Step Back in Time to Historic Fort Delaware

Fort Delaware, originally built to protect the cities of Wilmington and Philadelphia, is a Union fortress that once held Confederate prisoners of war. IMG_2399The fort, which dates to 1859, sits on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River. The island is only accessible by ferry via Forts Ferry Crossing which runs from Delaware City, DE with tickets available on the day of visit at the park ticket office (first-come, first-served).

The park offers a number of activities, from birding (it is the summer home to nine species of herons) to hiking, (the Prison Camp Trail, is an easy 0.8 mile loop over grass and packed earth) to Living History events.IMG_2362 IMG_2331IMG_2335IMG_2364Visitors are free to walk throughout and around the fort and see numerous artifacts and reproductions of items that would have been in the fort over 150 years ago.

IMG_2368There is a daily schedule of events with costumed re-enactors explaining life in 1864 with enough to see and do to keep you busy for much of a day. Visitors are welcome to ask questions and sometimes even to help with tasks.IMG_2370

Soldiers preparing the cannon to fire
The order is given to fire (those with sensitive ears might want to cover them).

When we visited, we watched as soldiers fired a cannon, talked to a soldier about conditions in the barracks, learned how the women washed clothes, watched a blacksmith demonstration, helped in the kitchen and even practiced drill as enlisted soldiers.

There is also the option to travel to Fort Mott, which is on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River. The fort was built up in the late 1800s in preparation for the Spanish American War, as part of a three-fort defense system, along with Fort Delaware and Fort DuPont in Delaware City. This 124 acre state park also offers picnicking, an easy walking trail and special educational events.

There are no food vendors on the island, but packaged snacks are available in the gift shops. Picnic tables and grills are available if you choose to bring food with you.

Author: Kimberly Yavorski

Kimberly is a freelance writer who loves to learn about new things and then write about them. She is rarely caught outdoors without her camera. Links to her work can be found on her website

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