Fort Delaware

Photos/Text courtesy of Chuck Steeves, NJ
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1. Fort Delaware State Park, Delaware City, Delaware
2. Fort Delaware - Wikipedia
3. Fort Delaware Society Home Page
4. Fort Delaware Civil War Prison
5. Fort Delaware Website Directory

On 4 July, I traveled down to Fort Delaware which was Union prisoner of war camp during the Civil War.  Completed in 1858, Fort Delaware was the most advanced (and most expensive) coastal defense fortification of the day.  It is located on Pea Patch Island Delaware in the middle of the Delaware River (about 40 miles below Philadelphia).  It sits near Newcastle Delaware and Finn's Point New Jersey.  Over 30,000 Southern prisoners spent time at Fort Delaware.  At it's most populated, Pea Patch island had a population of over 16,000 on its barely 75 acres (this number included the Fort Garrison, prison guards, and civilian contractors).  2,436 Southerners died while interred at Fort Delaware.  This is a remarkably small number when compared to the appalling losses at Andersonville.  All the Southern dead were interred in what is now Finns Point National Cemetery.
Fort Delaware has 3 levels of artillery (over 159 guns in all).  Two levels on casemates and the third level on a terrace at the top. Today, Fort Delaware belongs to the Delaware state park system.  It was an active military post until after WWII.  It was vacant for about 12 years when the state opened it as a state park.  It has a very good living history program.

Chuck Steeves
July 29, 2001


Interpretive staff working an 8" Columbiad

One of the interpretive staff explaining the workings of coastal defense artillery


Second level casemates First level casemates

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