Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, PA

Photos/text courtesy of Richard Edling, Philadelphia, PA
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Official Website of Fort Mifflin

3rd Regiment Infantry
United States Colored Troops
Civil War Weekend
April 11, 2010

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1. Philadelphia in the American Civil War - Wikipedia
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4. Civil War Traveler: Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
5. Camp William Penn - Wikipedia
6. Camp William Penn: Training Ground for Freedom
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Fortifications on Mud Island, site of Fort Mifflin, predate the Revolutionary War. The British started building the first works, known locally as Mud Fort, in 1771. A British bombardment destroyed the first fort, occupied by Patriot forces, in 1777. In 1795 a new fort erected on the site was named in honor of Pennsylvania's first governor, Maj. Gen. Thomas Mifflin of the Continental Army. In 1798 work began on a new masonry structure to replace the older works, and the new fort was completed two years later. The post was abandoned and reoccupied several times during the nineteenth century. Fort Mifflin was garrisoned during the Civil War, and Lieutenant Colonel Seth Eastman was in command when the war ended. As the Army reduced its force structure at the end of the war, the post's garrison grew considerably smaller. Fort Mifflin became a National Historic Landmark in 1915. During World War I the post was used to store munitions, hosted an antiaircraft battery during World War II, and was used again to store munitions during the Korean War. When it closed, Fort Mifflin was the oldest fort in continuous use in the nation (1771 to 1954). Click Aerial Photo to Enlarge


(2007) Fort Mifflin interpretive marker
FORT MIFFLIN (near the Airport) was one of the strategic harbor defenses for Philadelphia. During the Civil War, Fort Mifflin held Union, civilian, and Confederate prisoners. The civilian prisoners were held for draft-evasion, anti-war sentiment and desertion. At its maximum Fort Mifflin held 215 prisoners and overflow were sent to FORT DELAWARE, (further down the river). A Rev. Dr. Handy was arrested for calling the Union flag an "emblem of oppression". He refused to take an oath of allegiance and was imprisoned for 15 months. Several members of the Delaware legislature were briefly imprisoned.

(2007) Sign near entrance to Fort Mifflin



(2007) North Wall and Gate
Built in the post-1795 construction, the North Wall and Gate links two corner bastions. The gate provided a means for the defending troops to storm outside of the Fort and ambush attacking troops, if Fort Mifflin were under attack
During the American War for Independence (1775-1783), Fort Mifflin was located on an island. The defending troops, to further fortify the location, dug a ditch around much of the Fort. After the war, the moat was completed, surrounding the entire perimeter of the wall. Today, the moat is home to rare habitat and wildlife found in few places around the world

(2007) East & South Walls
The white stone walls visible on the south and east walls of Fort Mifflin are the only remnants of John Montresor's original 1770s construction


(2007) Main Gate
Massive entrance doors and arch on northeast riverside. The gate flanked by massive stone quoining and brick jamb supports. The arch has a head stone dedicated, to President Adams. The doors are heavy wood planks with cast iron straps, bolts, hinges and lock arm of the Civil War period


(2007) Enlarge Main Gate interpretive marker

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