housed in the stockade prison.

The York County militia, who often sympathized with the prisoners and only loosely guarded the camp, ran Camp Security. A farmhouse still existing on the site may have been used as militia headquarters. The Continental Congress had no money to feed or clothe its military prisoners, so a parole system allowed prisoners to work for local residents thereby supplementing the camp's meager supply of food, clothing and blankets. Wives and children accompanied many of the prisoners, a common practice at that time. The camp also housed American citizens, as many of the Convention prisoners married colonists during their seven years in captivity. A fever hit the camp in the winter of 1782-1783 killing many prisoners and family members who were buried in a graveyard near the camp.

Following the end of the war in the spring of 1783, Camp Security was abandoned. Many of the former prisoners were given lands in Canada in exchange for their service. Others stayed here or returned to Britain.


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