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Napoleon's Maximum Security Prisoner Of War Camp

Rick Research

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Thought I had posted these, but don't turn them up on any "search."

During the Napoleonic period, the maximum security facility for celebrity and escape-prone enemy officers was Fortress Ham. Hornblower et al who always escaped sooooooooooo easily did so from here.

These are photographs taken during in 1917 by a young German pioneer sent in with the demolition team to blow the place up--

these are, literally--the last photographs ever taken "before" and "during."

Thought you guys might enjoy seeing the real place which features so often in fiction. :beer:

Fortress Ham, across the frozen swamps surrounding it:

Note the buildings inside the walls at distant left. You'll be seeing them again.

The near bastion beyond the frozen moat:

Around that bastion's curve, the grim entrance to the fortress:

This is the opposite side from the first photo-- note roofline.

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Perhaps it was German payback for another infamous prison named Spandau.


Potzdam, Oct. 26, 1806

Lord MORPETH, the English Envoy to the Prussian court, was only six hours distance from the field of battle, on the 14th. He heard the firing. A courier informed him that the battle was lost, and in a moment after he was surrounded by fugitives pouring in upon him on all sides. He ran away exclaiming, ?I must not be taken.? He offered 60 guineas for a horse: he obtained one and fled. The citadel of Spandau, three miles from Berlin, and four from Potzdam, strong by its situation, in the midst of water, having a garrison of 1200 men and a great quantity of ammunition and provisions, was surrounded in the night of the 24th. General BERTRAND, the EMPEROR?S Aid-de-Camp, had previously reconnoitred the place. The cannon was ready to open upon it, and the garrison began to be alarmed, when Marshal LANNES proposed the capitulation subjoined to be signed by the Commandant. Large magazines of tents, cloathing, &c. have been found at Berlin; we are employed in taking inventories. A letter from Helmstadt, lately intercepted, contains some interesting particulars. The Prince of HATZFELD; BUSCHING, the Superintendent of the Police; the President KERCHIEFEN; FORMEY, a Privy Counsellor; M.M. RUEK, SIEGREN, HERMENSDORF, Counsellors, sent as Deputies by the City of Berlin, have this morning delivered the keys of the place to his MAJESTY at Potzdam. They are accompanied by M. GROOTE, Counsellor of Finance and the Barons VICHNITZ and ECHARLSTEIN. They confessed that the reports spread through the city were false; that the citizens, and the mass of people, had viewed the war with regret; that a handful of women and young officers were the only persons who had promited it; that he was a man of no penetration, who could not foresee what was to be expected from it. Like all the rest of the Prussians, they censured the visit of ALEXANDER as the cause of their misfortunes. The change which then took place in the mind of the Queen, who, from a timorous and modest female, engaged in her household affairs, became bewildered, wishing only for war; this change(they said) had produced a dreadful revolution. From that moment, she wished to have a regiment; she intruded herself into the Council, and took the lead in the monarchy to far, that in a few days she brought it to the brink of destruction.

The Head-quarters at Charlottenburg.


Art. I. The Officers of the Garrison of Spandau, with their cloathing and effects, shall be at liberty to go where they please.

Art. II. Marshal LANNES engages to request his MAJESTY the KING to permit the invalids and their wives to remain in the Citadel, and to leave them in possession of their effects.

Art. III. The subalterns and soldiers, forming the Garrison of Spandau, are prisoners of war.

Art. IV. The fortress, in its present state, shall be delivered up to the French army, with the arms, artillery, ammunition, and provisions.

Art. V. The Officers may withdraw to what place they chuse, Passports shall be delivered to them by the Chief of the Staff of the 5th Corps of the Grand Army.

Art. VI. All persons not in the military service, shall leave the place, without entering into any conditions, and shall be permitted to take with them their cloathing, and other effects.


VICTOR, General of Division

Spandau, Oct. 24, 1806


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