When Fort Delaware was built in 1859, it was intended to be a harbor defense stronghold on the Delaware River, protecting the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia. At the time, it was the largest fort in the United States and it was a true architectural marvel. Much like it does today, it sat on Pea Patch Island, a boat ride away from any other land.

When the nation erupted into the Civil War just a few years later, Fort Delaware quickly became a prison for Confederate captives. The size, location, and modernity of the fort were all given as reasons why Fort Delaware should be the place to host these prisoners of war. Nothing like being surrounded by a body of water to keep prisoners trapped inside. As the war raged on, more and more young soldiers were sentenced to time at Fort Delaware, and the Fort Delaware history that has survived this dark time will give you chills.

Did you know about the terrifying history of Fort Delaware? I find it absolutely fascinating, and heartbreaking. No wonder these soldiers still haunt the fort to this day! With a history like that, you can’t even blame their spirits for being angry. But you can stay out of their way. If you want to read about another famous Delaware haunting, check out the story of the partying ghosts of Woodburn – at the very least, it might cheer you up.

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More to Explore

Forts In Delaware

What are other forts in Delaware?

  • Fort Miles Historic Area
  • Fort DuPont State Park
  • Fort Mott State Park
  • Fort Miles Museum
  • First State National Historic Park