Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Anniversary of the Battle of Dunbar

The Battle of Dunbar took place on this date in 1650. 10,000 Scottish soldiers were captured. About 3,500 were released due to injury, illness or weakness. The remaining prisoners of the war were force marched down to Durham where they were to be imprisoned in the Cathedral. An additional 3,500 men died during the journey.

Roughly half of the men imprisoned in the Cathedral died in captivity. Two mass graves containing the bones of some of these men was uncovered in November 2013. More about these men can be found on here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/archaeology/research/projects/europe/pg-skeletons/

The rest of the prisoners were sold or transported to the colonies. The first 150 of these men were taken to London where they boarded the Unity and made their way to Boston Mass. 62 of the 150 men were indentured to the Saugus Iron Works.

These Scottish prisoners were instrumental in the birth of the Iron and Steel industries in North America. For the most part, they were well treated, being given housing, food, beer, clothing and tobacco. Most of the men worked as wood cutters. After the closing of the Iron Works, some of the men went north to Maine where they worked in saw mills.

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