At the same time that the future of the Chesapeake Mill was being debated in England, a similar deliberation was taking place in Nova Scotia, also related to the USS Chesapeake.
After the defeat of the Chesapeake by the Shannon in 1813, the captured ship was brought to Halifax, the body of her Captain, James Lawrence, shrouded on-deck in an American flag for all to see. Though they were the enemy in the War of 1812, Lawrence and the Chesapeake were treated with respect by the citizens of Halifax. Lawrence was buried in a full British military ceremony, and some of his crew were marched over Citadel Hill to the prison at Melville Island. Eleven of them died, and were buried along with 177 other American casualties of the War of 1812 in a forested hillside on a spit in Halifax Harbour known as Deadman’s Island.
In the last years of the 20th century, a developer gained possession of Deadman’s Island and proceeded with a plan to develop condominiums. It took time for those opposed to the development on environmental principles to fully understand the history of the Island, and its potential to help their cause. At first, the developer pointed to the collection of nameless bones as something that could be respectfully worked around in development of the condominiums, but when meticulous records kept by the British Admiralty of the identities of Americans buried in the hillside were found development plans came to a quick end. The city of Halifax bought back the land and vowed to protect it.
Go view the graves which prisoners fill
Go count them on the rising hill
No monumental marble shows
Whose silent dust does there repose.
The monumental marble was eventually placed on Deadman's Island by the U.S. government on Memorial Day 2005. - Photo: Frances Beck
Go to War of 1812
Go to The Chesapeake Mill