Prisoner of War Camps
Allan L. Patenaude & J. Talmadge Dodson
Prisoner of war (POW) camps are usually temporary and/or semi-permanent facilities designed to hold prisoners of war until the end of armed conflict. Such camps are generally located either in areas away from the front lines or in the home country of the capturing nation. They are often guarded by troops who are not fit for frontline service (those who are over age, have medical restrictions, and so forth). Civilian prisons and penitentiaries may not house POWs. The conditions of prisoner of war camps are dictated by the Geneva Convention (1864, 1906, 1929, and 1949, followed by two protocols added during 1977). During the American Revolution, both the British and Continental armies made use of existing jails, prisons, and guardrooms in nearby forts as well as converted warehouses to confine prisoners of war. British military commanders also employed prison hulks (decommissioned warships adapted to hold civil prisoners) that were moored ...